Is there such a thing as a “small failure”? The recently coined phrase that I’ve heard entire arguments over is that of the “epic fail”. But as far as I can tell, when you have failed at something, you have been completely unsuccessful. You do not speak the of the small successes, because if there was even one success, you would claim it gleefully. So, as cool as it may sound to refer to an epic fail, I would suggest that it’s a redundant phrase. If your lack of success is complete, you could use any word to describe what a huge failure it was. But do you really want to rub it in that badly?
Yes, I know, I’m avoiding the point. Who has ever liked to discuss their unsuccessful endeavors? Not me, that’s for certain. But for those of you who have been so kind as to tell me that I “don’t owe anyone an explanation”, I thank you for that, but I would like to share about this, nevertheless.
As you may know, about three weeks ago, I left for a new nanny position, located in Minnesota. It was a bit sudden, but I’d been lazing around for plenty of time, so I was ready to start a new job. I was excited about it, going to a new place, meeting a new family, and learning what it was like to live in the deep snow, eventually.
At first, I thought I was just tired from my trip, letting myself worry about little things, as I settled in. But after the first week, my worries began to get to me, and halfway through the second week, I figured out that I was having anxiety attacks. I tend to think of panic attacks as the ones where you actually black out, think you’re having a heart attack, or something of that sort. If I have the wrong definition, then I apologize, but since I never experienced a black out, I’ll just refer to mine as anxiety attacks.
At times when I shouldn’t have been upset or frustrated by anything, I was frightening myself with a high heart rate, shortness of breath, sweating, shaking, and having panicky thoughts on a level that I have never experienced before. Something was wrong, and it was scaring me. On the recommendation of a nurse friend, I got off the diet drops I was on, just in case there was a side effect that I didn’t know about, but at that point, I only had one thought in mind. Something was causing me to freak out, and I needed to leave.
During this time, I was seeking advice from those close to me, but more importantly, I discovered that the ONLY harbor in this storm was in my Savior, Jesus Christ. I didn’t understand what was going on, and I turned to my Bible like it was a teddy bear to hug for comfort. The Psalms were cries for help and praises from King David and others, and I empathized with every one, begging the Lord to save me from what was frightening me.
You may say that if the Lord had truly answered my prayers, the attacks would have left. The attacks didn’t stop, but got worse. But instead of running from God, because He wasn’t answering me properly, I clung even more to Him, because He was still my only comfort. His Word and praying to Him almost constantly was the only way I survived the rest of that week. And on Friday, I was worried about having to tell my employers that I was leaving. That evening, I spent two straight hours, reading my Bible and praying, because nothing else helped… while I waited for the family to come home, so I could tell them I needed to give notice, effective immediately.
And the Lord answered that prayer in abundance. They took it like troopers, and I packed up my car and left the next morning. The moment I hit the road, my anxieties fled.
Since then, I have wondered whether I did the wrong thing, not following the Lord’s leading, and choosing to go to MN. Or did I do the right thing to go, and caved too soon, not giving the Lord a chance to work? In the end, it doesn’t matter, because the good that came of this (no, I don’t speak of small successes, because I didn’t have any) was all of Him, and not of me. I’ve been a Christian for many years, got saved when I was a child, but in recent years, I’ve been a lackadaisical sort of Christian. I haven’t been praying, talking to the Lord of my life, or reading my Bible very much, and yet I hadn’t wanted to go out and do terribly bad things, either. A lukewarm type of Christian, the type that’s only good for spitting out (Revelation 3:16).
The result of my mentally terrifying time was realizing that I just can’t get by without Him, though I’ve been trying. And though I won’t become a perfect Christian overnight, I’ve had a shock that I won’t recover from immediately. And I’m thankful for it, as hard as the test was.
So, I returned home, and felt like a complete failure. But I was holding out, slightly, that my doctor would tell me that it was the drops, and not entirely my own fault. But I saw my doctor, and was told that the drops didn’t cause this, and happily, I’m going back on them, because the diet was working so well for me (20 lbs loss is good, don’t you think?). The doctor’s response also put the blame squarely on myself, though. Sure, there may have been some stresses from my new job and moving, but I was the one that caved under the pressure.
Oh, before anyone tries to say “But Rachel, you’re too hard on yourself. You had just moved to a new area, driven such a long way, and had to adjust to new people…”, please think about what you’re saying. Over a year ago, I flew 36 hours in a plane, to a completely new country (that wonderful Australia), to live with a new family that I’d only met on Skype, and create a new life for myself, for a year. And nothing like this EVER happened while I was there. So, you can’t blame the same factors in my trip to MN.
I don’t like to fail. It frustrates, annoys, and angers me, that I could try to do something, and that my efforts completely crashed and burned.
But you know what? God didn’t call me to be perfect, on my own. He’s called me to trust Him, because His wisdom is greater than anything I have in myself. I may be a failure, but He wants me to admit that I am, so that He can finally use me for His glory.
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
Because the foolishness of God is WISER THAN MEN; and the weakness of God is STRONGER THAN MEN. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
–1 Corinthians 1:18-30 (KJV, copied from BibleGateway.com, emphasis mine)