When failure colors your potential
by Christie Browning
It was a common scene in my kitchen... in yours as well I would guess.
A busy night before meant a messy kitchen the next morning. As we hustled to get home from work and school to race off to meetings, the gym and other night-time activities, our kitchen became the dumping ground for lunchboxes, dirty coffee mugs and piled up plates in the sink.
As the next morning began, dishes needed for before-school breakfast were hard to come by. As the realization hit, so did my frustration. It was that feeling of failure... failure that I can't do all things, be all things, manage all things. It was that feeling of frustration that I was the only one who would tackle the kitchen nightmare and the mess would only pile up until I did something about it. And in a second I was feeling overwhelmed.
It was the combination of all these emotions that fueled my passive aggressive comments thrown in the face of my 16-year-old step son. "Well, you don't have a bowl for your cereal because I wasn't home last night to do the dishes, and of course no one else could load the dishwasher. And... I won't be home tonight either so I guess you can plan on not having a cereal bowl clean for tomorrow either!!!"
The nasty spewing of words brought a look to my step-son's face that said it all....I had blown my cool. Later that morning, while juggling a full plate of tasks at the office, I received a text message from my step-son:
"I'm sorry you were upset over the dishes. I was wondering if you wanted to teach me how to use the dishwasher so I can load it for you when you need it."
And then it hits... the guilt. I realized how my frustration impacted him to the point that hours later he texts to offer his help and I replay the scene in my head. Who was that snarling, nasty person spewing over some dirty dishes?? Then the sense of utter failure hits. That morning I shut my office door and collapsed at my desk, so ashamed at my behavior, beating myself up for the failure I felt, and scolding myself for the immature way I behaved.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; the old had gone, the new is here!"
But it can seem that the new isn't here to stay! I don't know about you, but I still fight "the old" each day - old habits, old attitudes, old frustrations, old lies, old emotions... where is the new?
If you continue reading in this passage, you'll see how Paul, the author of this New Testament book of the Bible, was writing about a shift that occurs in our hearts and more importantly, in our potential because of Christ's love and sacrifice for us --
"God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation."
Christ's sacrifice on a cross for us cancels out the sins of you and I. That means our failures, mistakes, bad decisions, blow ups, meltdowns and anything in between... all of that is covered and canceled out if we believe in the blood that was shed by God's Son for you and for me! Our potential isn't tainted or negated because of our failure. In fact, our potential is even greater because of Christ's work for us on the cross.
As the day begins or as your day comes to a close, it's reassuring to know that our shortcomings are not a limitation to what we can do and what we can be. Actually, our failure is colored red in the redeeming love of Christ who died for you and I to realize our potential.