Do you ever feel like a failure – as a mom, a homeschooler, a Christian? I have to say that I have felt like a failure in all three of those areas many times over the years! I remember as a teenager, looking at my mom and thinking that she had it all together, and never had any problems. I looked forward to the time when I would be an adult, and like her, not have any problems! Now here I am 40 years later, with 8 of my own kids, and guess what? I STILL haven’t arrived! I still struggle with being a patient Mom at times, or trying to deal with my kids in my own wisdom. I often feel like I’m doing less than a great job at homeschooling. More important, there are times when I go through spiritual struggles, and when God shows me those areas (often they relate to the parenting/homeschooling issue!), I get discouraged. I think, “I’ve failed again!”
One day the Lord spoke to me about those thoughts, and helped me know how to handle those feelings and thoughts better. I realized that as long as I’m growing as a Christian, He is going to be showing me areas where I am failing – areas where I need His help, and things that I need to work on. That is a GOOD thing! I don’t ever want to get to the place where I feel that I have arrived, or to the point that God no longer is teaching me things, and showing me areas I can still grow in.
How should we respond to those feelings of failure?
1. Realize you are always going to have areas where you need to grow.
One of the first things that comes to light when you begin to homeschool, are your character flaws!
2. Don’t give up.
Think of the words in Proverbs 24:16, “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again.” It’s okay to fall, but we need to keep getting back up.
3. Learn through your failures.
Mistakes are stepping stones.
4. Encourage yourself!
In I Samuel 30:6 it says, “but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” Learn how to encourage yourself. This is SO important, because we are no use to those we are serving (our families!), if we’re discouraged. Discouragement will keep you from doing what you should, and you will be unable to be an encouragement to your kids and spouse.
How do you encourage yourself?
1. Don’t carry the load alone.
2. Grab those resources that are encouraging to you, and read or listen to them.
3. If fatigue is part of the problem, lighten up on things, and rest; don’t deal with those things that seem like problems when you’re tired!
4. Get spiritual encouragement through uplifting music, like hymns. Find encouraging Scripture. I love Psalm 139 where I am reminded that God knows all about me, and He loves me! Also, be encouraged through prayer. “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2
5. Keep a “joy file”. Anytime someone writes you a note of encouragement, put it in that special joy file, then pull those notes out when you need encouragement.
6. Encourage others. This will help take your focus off yourself & your problems. Also, more people long for a kind word, than we’ll ever know. Let’s be the ones to encourage them!
Next time you feel like “a failure”, thank God that He is still working in your life to make you more like Him!