Barclay Viewforth Church congregation on Blackford Hill

I’m a failure!

Well, I’m human! Unless you have the ego of some politicians and celebrities, who see themselves as the most successful thing since… I think a lot of us might think we are failures at some time or another. Indeed, I think it would be quite rare for folk to feel successful in all areas of life. 

I was at BV Creative last night and have been reminded that as Katelynne said in her magazine article last month, ‘many people don’t think they are creative – but we all are!’ We are made in the image of a creative God. But who has not suffered the harsh words of a teacher, or even a friend? Phil Togwell said in Lectio 365 this morning: ‘our minds can feed on and become full of all sorts of rubbish, which is why the apostle Paul urges the Philippian church to think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy’. It’s easy to let our minds be filled with negative thoughts, either self inflicted, or ones that have come from someone else. My Pray As You go devotion this morning was on James chapter 1, the well known passage that starts, ‘My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires’.

Last night was a lovely encouraging atmosphere where people shared and encouraged each other and were interested in each other. Stories and ideas were shared. A safe space. If only we were like this all the time, building each other up instead of tearing each other down. 

So what is my failure about? In my last Blog post entitled ‘Resolutions?’ I deliberately said that I wasn’t having any new year resolutions, but it was more an intention that I would have a no buy year. Well I failed. I bought 2 non-essential things in January. The first was an audiobook, which I thought didn’t really count as it wasn’t a physical object, but the second was a raincoat. Some might say that in Scotland it’s useful to have more than one raincoat anyway, but now I need to confess the extenuating circumstances! It was something I had had my eye on for some time, from an ethical sustainable small local-ish company. Suddenly I saw that they were being forced to close down due to their suppliers deciding only to stock large businesses. They searched around for other suppliers, but there weren’t any that met their high standards. So, instead of compromising, they put all their stock on sale half price and are closing their business. So that was it, new raincoat (which has already proven itself in recent days). I had to confess to my son, who promptly told me I then had to add an extra month onto my no buy year. As I said in my last Blog, resolutions are something that you can fail at before you’ve even started. But the truth is that God doesn’t see us as failures, whether we criticise ourselves, or someone else does it for us. God loves us as his children. 

It’s coming up to Lent. I have advertised some resources in last months magazine article, but there is also a Tearfund daily devotional you can sign up for. I would also highly recommend the Lectio 365 app since I started using it some time in advent. But why don’t we make it good practice to being intentionally kind to each other during Lent (and not only then). The secular world, or at least some of it is currently railing against unkindness. We should be at the forefront. We have the best example we could have in Jesus. 

Julie Nicholson

P.S. This is my second Blog in two months… although I’m not promising anything for next month!

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