Category Archives: Failures

Fear-Factor Friday: 7 steps to overcome fear of failure

Today’s fear-factor is:


fear of failure

So often, I am crippled by fear of failing. I want to do the right thing so bad, but sometimes I don’t know what that “right thing” is. Days like these, I think if all the college students I’ve ever mentored could gather in a room, sit me down, and tell me everything I’ve ever passed onto them, it would be extremely beneficial.

Case in point: I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked, “what is God’s will for _________.”
  • Should I get a summer job or go on a missions trip?
  • Should I go to this university or that one?
  • What major should I choose?
In college, everyone want’s to know what God’s will is for their life. And you know what? There is honor in that! I am so proud of every young woman who sits down over coffee with me, agonizing over the potential choices in her life. Because she (usually) wants to do the right thing. She just can’t discern between the choices in front of her.
Last month, I felt the exact same way. I needed to make a decision about the birth of our twins: to induce or wait and have a c-section. Neither of these options were a part of the plan for these babies. I visualized going into labor spontaneously during my 37 week. It’s what we prayed for. It’s what the doctors said needed to happen, in order to avoid induction.
It didn’t happen. I wasn’t not surprised, because God isn’t required to answer my prayers. I trusted there was a reason none of my natural induction methods worked.
At that point, I was the one sitting down over coffee asking, “what is God’s will for this birth?”
If my college-ladies were there, they would have told me exactly what I’ve told them for 4 years: “It really doesn’t matter. Just whatever you choose to do, do it for the glory of God.” (Colossians 3:17)
In other words, as long as neither option is an outright sin, you have some freedom to make your own decision. What you choose is not going to thwart the ultimate will of God in your life. I believe God has all power and will, but I also believe He gives us freedom to make choices. In those choices, He works out His best for us: to sanctify us (cleanse and shape us) to look more like His Son. We cannot fail when the main goal is to honor God in the choice, not make the best choice.
So if our decision leads us through an easy, joy-filled route–God will use it. If the choice drags us down a path of exhausting, patience-inducing hardship (unrelated to any personal sin), God will use that too. We don’t know what’s behind door #1 vs. Door #2, but we can know that God will use whatever it is to glorify himself and make us more like Him. (Romans 8:28)
What choices are you facing today? Like the ladies I am so blessed to mentor, are you sorting through life-goals to define your major? Or, like me, are you contemplating your options for parenting, sleep-training, discipline, and to child-care/not to child-care? Do you have 2 job offers, 3 roommate applicants, 4 weeks free in the summer, or a nice guy who charged through your at-last-I’m-content-being-single life?
Let’s commit to honoring God with these potential paths in life by
  1. Not worrying about them (and thus idolizing them) (Phil. 4:6a)
  2. Asking for the Holy Spirit’s help and guidance (Phil. 4:6b)
  3. Making the choice (Col. 3:23)
  4. Following through with all we’ve got, to God’s glory. (Col. 3:17)
  5. Being flexible: 1/2 way down the road, the Holy Spirit could still lead us down a different road (Rom. 8:26-27)
  6. Guarding against bitterness about “wasted time,” failures, or regrets. Remember: God will use the time/effort/money spent on said choice to shape us if we keep our focus on worshipping Him through it. (Phil 4:4)
  7. Being grateful for the blessing of choices. Many people don’t even get the luxury of choosing what shoes they will wear each day. (Colossians 3:17)
What choice have you made or will make that you can wholeheartedly do to the glory of God?

Existing for an audience of One

Summer camp is around the corner.

I am preparing for a week of discipling kids in the Lord. As I do so, a lot comes to mind:

  • Am I getting too old for this?
  • How will I hold these teenagers attention?
  • Will I be an asset to the rest of the staff, or an annoyance?
  • Can I even compete in the sports activities? Will I look like a fool?

I want to honor God well. I want to humbly serve my teammates also. I really want to love those awesome teenagers unconditionally…

But I keep dwelling on my own “appearance”… how I will come across.

I think I do this because I feel “safe” when I am in control. I feel like I wont get hurt, offended, or looked down upon if I can “do everything right.”

Truth reminds me not to dwell on what men think. I must dwell on God,  His work, His success rate, His will, His heart for this ministry. Not only will I effectively shine the spotlight on Jesus, but I will also find the “safety” I am desperate for.

proverbs 29 25

In Christ, I am found. My identity is safe–daughter of the King. No one else’s opinion matters.

This verse keeps my head on straight. Not just in ministry, or with people I want to serve well. It is truth for every aspect of my life.

I exist for an audience of one.


Where do you tend to seek the approval of men?
How have you found peace and confidence in your identity in Christ and His approval?

My Life, In Edit

My life is in edit. Allow me to explain.

1. The Book:

After  years of writing and investing in a young women’s Bible study curriculum, I am finally in the editing stage. It is emotional, annoying, and to be honest, sometimes feels entirely pointless.

I put a string of words together once. I thought they sounded decent once.

I read them now, and promptly plant my face in my palm. I am tempted to leave it be, to send it to a publisher, as-is. But I know it is not ready. This book is not what it needs to be, yet. (“Yet” is such a painful word.)

Here’s a little poem describing my editing process these past few nights:

Open doc, stare at clock…

Rub face, erase…

Highlight, rewrite…

Type fast, change past…

Failing sight, goodnight…

The end.

Hope you liked it … it’s exhausting.

2. The Home

After moving into our new home, we decided to make a few improvements. Our periwinkle wall called for a paint job. Before we rolled on the first coat of “Summer Heat,” we found that the blue-ish paint was peeling.

What’s under the blue paint? Ooh, pretty red.

“I like it, let’s just peel it and leave it,” I said.

peeling the paint

“Let’s see what’s under the paneling,” Shane said.

RIP paneling

And so, a little peeling of paint  turned into a demolition of a wall. Our “living” room is now a “renovation” room….

…..a pink renovation room (more on this in later posts).

Pink walls!

3. The Life

Lately, my day to day “living” also feels more like day to day “renovating.” (I think we Christians call this “sanctification.”)

Every time I open my Bible, I can sense God’s cursor highlighting some of my life-statements. Clearly there is a grammatical error in my heart. And my attitude has some sentence-structure that needs some repair. There is no sense of “flow,” from my words to my actions. My purpose is choppy, and each paragraph in my day includes too many “themes.”

So I stop opening God’s Word (yep, I avoid it too). I stop exposing myself to this “editing process.” I don’t like it. It involves too many “yets.” It creates too many “face-palms.”

I’d rather do a quick paint job to cover it up. Please God, don’t lay me bare to the dry-wall of my soul! It’s messy down there. It needs a lot more work than just a simple peeling. There are cracks and flaws. It’s going to take too long. It will be exhausting. I just want to move on!

Thank goodness He doesn’t leave me this way!

1 Thessalonians 5 v 23-24

So, I am in edit. I will be in edit for a long time.

I hope to get this book polished very soon. And, for the record, I think our living room has great potential now that the paneling is gone. And Shane promises to be the home-improvement rock-star. I look forward to the day we relax in the rusty hues of “Summer Heat” in our living room.

But the renovation, the sanctification, and the editing process of my life will not be done. I am work-in progress… I just thank Jesus for his faithfulness to shape me with grace.

How has He been shaping you? What is your favorite verse for this Life-in-Edit business?

The Ultimate DIY Project: Building God’s House

My husband and I have been extra-blessed with the opportunity to build our own home.


Even more exciting is how our family has come around us to build it together, including my parents and my husband’s parents. It is the ultimate DIY project, and the whole family is involved.

I am constantly impressed with the number of details involved in building a house. Last Fall, I encountered the small detail of setting up a fence for our yard. The timing felt odd, but for various reasons, we built our fence before the walls of our house were even in place.

Our first task: digging the holes for the fence posts. Working side by side with my mom, we started breaking up the rock-dirt. That’s right, not rock-hard-dirt, just rock-dirt. Using a 40 lb. digging bar, we pounded the ground 4 dozen times, then scooped out the broken pieces with our hands. Each round removed maybe 1/4 inch from the hole-to-be.

Together, we focused for hours on one hole. Exhausted, sweating, and finger muscles throbbing, we peered down the intimidating row of future holes. There, on the opposite end, was my super-hero father-in-law, Steve, hulk-smashing each hole in a matter of minutes.

A feeling of relief and wonder, tinged with a little jealous frustration, raced through our tired bones. Realizing how useless our efforts were in comparison to Steve, we stepped out of the way. “Surely we could be more helpful somewhere else,” we thought. But our boss (which happens to be my dad) quickly reminded us to keep digging.

How silly we felt, how pathetic. But we persevered, finishing 1 and 1/2 holes by the day’s end. Steve finished 10 and 1/2.

This story is a perfect reflection of ministry. Every person who has entered into God’s family is a part of the epic family project of building a house: God’s house. We know, of course, that “unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” (Psalm 127:1) But we also know that each of God’s children are invited to participate. Whether by leading through a paid ministry position, raising godly children, or reaching out to co-workers: we all have a detail to focus on.

Sometimes though, we see someone else making incredible progress in their ministry. These are the ones who rarely get drained by people; the Christians who have the perfect words to say every time.

We all know the guy who can naturally bend a conversation to focus on God’s love and plan of redemption for humanity. He hosts one Bible-study over coffee, and before you know it, 10 and 1/2 people have committed their life to Christ.

In comparison, you wonder why you keep fumbling over the “Romans’ Road” with your neighbor and his poodle. At a certain point, you just want to invite Mr. Incredible over to the neighbor’s and so he can gently Hulk-smash them into eternal life with Jesus.

I so often forget that God called me to pray for this person. God placed me, specifically, in a home next to theirs. Our Dad never asked us to be amazing, He just asked us to be faithful. To keep sweating over that one hole–that one empty soul that needs Jesus, no matter how hard the heart. He chooses to use the weak, the sweating, the tired and intimidated, to make a difference. “For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13 HCSB)

It’s a family DIY project, and each family member gets to be a part of building this house.


Coincidence or Christ-Evidence?

This morning, I was working out some aspects of my identity, specifically that I am in Christ. That is all that matters–not what I do or don’t do, if I am fantastic or Miss-Awesome-Pants or the epic-failure I often see myself as.

None of it matters. I take my eyes off of me, and look at Christ. I preach the gospel to myself.

Well, a funny thing happened. I’ve been listening to various sermons during my work out every day, and today’s specific sermon was about the EXACT same topic: Finding your identity in Christ.


Pastor Mark Driscoll, of Mars Hill Church, uses some of the exact same verses that God was showing me, the same verse I wrote about in my blog.

It is no coincidence that God revealed the same truth twice in one day, and through different avenues. HE knew the truth I needed (and maybe you need it too?). I am so in love with this God that coordinates truth like Spring rain, washing away my false identity, and refreshing my soul. He makes all things new.

Take some time, maybe during your Saturday morning routine, to listen to this important truth. Here is a link to the sermon. You can also get it on itunes.


Failing to be Miss-Awesome-Pants

This morning, the Holy Spirit gripped my heart with truth, yet again.

As the rest of my blog suggests, I wrestle with people-pleasing and perfectionism. The times I fail, my identity quickly becomes “failure.” The times I succeed, my identity switches to “Miss-Awesome-Pants.”

You’ll know when I’m feeling like Miss-Awesome-Pants because I wear a cute pinterest-inspired hair-do, slip on my skinny jeans, and schedule lots of coffee dates so I can share my confident moment with everyone.

Whether up or down, I base all of my self-worth on my self-work. My identity lies in my ability (or lack thereof.)

I relate very closely to the main character in Fantastic Mr. FoxStanding on a bridge, contemplating all of his mistakes, Mr. Fox makes a statement I relate to very well:

“I think I have this thing where everybody has to think I’m the greatest.And if they aren’t completely knocked out and dazzled and slightly intimidated by me, I don’t feel good about myself.” ― Roald Dahl, Fantastic Mr. Fox


Mr. Fox’s identity is wrapped in his ability to be fantastic. My movie would be titled Miss-Awesome Pants, and would tell a similar story about a woman striving to be a knock-out wife and slightly intimidating in her Christ-likeness.

Sounds pretty ridiculous, huh?

For the last year, I’ve been grappling with this statement: “work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Phil 2:12-13

I think, “if I succeed to work out my salvation, then I’ll see fruit in my life. I’ll see a change in my heart and growth in my ministry.”

This mentality leads to a daily Wah-wah-wah (you know, the sound of a cartoon falling.) When I screw up, I feel I am failing to “work out” my salvation. My “work-outs” aren’t showing results.

J.D. Greear wrote a book titled, The Gospel: Rediscovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary. God has used the words of this book to bring freedom to my identity.

He wrote:

“Both Satan and the Holy Spirit will point out your sin. But they do so in entirely different ways and for entirely different purposes….

… Satan beats us down with our failures. Jesus calls us up into our identity. Jesus starts with the perfect state He has purchased for us by His death and uses the power of His resurrection to bring us into conformity with it.” (pg. 52)

In other words, there is no condemnation, no need to feel damned, if you belong to Jesus (Romans 8:1). I feel I am one or the other: Miss-Awesome-Pants or Miss-Epic-Fail. But neither are true. According to The Gospel (both the book and truth about Jesus) my identity is summed up what God says of me:

“I have made you, My child. I have taken away all your sin. I could not approve of you more than I do right now. Live that way.” (The Gospel, pg. 53)

I must keep sight of the gospel:

  • that I am a sinner in need of a savior
  • that Jesus came as that Savior, exchanging my sin for His righteousness
  • that my decision to accept His grace and His Lordship gives me complete approval from God, even as He would approve of His own Son.

Instead of looking to myself to make things right, I need to keep my eyes on Jesus.

So I take Greear’s advice, and I preach the gospel to myself!

Specifically today, I am struggling with apathy. I don’t really care about getting laundry done, or editing my book, or exercising, or being faithful in the little things. In my apathy, I then experience failure to accomplish. Failure then turns to pride and looking to self to overcompensate…. leading to absolute chaos in my heart and home!

Then I hear the Holy Spirit whisper…..

Stop, Becky.

Christ has died, and Christ is risen, Christ will come again. (Mystery, by Charlie Hall.)

Now live, Becky. Live in my love, in my truth of who you are. Make mistakes, I’ve already covered them. Give up, throw a fit, get prideful… come back. My grace is sufficient.

My kindness never ends. My discipline is love. My plan is good for you.

It takes “me” out of the picture… and my failures with it.

I think I am finally realizing where where the “fear and trembling” part of Philippians 2 comes in. It is not fear of failure, or trembling in the presence of a God who disapproves.

The fear and trembling is a response to overwhelming freedom. Freedom from having to be fantastic, from never making a mistake, produces such reverence for God. His complete acceptance makes me tremble.

I work out my salvation by simply living out the impossible identity I have been given by Christ.

And that is Fantastic.


Your’s Truly
Miss-“God is Awesome”-pants

“I got this”…… but I really don’t.

Proverbs 3:5

Here is an excerpt from a chapter on trust, from my book found at There are a lot of things I am trying to handle on my own right now. This unit is a good reminder that life is a dance. I have been invited to trust Jesus and follow His lead, but sometimes, I prance around the dance floor on my own instead. Proverbs 3 is always an important reminder to let go, let God….


Proverbs 3:5-8 says

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.

It will be healing to your body
And refreshment to your bones.”


trust chairFrom pastor and author J.D Greear’s perspective, a woman who trusts in herself is like a person who believes a chair can hold her weight, but she never sits down. She’ll stand next to the chair, praising it, but relies on her own tired legs to hold her up.

You might appreciate Jesus for inviting you to dance. You could tell Him how wonderful He is, sing songs about his love, study the “dance,” but never take His hand and twirl in His arms.

So many girls agree: the dance is beautiful and exciting. But there are many ladies, dressed in their finest ball gowns, dancing without a partner, awkward and alone.

Sarai was a self-trusting woman. In Genesis 15:4-6, Abram, Sarai’s husband, encounters God, who promises Abram to have many descendants. Genesis 16:1-4 explains how Sarai doubted her ability to produce these descendants, so she asks her husband to sleep with her maid, Hagar. Hagar’s baby brought much pain and fighting between Sarai and Hagar. Later, the Lord promises a baby to come specifically through Sarai (whose name was then changed to Sarah) when she was 90 years old (Genesis 17:15-19). This promise was repeated again in Genesis 18:9-15; this time, Sarah laughed at the thought of having a baby. Her journey was so bitter, so misguided when it came to trusting God; why would He use her now? Finally, in Genesis 21:1-7, we read of the blessed day that God gave Sarah her son, Isaac.

God had invited Sarah to trust Him, to take part in His plan to make a great nation. Unfortunately, Sarah chose not to trust God, and trusted her own ideas instead. Her plan, to give her maiden to her husband, was not something God had commanded. In the end, choosing to trust herself created chaos within her family.

A girl who trusts her own abilities and strength is volunteering for an awkward downfall.

Trusting self leads to the belief that sin is secret. This kind of girl chooses to “dance alone” so that no one will be close enough to see her faults, like her ugly shoes or clumsiness. Trying to live with self-confidence (instead of Christ-confidence) makes a girl so internal, she often isn’t aware of how her sin affects herself, or others: “You felt secure in your wickedness and said, ‘No one sees me.’ Your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you; for you have said in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one besides me.’” Isaiah 47:10

Sarah believed this about herself. We can see it in her decision to take matters into her own hands. Remember the story about Hannah (Chapter 4: Integrity); she faced the same situation as a woman who could not bear children. Instead of trying to control the situation, she prayed. Weeping her concerns to God, Hannah joined in the dance, bringing every need into His arms, trusting in His plan.

Like Hannah, when we delight in the Lord, joining in the dance with Him, we discover just how trustworthy He is:

“Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord. Trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday.” (Psalm 37:1-4)


Thankfully, Sarah’s story also magnifies the faithfulness of God. No matter what Sarah did, God still chose to use her, and fulfill His promises to her. He never stopped inviting her to trust Him, to dance with Him.

Our God holds great promises for the woman who choses to trust Him, even when if feels easier to just “do it herself.”

  • Are you looking for peace? Put aside the need for control and micro-management, remembering that God “will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in [Him].” (Isaiah 26:3)
  • Do you feel hopeless? Stop relying on your own abilities “as you trust Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:13)
  • Are there wounds and pain in the core of who you are? Trusting in the Lord brings healing to your bones (Proverbs 3:8a).
  • images-1Are you tired or exhausted? God promises His girl to be refreshed when she trusts in Him. (Proverbs 3:8b)

A girl who knows the trustworthiness of God, and the truth of His promises, finds it a simple decision to trust Him. She sees the silliness of her self-trust dancing alone, and joyfully leaps into His arms for the next jitter-bug swing.

……………. Read the full unit, “An Awkward Solo,” here.

In so many ways, I need to return to the simple wisdom of Proverbs. I can’t do it on my own…. “it” being everything: meeting expectations, reaching goals, checking off my to-do list, becoming a godly woman, serving my husband, ministry….

The truth is, I don’t “got this.” But God does. I love that I can rest in the assurance of that. And I can stop “killing myself” to be the savior of the world (Jesus already did that successfully).

(P.S.: I’m not even a mom yet! How do moms function in a world of uncertainty like motherhood, if I can’t even let go of control in my kid-less world?! Anyone care to comment?)

The Art of Falling Gracefully

falling gracefullyI failed again. Life does not have a rewind button, and words spoken do not return to my mouth. I gossiped. I spoke a word that shouldn’t have been said. And it happened so fast, so naturally, so… like… me.

Ugh, will I ever gain control over my tongue?! I have been praying for help in this specific area for months now! But I keep messing up, failing, and falling to my shame and the humiliation of others.

Won’t God just please give me the self-control to shut UP!?

Maybe. But I have a feeling I encounter failure in this area for the rest of my life.

More importantly, I think God wants to teach me a different lesson first:

I used to be a figure skating instructor. Toddlers, young girls, even women in their 60’s learned the skills and technique to turn, jump, spiral, and spin; and I had the joy of teaching them.

The very first skill a skater must learn, though, is to fall. As much fun it is to glide through a beautiful routine and train for the big jumps and spins, the potential to hurt one’s body by falling incorrectly is too great to ignore.

To fall correctly while ice-skating, a person must aim to fall on his or her “heineken,” on the soft part of the butt-cheek. This spot will cushion the rest of the body from the impact, and will not easily break (though it may bruise). I had little kids who loved to fall on their knees, big kids who aimed for their tail-bones, and adults who  threw their hands back to catch themselves before they would fall on their bums. Each of these puts more weight and strain than the respective body-part can handle.

My Students and I in 2008
My Students and me in 2008

My students never appreciated me for it, but I forced them to practice falling correctly…. especially if they developed a habit of falling on the wrong area. My adult students were afraid to practice falling; but falling by accident is inevitable, and training your body to fall correctly is the best way to ensure a safe landing every time.

I can relate to those women so well now. I am afraid to fall. I don’t want to be forced to fall. I definitely don’t want to practice. But God has a great plan to train me in this life to be a faithful and graceful Daughter of God. Failing is inevitable, but I have developed a “bad-falling habit,” and my coach is going to retrain me to fall gracefully.

Every time I fall in this Christian-walk, I do so without any measure of gracefulness. I get down on myself, doubt God’s work in me, and flirt with the desire to quit. I want to hide in my room, under the covers, and ignore the spiritual battle upon my flesh. I feel like giving-up on ministry and even trying to make a difference in other’s lives. I want to duct-tape my mouth with a “it’s not worth hearing” label.

All of my thoughts spiral inward on me, myself, and I– and it’s not pretty. Like a figure-skater spazzing out of a triple-lutz, twisting her ankle, impacting her elbow, and landing flat on her side sprawled out all over the icy surface–I fail very ungracefully.

Over the past month, I have encountered my failures more times than I can count. Maybe I’m just suddenly aware of it, now that I am writing a blog labeled “Failures, Faith, and Freckles.” Maybe the Holy Spirit has a specific plan to “prune” me into a new level of sanctification and Christ-likeness, so He is re-training me to fall gracefully. Whatever the case, IT IS EXHAUSTING.

But He is the coach; I am the student. He knows the bigger picture for my safety, success, and overall beauty in this sport… er… life. So He teaches me to fail with grace: grace for myself, grace for the people around me, grace for the process. He trains me to swiftly rise up like it’s nothing… there is a song I am skating to and the crescendo approaches. I have an audience watching… not to see me sprawled out like a dead pigeon, though that may entertain them for a moment. No, I am in this life, like a skater gliding across the ice, to display a sense of beauty, grace, and artistic talent: not mine though… Christ’s!

To fall correctly in this Christian walk, I must glorify God from the ground. With humility and trust, I will set my mind on Christ. and the beautiful life-routine He has choreographed for me.