What to Do When You Feel You are Failing at This Thing Called Life

8:47 PMHeather

This was the question asked by a friend this week.

What do you do when you feel you are failing at this thing called life?

Oh, yes. It's a feeling I think many of us can relate to along the way. At the bottom of the barrel. Drained. Living on the edge. Of tears. Of throwing in the towel. 

When all your efforts seem to fall way short.


Mommy fails.

Such as my season of post-partum depression. A brutal season where just getting out of bed seemed like too much some days. And my darkness spiraled into a place where I was too angry to even speak to God. So others did that for me.

Or the months I spent battling through my third pregnancy, and my two boys were being raised by the television. Or each other. Or anyone else who dared to show up in my home who might offer to help. 

Marriage fails.

Like the last sixteen years when I've been so distracted being a mom that I'm not sure I've done justice to my role as a wife.

Household fails. 

When the laundry piles up and the dishes and the tasks and the bills and I sleep walk through the day feeling as if I can never keep up with the demands. 

It might be a big thing that tips the scales toward "failure" or it might simply be the last tiny thing that is the straw that broke the camel's back.

Whatever it might be, I think so many of us can relate to this question.

What do you do when you feel that you are failing at this thing called life?

Here was my response. My genuine, authentic response. Because that is what she needed to hear. That was what I think you might need to hear.

" I generally have a huge melt down & am unpleasant to my hubs & kids...retreat to my bed... Watch a show or read... Get a grip, realize I need to get over myself... Then remember that time in the Word, listening to worship music & remembering his truths & faithfulness will feed my faith & starve my fears...."


Oh, yes, bloggy friends. That's my sage wisdom.

It's just the unfortunate truth. I may be over 40, and you'd think I'd know better by now.

And I do. I really do KNOW better by now. But sometimes what you know doesn't feel as though it has enough umph or power to shake how you feel. Because we are emotional beings.

Even though God clearly warns us that the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9).

Oh, sure, we might know that.

But sometimes, when things are unraveling and we are tired and worn and feel like we are failing time and again...our emotions can easily trump logic.

Bless. My poor family knows this well.

Because it basically goes like I said. 

I have a melt down and tend to be unpleasant or impatient with my long suffering husband and my kids. I am a MASTER at winding myself up. Taking the little worry or concern or offense from someone. And whip it up into a frenzy, by replaying it and rehashing it and obsessing over it. Over and over and over. 

Listen, if there was a Ph.D in borrowing trouble and letting emotions dictate the day, I'd have earned it long ago.

Feeling like a failure?

Oh, yes. I've been there. Again and again and again. 

And I do totally melt down, and then when it's really bad, I'm just retreating to my room as quickly as possible, climbing into my comfy bed and burying myself in the escape of a television show or a book. 

Eventually, I get a grip. I see myself, like an out of body experience, and I know that I am just letting my emotions win. I know I am listening to the accuser and I am letting it all get the best of me.

I know I need to get over myself.

I know if I just get into the Word and think of the promises and look up verses related to my issue-- worry or anger or feeling offended... then I can use those truths to tie a knot at the end of my rope.

If I only turn on some uplifting music and let it reach into the broken and hurting places... then I can turn the tide and get some traction.

If I only take time to pray. To write long letters to God in my prayer journal. Or sit with a pen and blank page and write down what comes to mind--what I feel he is saying to me. 

If only I take time to remember. To remember the wonders and the faithfulness and the battles won and the progress made--no matter how small.

Then, maybe...just maybe... my faith is fed. Even the tiniest bit. And in so doing, I can starve my fears.

My fears that I'm getting it all wrong.

My fears that I've missed the mark.

My fears that things will never turn around.

My fears of failure. 

There, when I dare to feed my faith -- even the tiniest incremental bit -- there, a little pin prick of hope bursts through the darkness.

And it's a start.

It's might be all I can muster. 

But beating back the dark cloud of failure begins with one tiny little step forward, into the hope offered by a faith that says this:

No, I cannot do it right. Yes, I get things wrong. And I fall short, over and over and over again.

It's why I needed a Savior.

It's the very thing that prompted the miracle of the gospel story.

Our deepest need. Our filthiest sin. Our lack and want and inability.

It's where and why heaven dared to entered earth.

It's where and why Jesus is still doing it today.

Showing up when we we feel we are failing at this thing called life.

And saying--I am your enough. In your weakness, I am sufficient.

Expect it.

Wait for it.

Know it to the depths of your being.

We may fail and fall.

But He never does.

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