Do you believe?

I have failed many times. Still do. 

In fact, I may be in the middle of one of the biggest failures of my life. And what am I facing? A lack of belief that I can succeed. What I’m doing I believe (today anyway) is what God has called me to do. But it doesn’t appear to be working. 

I can’t help thinking about the scene from The Empire Strikes Back (1980) when Yoda is teaching Luke how to use the Force and suggests he use it to raise the X-wing out of the bog where it has crashed. Luke sighs and says he’ll, “give it a try.” 

To which Yoda says:

“No. Try not. Do … or do not. There is no try.” 

 So Luke makes the attempt—and he fails, sinking the ship even further into the swamp. As he wanders off to sulk in his failure (you ever do that?), he accuses Yoda of asking the impossible. 

Then Yoda uses the Force himself to raise the ship. As Luke looks at the resurrected X-wing, he says to Yoda in amazement: “I don’t … I don’t believe it.” 

Yoda replies: “That is why you fail.” 

Why we fail

Is this ever you? Or is it just me? 

Why do we so often not believe in our ability to succeed, but subscribe strongly to the likelihood of our failure? Certainly it has something to do with the “tapes” that play in our minds, as author Lena Nelson Dooley says (see “Comparisons Equal Discouragement,” ACFW Journal, Winter 2012). 

But where do those tapes come from?

They come, Dooley suggests, from our past failures, from things we’ve said about ourselves, and from things other people have said about us. But where do those comments come from? 

Jesus tells us in The Gospel of John. In Chapter 8, he is debating with the Pharisees about Who He is and trying to get them to see the truth. But they refuse. Finally, he says to them:

Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! (John 8:43-45, NIV)

Because of our fallen nature, we are more prone to listen to the words of our enemy than the words of our Savior—Who will always speak truth. It has been so since the Garden of Eden.

Do you feel you’re failing at what God has called you to do? Who are you listening to? Who am I listening to? 

Who should we be listening to?

Michael Ehret loves to play with words and as editor of the ACFW Journal, he is enjoying his playground. He also plays with words as a freelance editor at WritingOnTheFineLine.com, where he often takes a writer Into The Edit, pulling back the veil on the editing process. He has edited several nonfiction books, played with words as a corporate communicator, and reported for The Indianapolis Star.