Museum of Failures

I just got back from a road-trip. I would love to say it was a cross-country, super radical road trip finding myself and exploring the road, but truly it was just a minivan and impala driving from Cincinnati to Dallas for a football game—not exactly mind-breaking craziness.

As we drove through middle-America, we passed tons of signs for museums. I never was a huge museum kid; I love history and have continually been fascinated by previous wars and prominent figures, but never was super enthralled by walking around and looking at fossils. That was, until I realized that I have my own museum.

As I embark on a new year, I’ve been making a list of events that shaped and molded me in 2015. I have sat down with younger girls in hopes to pour into them and encourage them with anecdotes as they begin their college journey and have noticed that most of my anecdotes come from this list of moments. However, as I peruse them time and time again, trying to describe them in detail so I can remember and pray and learn, I notice there are a few moments that never breach the conversation. There are a couple bullet points that are never brought to the surface because shame or pain keeps them in.

Like Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas, I have a museum. I hold the key to my Museum of Failures. I have so believed that I am the keeper, the opener, the greeter, and the closer. I am working the refreshment stand and giving the tours so I can be exactly sure of what information is given to which groups and what information is privy. I have kept this museum locked because it is a historic and painful place for a prideful girl.

What I continually forget is that while I am the owner of my Museum of Failures—most of the moments are caused and captured by me—the land is not mine. Jesus owns the land I am on and while I feel like my museum is enclosed and quiet and secret, He is the foundation and ultimate Lord of what is in there.

What I continually forget is that we serve a Lord who injures and heals. I forget that while my museum is preserving my injuries of feeling inadequate and insecure, dreams that died and the loss of life, the land and my Lord hold the healing in every breath I inhale and every step I take. I forget that while I think I hold the key to my dim-light museum, the Lord crafted the key and made himself a duplicate.

Jesus was faithful in giving me what I wanted—fancy internships and fleeting friendships—and He was faithful to take them away. So praise Him who gives and takes. Praise the Lord who gives us our heart’s desires only for us to realize they aren’t what we truly want, and who takes away something we cling to only for us to realize He has something better. Our God doesn’t give us second best, so open the door to your Museum of Failures. Everything in that museum is there because something better—through pain, shame, and suffering—has been instilled in your life instead.

Leave your museum in the past because the Lord is welcoming you into His Kingdom in the future.

For He wounds, but He also binds up; He injures, but His hands also heal.
— Job 5:18