Failure, It Just Stinks!

Do you know your love language? I learned a few years back that my primary love language is Words of Affirmation. I almost think this doesn’t qualify as gift! You see, I am a “Words of Affirmation” girl, and it is so hard on me when I screw up. If you bless me with a compliment, I can go for miles and miles. Point out my failures and I am devastated and obsess with the situation for days. I can’t quit thinking of my flub and frankly it sucks!

Line BreakWhen needed, I am a fill-in worship leader (in my church.) I love to lead worship although it is a bit trickier for one who didn’t grow up with traditional worship and hymns to lead for the traditional service. For two weeks in a row a friend and I helped cover the traditional worship service and for some crazy reason it just didn’t go well for me.

The second week was worse than the first because I didn’t know a couple of older songs very well, argh…I really messed up! Bless the hearts of the congregation as they sang those familiar songs without missing a beat! I even forgot the call to worship which starts us out. This was just crazy and I really felt like I made a fool of myself.

Because I only sort of read music and sing by ear, if I know a song I’m fine but for one not so well known it can really get tricky when there are four verses and I have to try to follow the music and read words.

It drives me crazy how I react once I blow it. I feel just like a freak in front of perfect people and I become devastated! You know there won’t be any words of affirmation to greet you as you exit. As a matter of fact, people will tend to avoid you or if they do brave talking to you it is going to be about the weather, ha! Weather is such a safe place to navigate.

I wish that was all! But to make matters worse was my performance based other half who couldn’t wait to ask why I messed up and not just on one but two songs. I wanted to scream and cry all at once! And I didn’t reply very humbly when he asked what the other worship leader had to say. So my retort was far from grace-filled when I said that she is so filled with love and grace that she would have just given me a big hug and said that she has been there. That shut him up in a hurry!

Yes, I have thought about this for way too long. And yes, once again I am admitting to my tendency to be a people pleaser. I know there is a healthy balance between doing your best and pleasing people to satisfy your affirmation craving! But I have to remind myself that I am not perfect and that I will make mistakes.

KD Worship

As a worship leader, my responsibility is to lead the congregation into worship. If I hold myself to performing then I am defeating the purpose and losing focus of my audience of One. He alone is who I want to please, first and foremost. He knows my heart and the intent.

In Darlene Zschech’s book, Extavagant Worship, she points out:

“The disciples whom Jesus chose to have around Him were an imperfect bunch of people to spread the Gospel to the ends of the Earth.”

Somehow this makes me feel a bit better about messing up!

So I am at it again this week and like they say about falling off of a horse, you have to get right back up there and try again. I have reckoned with my heart and I have dealt with my shame and frustration (which doesn’t really do a person any good anyway!) I know Who I love and Who loves me so I will trust that this Sunday’s worship will go much better than the last time.

Psalm 103-8

Maybe you have had to contend with your failures, how did you dealt with your mistake?

Is there something that you do or tell yourself after messing up or miss the mark somewhere?

And finally, how do you think God feels about you when you mess up? Did His love for you drop a notch because you didn’t hit the right notes?

I know my Father’s love and if His mercies are new every day then we need to exercise grace to ourselves and others who may fail now and again.

“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.”  Psalm 103:8

For this truth I am so grateful!


  1. You nailed it! We need to “exercise grace to ourselves and others who may fail now and again.” I definitely think we’re hardest on ourselves.

  2. I totally understand this! Often I am harder on myself than anyone else. So thankful God loves me in spite of my short comings, and let’s me “shake it off” and more on!

  3. Is there something that you do or tell yourself after messing up or miss the mark somewhere? Well, after the initial brood I look for the positive. I find a point that makes me smile and remind myself that I am a mere human. Perfection is not in my DNA and that is perfectly OK!

  4. Oh how I appreciate your authenticity because it gives others the freedom to do the same. Your post reminds me of this quote that I just read from Michele Cushatt’s new book, Undone. “Ministry – of the truest form – isn’t about impressing unknown strangers with spotless presentations and a flawless life. It’s about exposing the hidden imperfections and giving others permission to do the same. Becoming a fellow struggler who delivers zero judgment but abundant grace.”

    1. Thanks Kelly for your encouraging words! Looks like another ‘good read’! Once I get over my ordeal I know that God is full of mercy and grace. My responsibility is to proclaim that and let others know and see it! Blessings and appreciate your wisdom!

  5. I share the same love language. And the people pleasing gene. 😉

    Figuring out how to balance the two is key to a blissful life.

    Give yourself the same grace that you willingly give others. It’s a freeing, uplifting thing to be given grace. Once you give it to yourself, you will see that your “mess ups” aren’t so bad.

  6. The Israelites often lived in the hill country because the enemy in the valleys had iron chariots that could defeat the enemy easily. it’s good for each of us to identify our “iron chariot,” the LIE that it tells us, and God’s TRUTH that trumps it. I’m reminded of the story of a man interviewing a beautiful actress. At one point in the interview, he asked her, “Who told you you weren’t beautiful?” She started weeping. She had always questioned her beauty since she was taunted as a little girl.
    Kimberly…you addressed this beautifully! Most of us have an “iron chariot” or lie that the enemy uses on us. When we recognize it, we must stand on God’s truth and move forward.
    Ha! I mess up everyday! It’s that very PUBLIC “messing up” that gets us! Yet when we look at every character in the Bible…well…God seemed to have a penchant for using people who made mistakes! BIG mistakes! Great news for all of us!

  7. Hi Kimberly, Thank you for writing this. I recognized so much of myself in the way you described your people pleasing ways. ; ) This was good to read. We need to give not only others, but ourselves, so much grace!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *