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Between Failure and Fraud

Mark Labberton writes in Leadership journal:

In a very difficult season when finances were tight, I was driving a dilapidated car that had been donated to the church. It had lots of problems, including a ceiling lining that drooped down and grazed my head every time the broken shock absorbers launched me from the seat toward the roof. The car began to speak to me. It said, "Failure." Why couldn't I get my life together? I was getting older every year, I had a family, this car was humiliating, and I felt like a failure.

This continued for months until the day I took the car to the airport to pick up my nieces. It was a very hot day, the air-conditioning in the car didn't work (surprise), so all four windows were down. Only later did I realize vinyl flakes from the sun-scorched dashboard were being blown into the backseat and covering my sweet nieces.

That day, still without the funds to buy a second car, we leased a new car. It was wonderful! No flakes, no droopy ceiling lining, no broken shocks. I was thrilled until the day this car also began to talk. Its message was also just one word: "Fraud." I was no more put together, no more successful with this new car than with the scuzzy borrowed one. It just looked better. I was a fake.

My life swings between voices calling "failure" and "fraud." The key is not listening to either. I'm not as bad as my critics accuse me of being, but I'm not as good as I've led some to believe. And right there, in the truth somewhere in between, is where we hear the voice of God. He still says to me, and to everyone called to follow Jesus, "I want you and I will use you."

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