Encouragement For The Ones Who Think They’re Failing

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I haven’t finished the laundry, and it’s not for a lack of trying. The piles keep piling, despite my best efforts to beat them into submission with a scoopful of Cheer. The refrigerator is appallingly empty. The cupboards lack a certain “fullness” my children have come to appreciate, along with the accompanying fullness of belly. We have clean clothes and stockpiles of food, but never on the exact day or in the exact form we wish for it. We have eggs for dinner more often than I’d like to admit. Cereal with a side of ice cream, anyone?

I haven’t finished my essays for school, or my emails for work, and it’s not for a lack of trying. The deadlines continue arriving, despite my best efforts to pretend time is a flexible thing that stretches and pulls like a rubber band–it is not. Time is a ticking bomb, much like my sanity in these busy days ahead. I bumped into a friend last night, and told her I hope to see her soon–life seems to be settling down. “Just in time for the holidays!” she said, and I felt myself inwardly curl into the fetal position at the mention of it.

I haven’t written much here lately, and it’s not for a lack of trying. I set the alarm in the 5’s or I set aside a specific time during the week or I squeak out a few thoughts in a journal, but actually getting the thoughts into coherent sentences? Not happening. This season of life feels wordless. I feel myself grasping for them, but they play hide and seek with me. I question the wisdom of watching the sun rise from the green chair in the library/office/room where I collect papers upon papers, when a warm bed waits upstairs for me. I question my desires. I question my calling.

I complain about all of this to my husband as I hand him another egg sandwich for dinner. God has called him to be the long-suffering sort, much to his everlasting chagrin. And he says to me, “It’s hard. But you’re doing it. Look at what you set out to do, and look at your life–you’re really doing it.”

It doesn’t feel like it, but I am, in fact, doing it. I’m not doing it well. It doesn’t look pretty. I’m up and down and tired and hungry and falling behind and catching up and too busy and dressed in odd combinations of semi-clean clothes, but I’m doing it.

And so are you.

You are waking up every day to too much. You are waking up to longing or busyness or grief. You’re waking up and finding yourself incapable of stepping into the day, and yet somehow you find yourself twelve hours later on the other side of it. Let’s celebrate these accomplishments. Let’s celebrate the fact that we roll out of bed. We put our pants on. We paint our faces with the war paint of courage, and we do this. Sure, we forget things and we make bad choices and we hang on to life with a slipping grasp on our sanity, but so does everyone else.

We’re all fighting a battle against our own limitations, we suit up against our own humanity. But, I think it’s time we accept “doing it” looks less graceful than we expected, at times, it looks pitiful and sad and so very human. We may as well embrace it.

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  • Michael

    Love it! And it’s true – you are doing it!

  • It’s hard to even bring myself to admit how often I need this exact encouragement these days…but I’m bookmarking this post in my favorites bar, because I’ll need it again by next week. Thank you for this! So glad I ran into you at Allume…wish it had been a little longer though. 🙂

  • I love your honesty here and thank you so much for the egg *sandwich* idea. One needs all the twists up her sleeve she can get. Reading here feels like catching up with an old friend.