Coping Mechanism

“You couldn’t live with your own failure. Where did that bring you? Back to me.”

– [find your personal answer]

If this statement sounds familiar to you, you’re right! It’s a quote delivered by Thanos in Avengers: End Game. While this article has no relation with the movie, that statement gives us a question that we can ask ourselves whenever we come face to face with our downfalls.

Whenever you fail, where does it bring you? In other words, what do you usually do, when you try to process your mistakes and failures?

In the real world, we can’t turn back time. We may have an imaginary picture of what our current reality could look like. But we can’t change what we did. Minor or major, private or public, it left an impact on us that keeps us rethinking the event over and over again.

It’s so easy for us to say that we’ve moved on. But have we really?

Cause as we digest the events that took place, we can’t ignore our innate desire for justice (an inbuilt desire in all mankind, because we are made in God’s image). And our desire for justice will frustrate us because it’s easy to ‘boycott’ a bad guy, but what if we’re the ones who failed?

If the bad deserves punishment, and you were bad. What do you do?

Yes -you messed up! But there is a high chance that you were trying to achieve something good. People steal because something good caught their eye. People cheat because they want good grades. Peter cut off the ear of the high priest servant because he wanted to protect Jesus. Eve ate the fruit because she wanted to be like God.

“That wasn’t my intention!”
“Someone had to do something!”
“I didn’t know what else to do!”

Often times, we’ll find ourselves dwelling between the tension of unpacking the scene of sin, the what ifs and what could have been. And when we can’t comprehend our failure, it’s hard to live with ourselves. We suffer, when we stay in that state because where we’re at, is actually a crossroad.

And through reflection, we can discover our coping mechanism whenever we arrive at that crossroad.

Have you ever found yourself in any of the following categories?

1. You search for approval.
(You deny your problem, and you try to make people see things your way.)

You spend time explaining your situation, and you secretly hope that your friend will tell you that it’s okay. But to make sure they stand with you, you had to carefully frame your story too.

And if they don’t agree, they’re not “real friends”.

2. You write ‘victim’ on your forehead.
(Taking responsibility ain’t easy. So you try to avoid it. )

As a counselor once said, you are only a victim if you don’t realize the power you have as a decision maker. Upon realizing that, staying in that state is your conscious choice. Nonetheless, we’ll use the victim card when we play the blame game. Because as long as we stay focused on the faults of other people, we can feel a little less guilty about ourselves.

Gossiping ‘helps’ too. While we could be wrong, we could be right too, right?

3. You display your trophies.
(You cover up with a mask.)

Maybe if you’ve achieved enough titles, maybe if you try to showcase your talents, maybe if they praised you long enough, they won’t notice your shortcomings. Even if they do, hopefully, the good works can outshine the dirt.

You cheated, but you donated to charity, so you make sure that everyone is aware of your generosity as you subtly emphasize that you’re not rich.

4. You pull the handbrake.
(You isolate yourself, and you think that you don’t deserve anything good.)

You’re not interested in exploring anymore. You don’t think you’re talented enough, you’re afraid that you’ll destroy whatever you’re given. You’d encourage others to chase their dreams! But when you look in the mirror, you don’t like who you see.

What if the flowers you admire, wither when you touch them? What if the cheering crowd stops, whenever you show up?

Staying hidden, staying right where you are, feels safe.

5. You stock up your Morphine.
(You numb yourself, and you know what to do to stay that way.)

When the pain of guilt or betrayal gets too intense, it’s better not to feel at all. Relationships stay casual, without emotional involvement. Self-love becomes a pleasure galore. What happens in the dark, stays in the dark and it’s none of anyone’s business.

And if they dare to confront you, their judgmental-little-self is gonna get it from you.

These are some of our natural tendencies that seem harmless on the surface, but it’s more poisonous than you think.

Beneath these actions, are the feelings of condemnation, guilt and pride. And these are usually the enemy’s tools to keep you imprisoned, to keep you in the cycle of ‘finding comfort in a false sense of security‘ . The famous statement by Thanos could very well be the devil’s favorite quote whenever we allow our state of defeat to have control over us.

There is a wiser option available – you can turn to Jesus.

When you’re at the crossroad, there is a grace that is trying to get your attention. There is a kind of love that will melt you into repentance (Rom 2: 4). And by faith, it’s absolutely possible for your life to change forever.

Our God sent his only Son to die for all our transgressions so that we can be forgiven of our sins. Now that we can have a direct relationship with him, we can go to him as we are, with all our filth, because he can make us a new creation. (Rom 6: 17-23)

“You can live with your failure, because it isn’t final. It’s a stepping stone to an amazing future that God the Father has for you. I am the Teacher who will teach you the lessons from your mistake. I am the One who has taken your shame upon Myself, I am the One who can break the chains of your past.
I am the Word who will light up the path before you. I am the Great I Am, because I Am all that you need. I am the One who sees you for who you really are.
Don’t look away, where are your failures bringing you? Bring them to me. I love you. And I make all things work out for good for those who love me.

The enemy came to steal, kill and destroy, and sometimes he does so by leveraging on your weaknesses. But don’t you worry, the power of Christ is made perfect in your weakness! He will help you to cope through your problems, all you need to do is to allow Him.

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