Do You Define Yourself by Your Weakness?


Melinda Means shares how she overcomes the feeling that God is disappointed with her.

“Where are my favorite chips?” asks my child who’s frantically rummaging through the grocery bags before I’ve even made it through the door.

“You forgot them?! All this time I was just dying for you to get home so I could eat them!

A flogging is definitely in order.

Never mind that I thoughtfully made a lengthy grocery list — taking inventory of necessities and family favorites that we’re running out of.

Let’s forget that I did take the time to ask my husband and children if they want anything specific or out-of the ordinary.

Before I left the house, I prepared myself mentally and asked for the Holy Spirit’s strength as I navigated the aisles of Walmart.

Facing Walmart alone should qualify me for sainthood, right?

But does anyone acknowledge these acts of mothering thoughtfulness and responsibility?

Nooooooo. The only spotlight is the ONE thing I forgot. The one way I messed up.

But my children aren’t the only ones who do this to me.

I do this to myself. Way. too. often.

God made me with some unique gifts and qualities that make me a pretty good mom in many ways. 

I’m loyal and conscientious.

I’m affectionate and loving.

I’m a good communicator.  

I genuinely enjoy doing things for others. 

The fact is, like you, I do many things well in my parenting. 

But then I lose my temper in the morning because I’m not very good at remaining calm under stress.

Or, I realize that my people-pleasing tendencies have led to me giving my kids too much freedom in certain areas.

I walk into my kids’ rooms and despair that my poor organization skills (aka messiness) have trickled down to them.

And suddenly, I’m not just a flawed mother — I’m a screw-up. Completely defined by my shortcomings.

I know it’s irrational. Whispers of the enemy trying to condemn and paralyze me.

But I realized recently why I can be so susceptible to those voices. 

For longer than I can remember, I’ve lived with a nagging sense that God is displeased with me.

Well, why wouldn’t He be, right? I am always falling short. I could always be doing more. I should always be better than I am. I can easily fall into the trap that God defines me by my performance — by what I’m not doing.

I’m only as good as the bag of chips I bring home on any given day.

That feeling – that lie — puts up an invisible but very real barrier between me and God. It keeps me from being able to approach Him boldly. It puts a limit on our closeness. It keeps me just a bit disengaged. It’s hard to communicate freely with God if you feel He’s chronically disappointed with you.

Have you ever felt this way too? I’ll share with you a few things that I’m doing to help me overcome this:

I’m acting against my feelings. Feelings can be so overwhelming sometimes that they erase all traces of reality. When I feel I’m weak and falling short, I want to hide from God. Keep Him at arm’s length. But I don’t have to give in to that feeling. I am asking for the Holy Spirit’s help to continue to pray and spend time in the Word even when I feel like I’m failing Him and that my weakness is all He sees. And every time I draw closer, He is faithful to give me sweet reminders of His real and personal love for me.

I’m thinking about my feelings toward my own children. My kids are like their mom. They’re not perfect. (I’m so glad for that. Really.) And even though they mess up, I love them like crazy. I delight in them. I don’t define them by their weaknesses. I’m not chronically disappointed in them. And I’m human. Mere dust. Why should I believe that the God of the Universe — who sent His only Son to die for me — wouldn’t love and delight in His children infinitely more than I ever could?!

I’m welcoming conviction and rejecting condemnation. Condemnation paralyzes. It makes me feel like I’m worthless and can’t do anything right. Conviction from the Holy Spirit makes me feel truly sorry. And it motivates me to want to be better. Not because I need to “measure up,” but because I want to obey the God who delights in me.

Yes, I’m weak. But that doesn’t change how God sees me.

I serve a gracious God who happens to think I’m all that — and a bag of chips. 

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