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Struggling with failure

Have I told you I am a perfectionist?  It’s true, I am.  So I deal quite frequently with something the world calls “failure.”  Failure means I did not achieve what I set out to achieve. When you are a perfectionist, you aim pretty high and the mark is really easy to miss.  But I just keep pushing myself to do more and to do it better.

So when I tell you I struggle with failure, I need to qualify that I received 81% on a midwifery test last week, and I was devastated. Really, it sent me into full out panic as I sat outside the classroom with the other students because I knew I was not familiar enough with the material to do well. You see, I define well as 95% or above.

A few of you agree with me, but most of you are probably laughing that I cannot see the truth.  I know the truth, but it doesn’t feel like the truth. I wanted to share this example with you because we all have areas like this in our lives.  Areas where we know God has promised us something good but we just can not feel anything good coming from the situation. We all have areas that others don’t agree should be a struggle.

If you are early in pregnancy you may feel this way. It is hard to see beyond morning sickness and falling asleep in the afternoon. If your labor didn’t work out the way you anticipated it would you may feel this way. If you set unreachable standards for yourself as a parent you may feel this way. How can you be of any value if you keep failing?

I would never try to tell anyone that bad things are not bad.  I would never try to talk someone out of the pain and hurt they feel. But what I do want you to remember and know with your head even if you heart cannot feel it is that God is still in control, and in time he can heal you through this as well.

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the BirthingNaturally.net website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas and childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student in a nursing program learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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