Am I a Failure Because I Failed?


I have an admission to make: I failed geography in the 9th grade. I could make excuses. My parents had just gone through a grueling divorce. We had moved across the country to yet another new school. My teacher spoke with such a strong accent that I could barely understand what he said. However, if I am brutally honest, the failure was all mine to own, regardless of the circumstances. I am terrible at geography. Whenever I watch the opening ceremonies for the Olympics, there are at least a few countries that I could not locate on a blank map if my life depended on it. (Some countries I think they just invent in order to make people like me feel stupid.) I can follow a map better than most, but not in context: Are we driving north to get to our destination? I have no idea. I’m just following the little purple line on the GPS.

Back to my failed geography class… The class project was to research a country of our choosing. I chose France since I would rather be there than in my geography class. The deadline ticked closer and reminders to finish up our research increased. Presentations began. Students brought in colorful handmade posters, brochures for fun things to do in their chosen country, and occasional food samplings as they droned on about what their research uncovered. Then it was my turn. “Umm, I don’t have my project.” I had done nothing–no research, no notecards, no poster, no food. It was no wonder that I failed the project. I also failed the class, which I had not counted on. Oops.

The next year I repeated geography class. This time I completed the project. This time I researched France. This time I created a poster I presented to the class while I droned on about what my research had uncovered about France. My geography skills did not improve with the second time around in the class, but at least I passed.

Even though I am still terrible at geography, I don’t have to wallow in self-pity. I can have confidence in spite of my failure.

“My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises!” Psalm 57:7

Even when I fail, I don’t have to be a failure. My confidence does not depend on my talents. My confidence does not depend on my intelligence. My confidence does not depend on my past or my proposed future. My confidence depends solely on God. He is everything and He loves me! No wonder I can sing His praises!

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