Yesterday, I had a bad day. A lot of things went wrong and I feel down. I’m struggling with all the junk that I tell myself when all I want to do is sit and cry.
Are you up for some real talk right now?
Yesterday I realized that I’m struggling with feelings of failure.
I feel like a failure at being a lawyer. I’m currently unemployed and have been underemployed for over a year. I’m in this situation because of my choice to leave my job that was bringing me down and then a worldwide pandemic made all the jobs go *poof*. I spent a lot of time and money to become a lawyer. It seems like a waste.
I feel like a failure as a parent. My son left home to live with his father when he was 16. We don’t have a good relationship as we used to. I’m struggling to handle all the things that come with being a stepmother. I wonder how we missed that it would be this hard.
I feel like a failure as a wife. My husband works to provide for us and I complain about things a lot to him. I don’t want to be a stay-home wife-stepmother. I think I should do better.
Are you there too? Ever been there? What to do? What do I do when I’m having a bad day?
One. Put some music on. I listen to songs that remind me everything always works out. This one song sometimes gets put on repeat. ( You’re Gonna Be Okay (Lyric Video) – Brian & Jenn Johnson | After All These Years – YouTube )
Two. I ask myself a set of questions. What am I feeling? Why am I feeling it? What is happening that I am reacting to in a negative way?
Three. I feel my feelings. Last night, this morning, right now, I feel my feelings. Denying that I feel sad, angry, insufficient, unworthy, or failing never helps. I cry. Sometimes, I cry a lot and then I feel better. Sometimes, I don’t feel better at all.
Four. I ask myself what part of this can I control. I don’t try to change my feelings or other people. I can only control my part in the situation.
Five. I try to figure out what I can change. Because I cannot change other people or their behaviors, I can only address my part. I can remove myself from the interactions, I can identify what is making me angry. I can adjust my expectations. I can accept the way things are. You get the idea.
Six. I often journal my feelings, what happened, my response, accept my part in the problem, and then I write about what I can do to make the situation better for me.
Seven. I remember. I think about all the hard stuff God has got me through. I remember the blessings that God gave me. I remember the miracles that he has worked in my life. I remember that Jesus died for me and saved my soul. I begin to count my blessings even as I cry. I remember that even though this is hard, there’s more to life than this.
For example, when I felt like a failure at being a parent, I admitted to myself and my husband that I am ill-equipped for what we are going through. I looked at some job websites and tried to identify a job I could do. I also decided to accept that the situation is what it is. I want things to be better or different but they’re just not.
When I don’t accept that my choices have gotten me here and when I struggle against my reality, I increase my suffering. I suffer because I am not accepting that I have done all I can to make things the way I want them and I cannot have what I want. I suffer because I try to fix, change, or adjust the situation to make it better for me which causes more stress for me and the people around me.
When I accept that my situation is what it is and then accept that I cannot currently change it, I feel depressed. I know it would be great if my vision were my reality. I am certain that we would all enjoy it if I were right. However, my vision is not my reality because God has not granted me what I want. He has his reasons and I must accept that those reasons are for my benefit. I must trust that he is good and that he wants good things for me. This is so hard.
Trusting God is harder than I want it to be sometimes. I bet you relate to that. In every situation, we have to trust. Walking in obedience is hard. When bad things happen to good people, it’s hard. When God sends the rain for both the good and the bad people we get resentful. When I see people suffering for weeks and months, I begin to question my faith.
Is my God really good? Did I hear him correctly when I stepped out and did what I thought he wanted for me? When people suffer and I look on helplessly as they ask how a good God could let this happen. There’s so much suffering in this world that when we focus on it, it can feel helpless.
I bet the Israelites wondered that as they wandered through the desert. I bet they felt that way when they lived under oppressive Roman rule and waited 400 years for Christ. I bet the disciples felt that way when they saw Jesus die on the cross. I bet many of us feel that way as we’re walking through 2021 in year two of the Covid Pandemic. That’s hard stuff.
Yet, when I think about walking away from God, it becomes too hopeless to give up hope. To walk away from God what would be the point of living? To walk away from God what would be my purpose? To walk away from Christ what would be my forever? To let go of the Holy Spirit what would become of my life? To walk away from God what would be my reason to keep going after all that I have suffered? Without hope, what then?
So I just can’t walk away. Instead, I walk closer. I pray. I remind myself that when I believe all is lost, God is still in charge. Friend, I know that hard days are hard days. Sometimes hard days roll into hard weeks and hard years. Still, Jesus is the hope that anchors us in this life. Without it, where are we? Without hope, we’re hopeless.
The Israelites had God to guide them at night as fire in the darkness. They had his guidance in the day as a cloud. He was water in the desert and light in the darkness. When they were waiting they had the history of his good works. While they were waiting through that 400 years, they had hope in Jesus. They didn’t know it was Jesus yet, but he was coming.
The disciples didn’t understand why Jesus died. I don’t understand why I’m in this hard space in life. You don’t understand why you’re in your space. Yet, Jesus rose in victory. He is an anchor of hope for us in this world. So, if you’re suffering too, I’ll remind you while I’m reminding me today: We have hope in the darkness. Jesus is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.
I’d love it if you would enter the conversation. Leave a comment below or send me an email. We all have bad days and if you’d like for me to pray for you, let me know.
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