Failure Feelings

20 August 2008

I have found that one thing Satan really likes is our pride, and one thing God really hates is when His children use the term "failure." I found this out early on during our Annual Conference experience, and I admit that I fell into that little hole of self pity.

Some background info:
After nearly four years of raising support to be long term missionaries, our sending agency suggested that we switch to a short term program. The benefits being a smaller budget, shorter term, and speedy arrival on the field. So we jumped at it! We believe God has called us to live and work in Ireland for the rest of our lives, but if His will is to only have us here for 2 years, we will gladly serve Him here for those 2 years. We are now currently serving our first term of 2 years, after which we will go home to raise more support so that we can come back for good.

A few downsides to this situation: we are viewed differently here. It is much more difficult to form relationships and friendships with our neighbours if they only view us as living here short term. It is hard to describe to them that while we are only "committed" here for two years, we feel that this is our permanent home. It is also more difficult to contribute openly and equally within our field of coworkers, all of whom are in this for the long haul and some of who may (inadvertently) view our situation as a temporary, passing phase.

All this came to a head for me at our organization's annual conference. Being "short termers" as we currently are now, for organizational purposes (I assume) we were lumped into a group that contained other "short termers", as well as "interns", whose terms of service ranged from 2 weeks to 2 years. I ashamedly admit that I was humiliated. I was so annoyed (hurt, offended, you fill in the blank) that my four years of painstaking work was going by unnoticed. Not just that, but I was flabbergasted that we - a couple who have committed their lives to this work - were being grouped in with people who had committed 2 weeks! The shock of it! Friends who knew us when we first joined the organization came up to us, confused, asking, "What happened? Why aren't you long term?" I wanted to answer, "Oh, we failed at support raising so they threw us a bone and are letting us serve for just 2 years." Of course, I didn't say that! But the truth was, I did feel like a failure. My pride got the best of me, and not living up to that meant failure.

So this general feeling of discontent and disgrace lasted a couple of days before my husband gently kicked my butt and snapped me out of it. "Our miracle is that we are here and that God is allowing us to live for Him here, in Europe, no matter for how long." The thing was, it didn't really matter what WE think we are doing here. What mattered was what God was doing here, that He could use people for 2 weeks to accomplish something for His Kingdom, or 2 years, or 2 decades. Not bound by time, and certainly not bound by money, He has a job for each of us. Was I willing to do that for Him, without the recognition? Was I willing to do that and give Him the glory, instead of wanting it all for myself?

Well, I think I answered yes, because the rest of the conference was brilliant. My pride and Satan's lies had kept me from enjoying fellowship and listening to God's word. God's truth and my eventual submission allowed me to share in His story - the one that He's telling in Europe.

I'm certainly not proud of most of the things written in this post, but I felt that to get it all out - to write the truth - is one weapon I can use against Satan's failing deceits. Tomorrow, when I feel like a failure all over again, I can pull this up, read it, and realize my shortcomings allow God to do the job. I can't take credit for that.


  1. hi,
    not to disappoint you or anything, but I'm thinking of you as permanent . . . as permanent as any of us ever are.

    so there.

    plus, I'm not much on designations and groupings, though I understand why it's necessary to designate and group sometimes!

    but very sweet that you know what the lies are and can counteract them with the truth. That's the best!!!


  2. Thanks for is always great to be reminded of my own pride. It creeps up in so many ways, I won't bore you with a list...

    We are praying for you both and the adjustment that will continue for quite some time, I am sure.