5 Things to Do When Feeling Like a Failure

5 Things to Do When Feeling Like a Failure

At times we all feel like we are a failure. Just like Peter, David, and Moses in the Bible, most of us will have times where it seems we have messed up too much to have significance or happiness in the future. In these times, our self-talk wants to tell us we have not only failed but we ARE a failure.

The devil is called the “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10). One of his goals is to influence us to constantly feel like a failure. When we embrace this negative mindset, we are hindered greatly from our connection with God and our assignments in life. This tendency is something we can all overcome.

Here are five things to do to disempower these voices of accusation and overcome feeling like a failure.

  1. Reconnect Your Heart With God –  “But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).  Whether we are battling guilt for little things or something larger, it is amazing to consider the father’s response in the story of the Prodigal Son. He ran to him when he saw his son taking steps toward him. When we humble ourselves before God, admit our wrongs, and receive His love when feeling like a failure, we will find His grace healing and empowering us in incredible ways.
  2. Saturate Yourself in the Promises of God – “That through (God’s promises) you may be partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). I am not a proponent of positive thinking, but I do promote biblical optimism. We are told in Philippians 4:8 to “think on these things” (things in line with God’s promises). Our faith cannot be in ourselves but in what He has said. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
  3. Go on a Declaration Rampage – “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).  At halftime in a sports game, one of the coach’s jobs is to inspire and “fire up” players who feel defeated, like failures, or weary. In life, we are to break off these feelings by declaring God’s promises, declaring our true identities, and declaring thanksgiving for how our past prayers are working. Speak directly into the areas where emotions of failure are coming up. Remember, “faith comes by hearing” (Romans 10:17). As we hear ourselves say these things, victorious faith arises within us.
  4. Take Care of Yourself – “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you” (I Kings 19:7). Many of you have heard of the acronym HALT. Never make a major conclusion or major decision when you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. In these times, things feel worse than they really are, and what we believe to be true is often not true. This happened to Elijah in I Kings 19. He was tired and hungry, and he was believing some big lies as a result. The angel gave him some very practical direction, “eat something.” We will overcome feeling like a failure more easily if we are getting enough rest, exercising, eating well, and keeping our hearts healthy in relationships.
  5. Take Action As Needed – “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally” (James 1:5). Once we have re-established hope in our lives,it is important to know what, if anything we are to do about the areas fueling our failure beliefs. Often we need to get a plan, make things right with people, involve others in our lives to help us, etc. If we are seemingly experiencing repeated defeat in an area, then the involvement of others to help with a plan for forward movement becomes even more crucial. With this said, there will be many instances where we are to do nothing but resist the voices of accusation. “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

The devil is a liar. You are not a failure. You are victorious, more than a conqueror, a magnet for God’s grace, and an overcomer. For more on this topic, listen to this week’s podcast below.

For more on topics like this, listen to my podcast by clicking the link below.


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.