“Why Do I Keep Messing Up?!”

“Why Do I Keep Messing Up?!”

As believers in Jesus, we know God is good, and we really want to walk as children of light. But many of us are incredibly frustrated with ourselves because we keep failing.

“I know I’m supposed to be a good dad, but I keep yelling at my kids.”

“I don’t know why I can’t let my walls down with my husband. He’s a good man, and he is very kind to me. But something inside me can’t allow anybody, not even him, to be close to me.” 

“Why do I keep saying nasty things to other people? I want to love others, but I can’t seem to keep my mouth shut.”

Why do we have such trouble following Jesus? 

And what are we supposed to do with all this frustration because we keep messing up? A strong sense of failure can keep us trapped. 

The Root of the Struggle

Jesus taught that everyone has a “treasury” in their heart, and whatever is inside that treasury drives the person to react in certain ways.

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45 NKJV)

This treasury is made up of our past experiences, good and bad; our response to those experiences; and our unhealed hurts. Negative “treasure” is sin. Even in the healthiest of homes, we didn’t have perfect parents. They didn’t know how to love us in every single situation that came up, and there were times when our needs went unmet. Our sensitive heart reacted, and that reaction became part of our treasury.  

“This is what moms are like. They are unpredictable. Sometimes they are kind to me, and sometimes they get mad. I need to be very careful around moms.” 

“This is what dads are like. I need to prove myself first before they will accept me.”

Even if we had very good parents, none of us were perfect children! We still reacted in sinful ways from time to time, and those reactions are also stored in our treasury.

Today as adults, we could have “treasures” of rebellion, anger, bitterness, resentment, fear, lies about who we are, lies about who God is, lies about how He made relationships to work, etc. All those things push us to react in certain ways to our friends, spouse, colleagues, other drivers on the road, other shoppers at the store, fellow church members who annoy us, etc.

If we repeatedly find ourselves yelling at our kids, flying off the handle, not trusting other people, and so forth—that’s why. Something inside the treasury of our heart is pushing us to respond that way.

As believers who are sincerely trying to follow Jesus, there can be times when we just feel undone—because we are trying so hard, but we keep failing. 

What is the answer? 

What the Heart Needs

If we have junk in our treasury, we need to let Jesus and the Holy Spirit clean it out. The junk can be removed, and we can fill our treasury with the good things of Jesus instead.

The cleaning-out process is forgiveness: forgiving the people who hurt us, forgiving ourselves for reacting the way we did, and sometimes even forgiving God. Not because He sinned against us, but because our heart believes He did.    

A lot of people have a messy understanding of forgiveness. It doesn’t mean forgetting what happened, the way the world assumes. Nor does it mean pretending the bad thing never happened or excusing the offender for what they did. God is the God of justice—He will rectify the situation (Rom. 12:19). But first we need to allow the Holy Spirit to pull the unforgiveness out of our treasury.

The Power of the Cross to Set People Free 

The cross is the only thing that sets people free. It doesn’t matter how much we push and strive to become better or different people. Our own personal effort won’t get us anywhere in the end. What we need is the cross—what Jesus already did for us.

This is what the circle of forgiveness looks like:

  1. Forgive the person who caused the pain in your heart.
  2. Ask God to forgive you for how you reacted to the sin committed against you.
  3. Forgive yourself for anything you held over yourself. 

Like any excavation project, cleaning out a treasury is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight, and that’s okay. God is not in a hurry with you—with one notable exception. The love of God doesn’t hesitate when sin and shortcomings are exposed. He wants you to encounter His deep love as quickly as possible:

So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. (Luke 15:20 NLT)

If you feel like a failure, let your heart be at rest today. Better days are ahead. God is leading you into the glory of a healed heart, and you will get to “seed” your treasury with His goodness.

If you feel like it is time to pursue heart healing at a deeper level, check out Course 201: Heart Healing Essentials. We get amazing testimonies from people who have taken this course! Click here to learn more.


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