I’m feeling like a failure today.
No quirky intro or cutesy story to start things off today. Just the nitty-gritty-ness of having “one of those days.”
I know it’s a spiritual attack.
It’s a battle and it feels like The Enemy of our souls is winning. I know He’s been defeated by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, but I’m just not “feeling it” today.
I know I can’t trust my feelings, that instead I need to trust the truth of what God’s Word says about me. But I can’t seem to shake it today.
How did I get here? Who knows. Sometimes I know. I sometimes realize sin or grief or disappointments in life or illness or lack of exercise or some other factor may be at the root of that horrible feeling. But then there are days like today when I have no clue.
So what am I gonna do with it? This feeling, that is.
I could wallow. I could cry. I could eat chocolate. I could do retail therapy. If I were the type, I could toss back a drink or two or some pills. But what would any of that do for me in the long run? Nothing.
I think because the spiritual life is just that – spiritual – that we don’t bother to look at spiritual things in a logical, practical way at times. God gave us a bright mind, so let’s use a little logic and practicality.
If my toilet is stopped up I don’t throw chocolate down it – so I’ll rule that out as an option here too. Passing something through the plumbing is no help.
Tears may offer a slight biological release, but mostly they just get my shirt wet, make my eyes puffy, and cause me to feel sorry for myself. So I’ll nix that idea.
Wallowing sounds selfishly appealing. Maybe I could make everyone around me miserable as I do that?! Nah. I hate it when others do that to me.
Retail therapy sounds really fun! But then I will create more of these down days for myself. The day the bill comes in. The day that money is actually needed and isn’t there. The day I want to offer monetary help to someone God has put on my heart but my indulgent lifestyle prevents it. … Ok so retail therapy is out too.
And fortunately the other two options are an automatic “No” for me. I learned early in life the physical, mental, emotional, and relational damage that can be done by trying to depend on substances inside me to solve my problems. Kinda like the flushing the chocolate, only you destroy the toilet as you send it through.
So what do I do?
Well number one, I’m gonna do a Nemo and “just keep swimming.” Or like Kris Kringle of the 70’s Santa Claus story sang, I’ll “put one foot in front of the other.” I’m going to get up and do the next thing God has before me whether it is going to work or doing laundry or encouraging my husband and kids even though I don’t feel like it.
Number two, I’m gonna read the Word. I don’t care how dry it “feels” or how little I’m interested in doing that at the moment, that’s what I’m going to do. ‘Cause the truth is, His Word accomplishes something. It won’t go back to Him empty-handed. It will accomplish what He desires and achieve the purposes He has for it.
Number three, I’m going to pray. I spend way too much time calling up a girlfriend when I’m having a bad day and too little time going to my Creator and the Lover of my soul who can actually offer real help to a hurting heart.
Fourth, I’m choosing NOT to trust my feelings, but to remind myself of what I know to be true. I’m going to constantly engage my mind in the kind of thinking Philippians 4:8 tells me to. I’m going to exercise self-control by controlling my thoughts. I choose to think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. That will leave me no time for thoughts of failure. And as my thoughts go, so go my feelings!
And last, I’m going to focus on someone else. If I allow myself to focus on myself my “feeling bad” grows into problems, the proverbial making a mountain out of a molehill. But if I turn my attention to others’ needs, my problems grow smaller. My own little “rough places being made plain” and the glory of the Lord being revealed.
So in my down-ness today, I choose to send a friend an encouraging text. I choose to write a card to someone God puts on my heart and mail it. I choose to buy a rose and hand deliver it to someone with a smile. I choose to take a store-bought cake to an older lady I know who has become homebound. I choose to see what my husband’s needs are and seek to meet them. I choose to be nice even though I feel grouchy. I choose to see the best in people and situations even though I feel the worst. I choose to not give in to a negative feeling.
The apostle Paul tells us,
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:1-4)
There is encouragement in Christ! When we act in humility considering others before our self and looking out for their interests we are obeying and pleasing God. I think a hidden truth for our down days lie within these scriptures. When we obey God’s word and look out for the interests of others they are blessed, uplifted, and encouraged and we are too!
So Be gone feelings of failure! I choose not to live with you today!