What do you do when you mess up? I’m not talking about spilling your milk. I am referring to those punch you in the gut mistakes. Those failures that messes with your heart and mind until you are fully convinced that you are never going to break free from the entanglement of your greatest weakness.
My favourite place to hang out whenever I stumbled was the pit of despair. I got pretty comfy in there. The walls of my pit were lined with posters of my epic fails. I would look at them. Study them intensely. Each poster would be a reminder that I did not have what it takes to live in freedom. To live as the person I was created to be. To walk in my true identity and purpose.
We all know that getting untangled and walking in freedom is a process, right? So why is it so easy to beat ourselves up over the times when we miss the mark?
This happened to me quite recently as I published my book, Untangled. I had just written about discovering my identity and freedom from the bondage of food and body image issues and here I was completely stuck in the same old habits and thought patterns. I tried to put the blame on the lockdowns and sitting behind my laptop for hours, writing, but deep down I knew that I had missed it: BIG TIME!
How can you write about freedom and be so bound, Meliza?
What gives you the right to preach about identity when you are such a mess?
How dare you share your story – it’s only giving people false hope!
These were the thoughts that was swirling around in my mind as I sat in my pit, staring at the new poster I had just added to an array of epic fails. And to be honest, it was getting pretty dark in there.
One morning, I saw a ray of light come through from the top of the pit and I decided to quickly grab a hold of it. A friend from across the pond reached out and asked me how I was doing and it made me stop and really think about her question. How am I doing? Not good! was the answer. But now my eyes were off the posters on my wall for just a second and I suddenly realised where I was. I recognised that pit and I remembered that there was a different place I could go!
I discovered this place as I studied the life of Peter (Simon Peter, the disciple of Jesus). Peter loved Jesus, but he wasn’t perfect and had to be corrected several times. However, I wonder how he felt watching the one he pledged his very own life to, die on the cross. The sheer awfulness of his betrayal must have left a bitter taste in his mouth. I often wonder how Peter must have felt as he went back to his fishing boat. Did he expect to see Jesus waiting for him on the shore? (John 21)
Jesus found Peter in the same place, doing the same thing. That thing that wasn’t producing any fruit. Peter fished all night and caught nothing! (Sound familiar? Read Luke 5). In both scenarios Jesus appeared and everything changed. Peter went from hiding in shame (Luke 5) to running towards Jesus, embracing the one he disappointed (John 21). And Jesus is ready, he has prepared the fire and they are about to have some breakfast on the beach.
It is over breakfast that Peter is restored in his true identity and purpose. In the very place where he was first called.
As I saw that ray of light shining into my pit of despair I realised I had somewhere else to be! Why hide in my pit of shame when I have an invitation to breakfast with Jesus? So I got out of there as fast as I could and ran to the shore where Jesus stood waiting; with fire and sustenance. He helped me. With compassion and kindness. And you know what? I am restored! He reminded me of who I am. He gave me simple instructions for walking in freedom and for the first time in a long time, it is working. And it is fun!
Beautiful friend, there is a different place to go when you mess up. When you feel deflated, discouraged or disappointed. Especially when those feelings are targeted at your very own heart. Jesus is waiting for you to step out of your pit of despair and join him for breakfast. He has prepared the fire and He wants to restore you. He wants to look deep into your eyes and tell you who you truly are and who you were created to be. He wants to establish you for the purpose that you were always meant to walk in.
So, will you accept the invitation?
If you’re struggling with those feelings of despair then I have something for you. Here is a little clip from my course, How to be EPIC at failing. It is a powerful Word I received from the Lord as I interceded for the participants of the course. As you listen to it, close your eyes and see yourself walk out of the pit of despair and towards Jesus who is waiting for you.
The fire is ready.
Jesus is wating.
Breakfast is served.