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Discipleship, Small Group Leaders

When You Feel Like a Discipleship Failure

A Note from Mary Margaret West: I love the heart behind Brooke’s post today. If you’re anything like me, you’ll quickly find yourself fitting in this category. My prayer is that you would be encouraged today and be courageous enough to begin again.

Sometimes we have the best of intentions and life just gets in the way. Sometimes we start something and somewhere along the way it fizzles and dies. Sometimes we have days where we can barely get our hair brushed and a frozen pizza tossed in the oven for dinner. Can I get an amen?

Have you ever felt this way in your discipleship relationships? I have. Maybe a younger girl has sought you out to disciple her or maybe you are the one who initiated. Maybe you lead a small group or help out at church. Maybe you have a niece, daughter, granddaughter, or neighbor that you want to try and invest in.

You have the greatest desire and plans to be intentional, check in, pray together, etc. and then life happens. You failed to call, you cancelled a get together, you forgot to show up, and now you feel like a massive failure. These girls were counting on you and you let them down. Cue the shame, cue the guilt, cue the inadequacy card.

In these moments, the devil has gotten exactly what he wants. He wants you to believe his lies that you aren’t cut out to pour into someone else when you can barely get your own life together. He wants you to be embarrassed and give up all together on your discipleship pursuits. He wants you to feel ashamed and try to cover it up with a façade of perfection.

But isn’t that what this whole discipleship thing is about? One broken, sinful, person teaching another broken, sinful, person where we put our hope. We teach these girls that we are absolutely nothing without Jesus. We teach them that we live in a fallen world, with fallen people who will continually fail us, but Jesus is the only one who is always faithful.

We invite them into our mess and failure and show them how desperate we are for God’s sustaining grace. They don’t need to see another woman who looks like they have their life totally together. They need to see what it looks like for a busy, broken woman to walk out their day to day through the lens of the gospel. They need to see that we will fail, but we can humbly repent, get up, and start again…all by the power and mercy of Jesus.

So friend, if you are feeling like a discipleship failure today, take heart. God can and will still use you despite your shortcomings. Wasn’t it Paul that boasted about his weaknesses because that was when God’s strength was the most apparent through him (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)?

Don’t be afraid to call that girl, admit your failure, and ask for forgiveness. In humility, ask the Lord to be your strength, knowing that we can do no good thing apart from him! We know that when we ask according to his will, he hears us (1 John 5:14). Admit your weakness, fall into the arms of The One who is our strength, and let HIM do the work through you for HIS glory.

Keep pressing on, sister. For when we are weak, then we are strong.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Brooke Wilson currently resides in Oklahoma with her husband, Braden. Together they are on the journey to Braden becoming a physician. Brooke currently works at a small private school and coaches high school soccer. They are expecting their first little one come March 2019, and she will soon be operating as a full time stay-at-home mommy and helper to her husband. Some of Brooke’s passions include: home, discipleship, women’s ministry, and finding the Lord’s glory woven into every single detail of our lives. If she isn’t stuck in a good book, watching a Dallas Cowboys football game, or enjoying time outside, you can probably find her writing over on her blog:

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