3 Things Not to Do When Feeling Like a Failure

3 Things Not to Do When Feeling Like a Failure

We all, at times, feel like we ARE a failure. Whether we have experienced a setback in life, or whether we seem to consistently not measure up to society’s standard of “success,” there are moments and even seasons in life where we battle discouragement about who we are and how we are doing. The emotional response to this can range from mild discouragement to full blown depression. What should we do in these times?

There certainly are many positive things to do, but I am going to share three things – not to do – when you feel like a failure:

  1. Don’t Make Failure Your Identity – You may have experienced a failing, but you are not a failure. We don’t deny our experience, we just cannot get our identity from it. One of the greatest keys to victory in life is to maintain a solid belief in who God says you are no matter what your experience says. Certainly, having healthy beliefs about ourselves is not the only thing we do to triumph in life, but it is the most important thing. “Let the weak say ‘I am strong'” (Joel 3:10). Keep saying you are a success, even when you seem like a failure.
  2. Don’t Quit – Winston Churchill was asked to speak at a graduation commencement after World War II. He stood up and said, “Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.” Then he sat down. His life was the message. This is a speech we all need to hear over and over again. Galatians 6:9 says we will reap a good harvest “if we do not lose heart.” Wow, what a promise!
  3. Don’t Become Lazy – When we seem to fail, there is a tendency to want to hide and withdraw. Yes, we will at times need to rest and be alone to regroup and recharge, but withdrawal and escapism cannot become a pattern for us after we experience disappointment. No matter where you are in life, there is a forward-step that you can take now. As you move forward in that one thing, more light will be given to see where to go from there. Remember, your response to something is almost always more important than the something that happened. As we maintain our commitments in discouraging times, we will build a victorious living “muscle” that will increase our load bearing capacity for the days ahead.

You are NOT a failure. You are “more than a conqueror ” (Romans 8:37). There is grace on you TODAY to shake off feelings of being a failure. And you are called to encourage others who are battling this as well. It is indeed a new day of increased hope and victory for you and those in your life.


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Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.