Hope When You Fall Short

Limitless by Holley Gerth

As I stood in front of endless arrays of eye shadows, lipsticks and intimidating loveliness I felt like I’d entered another world. My patient but now toe-tapping husband brought me back to reality. I took one last look at the display, grabbed what I needed and headed for the check-out stand.

Back home I stood in front of the mirror and tried my new beauty find. Um, nope. Not going to work. We were already running a bit late for church so I rushed out the door with it on anyway. And I have to admit I sighed a bit on the inside.

There’s nothing like praise music to bring your perspective back in line. And as I stood in our sanctuary, I whispered to God, “What is going on here? How can make-up even make it onto the list of things that bug me?” And in that moment my heart realized—it wasn’t about the make-up. It was about feeling I had fallen short of some ideal I had in my mind. Some vague idea about what it means to really be a woman.

Apparently, I had some ridiculous rule inside that went something like this: Real women must know how to pick the correct shade of lipstick the first time. Ha! Who knows how or why or when I made this up.

This is an ongoing struggle I have in my life: There’s an ideal I feel I need to meet and I fall short of it. Then I feel guilty and disappointed in myself. Yep, I have these ideals for pretty much every area of my life: woman, writer, friend, daughter, wife, worker. {Please tell me I’m not the only one.}

Does God put this on me? No, ma’am. It’s all me with a capital “M.” Perhaps it comes with the territory of being an idealist and a dreamer. What I can envision and what I can turn into reality are always two very different things. And I’m learning that’s okay. It simply means I’m human. Missing my ideals is not a sin.

Romans 3:23 tells us, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Sin is direct rebellion against God. Falling short is when we try hard with good intentions but we just don’t quite reach the ideal. We get ourselves in trouble when we confuse falling short with sin. Because then we beat ourselves up, tear ourselves down and feel guilty {actually, those aren’t the responses God wants to sin either—but that’s for another post}. Then we often start holding back because the only way not to fall short is not to try.

Friend, this side of heaven we will make bazillions of mistakes. We will pick the wrong lipstick. We’ll burn the toast. We’ll run the stoplight. We’ll forget the birthday. We’ll put the pink shirt in with the white laundry.

In other words, we’ll be human.

In those moments we have two choices: We can berate ourselves for not being God. Or we can let those moments remind us we are not him. The first leads to condemnation. The second leads to praise. You can guess which one he’d rather have us choose. We are loved even when we fall short. And God wants to use us anyway. Our limitations cannot stop a limitless God.

The next morning I tried on my new make-up again and decided it worked just fine after all.

It’s funny how different things can be when you look at them in a new light.


Holley Gerth

About Holley

About Holley

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author and Life Coach

I like humans, words, and good coffee. And I’d love to help you beat what’s holding you back, become all you’re created to be, and kick butt for the greater good.

Cheering you on,


Never Miss a Thing

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