You Are More

Have you ever felt like you failed at something, and it left you utterly crushed? I certainly have. And because of a false mindset it left me crushed for a very long time.

This week I’ve been reading Switch by the Heath brothers as a school assignment. In the seventh chapter I came across this passage that intrigued me.

Read the following four sentences, and write down whether you agree or disagree with each of them.

1. You are a certain kind of person, and there is not much that can be done to really change that.

2. No matter what kind of person you are, you can always change substantially.

3. You can do things differently, but the important parts of who you are can’t really be changed.

4. You can always change basic things about the kind of person you are.

If you agreed with items 1 and 3, you’re someone who has a “fixed mindset.” And if you agreed with items 2 and 4, you tend to have a “growth mindset.” (If you agreed with both 1 and 2, you’re confused.”) (Heath 163)

I knew that I agreed with item 3, and probably 1, though I was unwilling to admit it to myself. I kept reading, and all was well and good until I came across this line.

If you are someone with a fixed mindset, you tend to avoid challenges, because if you fail, you fear that others will see your failure as an indication of your true ability and see you as a loser. (Heath 163)

I felt like crying. This one line epitomized what I’ve been experiencing since my last tournament in high school speech and debate. That last tournament was an unparalleled disaster, going from winning records in debate at every tournament, only to win one out of six rounds Regionals. It was a devastating blow, and I took that failure onto myself as my identity, effectively crippling me for the next three years. It was my last chance to prove myself, and I’d failed. It didn’t help that my partner went on to get first place at the first tournament the following year with a new partner who’d only debated for one year previously. I was consumed with thoughts that I had been holding him back from success the last two years.

But this passage from Switch revealed to me the lie I’d been telling myself for so long. My failures don’t define me. In fact, used correctly they instead shape and grow me. What I need instead of a fixed mindset is a growth mindset. This allows me to see my brain and my abilities as muscles, with challenges as the means of strengthening those muscles. I will be able to accept criticism, because I know it will help me improve.

This reminded me of the passage in Romans.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Reformation Study Bible, Romans 8.29)

God did not create me to be stagnant. He created me to grow more and more into His likeness.

This train of thought put the song “You Are More” by Tenth Avenue North into a new perspective for me as well. I am more than my mistakes and my failures. Why?

‘Cause this is not about what you’ve done
But what’s been done for you
This is not about where you’ve been
But where your brokenness brings you to

This is not about what you feel
But what He felt to forgive you
And what He felt to make you loved

In the end, it’s truly not about me and what I’ve done. It’s all about God.

Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant. (2 Cor. 3.5, 6a)

Thus, with a correct mindset that God will continually grow me into the person He created me to be for His glory, I no longer have to be crippled by my past failures. Instead, I can learn from them and take those lessons into my future adventures.

And only with this mindset can I reach the full potential for which God designed me.

Works Cited

Heath, Chip and Dan. Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. New York:

Broadway Books, 2010. Print.

Tenth Avenue North. You Are More. The Light Meets the Dark. Provident, 2010. MP3.

The Reformation Study Bible. English Standard Version. Ed. R.C. Sproul. Orlando. Ligonier

Ministries. 2005. Print.