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When You Try Your Best But You Don't Succeed

You know the feeling (or at least you know the Coldplay song). You know what I’m talking about. You tried. You prayed. You planned. You showed up. You legitimately thought you were doing your best….. and you came up short.

Go ahead and cuddle up with your phone and let’s camp out here together for a second.


So I have meant to sit down and blog about this for a solid month now and just never got around to it for one reason or another. Now I know why.

Before we go any further, let me take you back to about a month ago. It was the end of June. You need to know that in the Mary Kay world, the end of June is not JUST the end of June. It is the end of our fiscal year. In our pink bubble, it means it’s the time where every boss babe is wrapping up her year with an exclamation point. She’s probably working on earning a new car, a diamond ring, a new position on the career path or a trip. If you aren’t in Mary Kay this probably doesn’t mean anything to you so just go ahead and take my word for it when I tell you it’s exciting, emotional, a huge-flipping-deal, and 100% broadcasted for everyone on Facebook. If you are in Mary Kay then you already know where I’m going with this when I said, “it was the end of June.”

Where was I? Oh yeah. June. To make a long blog post short…when June 30th came and went, I severely missed my goal. I’m talking missing it by like $75,000 in sales. It meant that I wouldn’t be with my best friend on the annual Top Sales Director Trip…this year to Alaska. To make matters worse, I’ve earned the coveted trip before (to London in 2015). So to miss it when everyone else earned it was a little painful. Not because I wasn’t happy for them, because I am! It’s painful because of the thoughts that come after you come to terms with the fact that you missed it. Thoughts like:

“Omg. What will everyone think when they notice I didn’t earn it this year?!”

“Will they think I was a flash in the pan?”

“OMG WHAT IF I AM A FLASH IN THE PAN. My glory days are over. I’m 25. HALP ME.”

“Okay okay no that’s not true it’s fine Jamie calm down.”

“Crap. They are going on a freakin’ Alaskan cruise without me. This is stupid.”

“Just imagine the Instagrams they are going to get.”

“This is embarrassing.”

“Will people respect me anymore?”

“If only I had worked harder.”

“No, I LEGIT worked hard. Do I just suck?”

“I’ve lost my edge.”

“That one time I earned the trip must have been a complete fluke”

“Whatever it’s fine. Don’t be a drama queen. Get over it.”

Listen. I know very very very few of you reading this have ever been a Mary Kay Top Sales Director who then missed the Mary Kay Top Sales Director trip and I understand this is highly unrelatable so far. Just hang with me.

In my book, I failed. Pathetically, publicly failed.I felt like the kid who came in last when they made you run the mile in P.E. class. Like OMG Jamie "ran" the mile in 16 minutes lolololol. I'm kinda kidding but not really. In my mind it felt that bad. I’m sure most people didn’t care or even notice. But in my world, it completely sucked.

I did what most of you would do. I cried about it for about 10 minutes and then I put on my big girl panties and decided that everything would be okay and something so trivial would never define me. I decided to celebrate my year. I decided to be proud of how far I did come and how much I did accomplish. I decided to be happy for my friends that earned it. I decided to move on. And I decided I could write a great feel-good blog post about missing-your-goals-but-you’re-fine-girl-just-keep-going or something like that.

That's what grown-ups do, right? They suck it up! They pretend the pain isn't there. They just grin and bear it.

But 3 weeks later, I found myself in a beautiful ball gown in Dallas, Texas. Behind stage. Getting ready to walk across the stage for my “accomplishments”. Lined up in the order of my ranking for the year. Wearing a pink sash. Holding a pink rose and a jewelry box with my name on it. Silently wiping the tears that were streaming down my perfectly made-up face.

Why? It’s simple. Silly. But simple.

My sash was not green. Top directors sat in a happy huddle, chit-chatting joyously and nonchalantly…. in green sashes. At the back of the line…. because they were on top. And I was not one of them. I was in the front of the line in a pink sash. And my heart broke. And in the moment that the first tear splashed on my beaded gown, I realized I was not “over it”.

I wonder what your green sash moment would be. What is hidden deep down that you pretend doesn’t bother you? Who do you put on the façade for?

Ready for Chapter 2 of my failure diaries? FABULOUS. Let’s continue.

I got home from Dallas ready for a fresh start. I was filled with excitement and eagerness. It was the end of July.

All of the Mary Kay girls are now officially confused because nothing happens at the end of July. But again, month-end greeted me with a fresh new delivery of failures. And this time, they were not merely based on sash colors.

That week it seemed that everywhere I turned someone was there to tell me how bad I suck. LOL NOT KIDDING GUYS. No seriously. Like real life people were mad at me. Let down. Disappointed. Unforgiving. Bitter. Disapproving. Hurt. It seemed to me that in every way humanly possible, I had missed the mark.

Not good enough. Not smart enough. Not loving enough. Not giving enough. Not “there” enough. Not thoughtful enough.

On top of…ya know…missing all my freaking goals at once.

I’ll be honest, guys. I can handle a missed trip to Alaska. I’ll just cry a couple of times and move on. But when I felt unloved, I had my hand on the door half-ready to walk away. I couldn’t deal. Because if I’m failing at being a decent a human being then there’s not a lot of hope for me. I can’t lead people. I can’t make something of myself.

But God.

God. In His soft, quiet, loving voice spoke to my heart and dealt with the “failure” monster once and for all.

Truthfully I am NOT smart enough, good enough, selfless enough, kind enough, talented enough. I will come up short every.single.time.

God reminded me that while that’s true, it’s also okay because He dealt with it on the cross. I don’t have to be good enough. As a matter of fact, the more I strive to do it all in my own strength, the more of a mess I make. The fact of the matter is that my very best is nothing but filthy rags compared to Him (Isaiah 64:6). And at the end of the day, I have an audience of One. When I'm weak, then I'm really, actually strong. Because then it doesnt have to be about me anymore. It's up to Him at that point.

I am allowed to change or be molded. I am allowed to fall down. I am allowed to get it wrong. I am allowed to learn from it and get it right. And so are you.

At the end of it all, there are two kinds of failures in my book.

There’s the kind where you try really hard and your circumstances don’t come together like you’d hope they would. Kinda like when you miss the Top Director Trip, get let-go from a job, cause a fender-bender, or get dumped by someone who doesn't love you the same way. In those moments, trust that God has a bigger picture in mind. He tells us in His word that His ways are higher than ours. Just be still and know it.

Then there’s the kind of failure where you let yourself down. Those are a bit more painful. My mom always says the worst pain in the world is the pain of regret. The pain you caused yourself. Like being a less than loving wife, being rude to the waitress, snapping at your dad, forgetting your best friend's birthday, cheating, gossiping or saying something you wish you could take back. And in those moments, trust that you are completely forgiven, completely loved, completely whole, and completely human. God will meet you at your deepest regrets and will heal them if you let Him.

Finally, know that none of us will arrive at the end of our life without a multitude of failures under our belt. So we can choose to learn from them and grow. Or we can repeat them over and over again. Like picking at a scab, we can let it heal or we can make it worse.

So I’ll leave ya with this.

When I was a little girl, my mom had this poem by Corrie Ten Boom framed and it sat on our piano. I loved it. I memorized it. But I didn’t think anyone knew it. However, my mom recently moved from our childhood home and when she came over to drop off a box of my things, the framed poem was on top. She knew I loved it and today it sits on my mantle.

My life is but a weaving Between my God and me. I cannot choose the colors He weaveth steadily. Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow; And I in foolish pride Forget He sees the upper And I the underside. Not ’til the loom is silent And the shuttles cease to fly Will God unroll the canvas And reveal the reason why. The dark threads are as needful In the weaver’s skillful hand As the threads of gold and silver In the pattern He has planned He knows, He loves, He cares; Nothing this truth can dim. He gives the very best to those Who leave the choice to Him.

So girls. Just when you think He ran out of gold thread for your life, remember the dark threads are just as important in this life you will live. It will have sadness and failures but it makes for a more beautiful story. Join me in learning to praise Him for celebrations as well as the failures. Maybe that dark thread was just the thing He needed to bring more glory to His name and to bring more growth (aka beauty) to your life. Embrace all that beautiful failure.



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