I know you can succeed, but do you know how to fail?
Here’s my fear, I’ve done everything I can to help my girls succeed, but have I taught them how to fail well? The truth is none of us are perfect nor will we ever be, so knowing how to fail well is pretty darn important. The problem is I’m still trying to figure this out myself. I don’t like to fail.
I was reading an article about cluster suicides on college campuses that came up on my FB feed. There are way too many, and as universities are trying to figure out how to resolve this, here’s what they’re finding:
“They could say what they’d accomplished, but they couldn’t necessarily say who they were,” said Ms. Lythcott-Haims, Dean of Freshman at Stanford.
Penn State – Citing a “perception that one has to be perfect in every academic, cocurricular and social endeavor,” the task force report described how students feel enormous pressure that “can manifest as demoralization, alienation or conditions like anxiety or depression.”
Where the faulty comparisons [between students] become dangerous is when a student already carries feelings of shame, according to Dr. Anthony L. Rostain, a pediatric psychiatrist on Penn’s faculty who was co-chairman of the task force on student psychological health and welfare. “Shame is the sense one has of being defective or, said another way, not good enough,” Dr. Rostain said. “It isn’t that one isn’t doing well. It’s that ‘I am no good.’” Instead of thinking “I failed at something, these students think, ‘I am a failure.’”
There’s that “shame” word again that I wrote about yesterday.
What I see here is an “identity” issue. As the Dean of Freshman said, we don’t know who we are. No wonder we’re anxious.
Getting involved in Greek-life, campus clubs or sports, even joining Christian organizations and going to church won’t save you. These are not bad things, but you cannot build a lasting identity on any of these.
And if you haven’t made the connection yet, this isn’t just about students, it’s about all of us. We can all have an identity crisis. We can all attempt to find our identity in things that just won’t last.
Today’s Good News is there is a way for us to know who we really are, what I call “the true you”. If God created you, then He knows you – better than you know yourself. And here are a few things He says about who we are when we allow Him to transform us:
- Saints – look who the Apostle Paul addresses all but one of his letters to in the New Testament
- Without blemish
- Adopted children of the King
- Heirs to all God possess
- Redeemed – bought back by a loving Father
- Reconciled – made right in our relationship to God
- Made holy
- Unable to be separated from the Father’s love, no matter what we do or don’t do
- God’s masterpiece
- Known by God
- A treasure
- Fearfully and wonderfully made
- There are more…
If you’re like me, your first thought is I don’t recognize much or any of this in me. See! There’s the issue – we don’t know who we are.
If we have believed in Jesus, all of this – 100% of it – is true about us…whether we recognize it or not. The problem is if we don’t recognize it we won’t live in it. And if we don’t live in it then when we fail, we’ll likely start living with an “I’m a failure” label, when that simply is not true.
You may need to do what I’ve done – I’ve written my true identity, based on who I am in Christ (all the things I’ve listed above and more) on sticky notes and put them on the bathroom mirror. We all forget who we really are and need a daily reminder.
You are who your Creator declares you are, and that’s Good News!
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