So today was not a good day. In fact it was an ugly day. It started off glorious enough and was full of promise, but I can’t really place a finger on where it fell apart. I pride myself on being an upbeat, cheerful, chipper kind of gal, but there are times when, well…. times when life is just hard.
I promised myself when I started this Blog that I was going to be real no matter what. Sincere and honest with all my thoughts. And I truly meant it.
Then today happened.
I had another Blog already to go, and had worked hard on it all week. (Not to toot my own horn, but it is pretty good.) But as I was getting ready to publish it, I hesitated. It seemed fake. Very unauthentic. It was this happy, upbeat, all sunshine and daisy’s kind of a Blog. The total opposite of how I feel right now. I could not publish it.
My Blog mentor has challenged me to publish at least one Blog a week, and I pride myself on rising to challenges laid before me, but this week I almost bailed. Publishing a Blog that seemed so unimportant and unreal was not an option. So I sat down and decided to get real. Really real. Maybe someone reading this is having a bad day too or maybe they can relate to how I feel. Even if one person reads it and says, “YES! ME TOO!” Then it is totally worth it.
There really was nothing unordinary about my day today that caused my dramatic mood swing. I got up at my same time, drank coffee out of my favorite mug, walked the same stretch of road with my dog, and did all the normal routine stuff I always do. On lunch break I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in a while and somewhere in the conversation my day fell apart. Nothing bad happened, nothing but polite conversation, but out of nowhere doubt, jealousy, and bitterness decided to make an appearance.
It’s funny how in an instant you go from feeling like a normal, respected, light-hearted human, to feeling very small and insignificant. Perhaps somewhere in the conversation with this old friend I hadn’t seen in a while, I allowed my confidence to be penetrated by the enemy. You know what I mean. You are listening to the other person give the highlights of their life since you last spoke. They have lost weight, gotten married, work a fulfilling high paying job, and been on adventures all over creation saving the world. Ok, so maybe I am being over dramatic a bit, but as they speak, that is what I hear in my head. Slowly I start to wonder, “What significant thing have I EVER done?” “Does he know I am a failure?”
As a child I dreamed about being an adult and all the adventures I would have. For one I was going to be an Air Force pilot and be the first female Shuttle Commander in space. I was going to travel, live in a modest home and have lots of children. Of course these were my goals when I was 14, but they didn’t change too much by the time I became an adult. I realized I would never be a pilot and enter space, but the other stuff, that was still obtainable. When I entered college as a theatre major, (If you know me at all you know I have flair for the dramatic) I thought I had everything mapped out.
I was smart in school, and great things were expected from me, but my whole life I have struggled to find who I am and where I fit in. That combination kept me from finishing a lot of things and fulfilling a lot of life goals. I did well in school but felt lost. Then out of the blue, I was thrown into the job of teaching Pre-K, and suddenly I had found my niche in this life.
I LOVED teaching. There is absolutely nothing better then seeing the face of a 4 or 5 year old when they write their first word, or read their first sentence. Teaching became my passion. My students became my saving grace. Each and every day I was making a difference. I was having a direct impact on their young lives and the lives of their families. Being with these children came natural to me, and I was good at it. I was VERY good at it. I felt respected, revered, and loved. It wasn’t even like work, even as I struggled over lesson plans, state regulations, and difficult students.
Several years later I had become a respected teacher with a boat load of experience, and was needed to help other teachers. Slowly and gradually over a span of 13 years I was pulled out of the classroom and into an administrative position. At first I was honored and had big goals. But soon, I hated it. I loathed it. I sucked at it. I failed.
It takes a strong person to admit when he or she are wrong and for some reason it took me a while to do so. I should have NEVER left the classroom. Administration was NOT for me. I am horrible at making decisions, I stink at delegating, and I had a hard time working with adults. After all these years I am still more comfortable in a room full of 5 year olds then I am with people my own age.
So on a hot June day two years ago, I walked out. No notice, no good byes. No looking back. I just grabbed a box full of my belongings and I walked out. Not my proudest or best moment. For the first time in a long time I could breathe, but I also fell into the darkest time of my 40 years.
Once again, I was left wondering who I was, or what I wanted to do. I was so worried about freeing myself from the prison I was in, I didn’t think about the consequences or anything else for that matter. Aimlessly I wandered through each day, pretending life was great and I that I was happy, while inside I was secretly dying and crying out, “HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Every day I went through the motions of living, while I felt dead.
It took some humbling, life changing events to wake me up. I had a choice to make. I could lay down and let my life fall apart or I could get up and start over. The memory of sitting on my loveseat last November in the dark thinking I was the biggest disappointment ever, and crying out to God, praying for Him to bring me and my failures to an end, still haunts me, but it is also what keeps me going. The scars I wear are deep and ugly, but they are also beautiful because they remind me that at my darkest, He is light. At my weakest, He is strength. At my ugliest, His beauty shines through.
So back to today.
Seeing my old friend triggered all the same raw emotions. He had no idea that asking me what I had been up to the past couple of years would totally un-nerve me. I left my friend feeling angry, hateful, frustrated, and sad. I started throwing a lot of questions at myself and to God. “Why do I have to be the one who struggles? Why couldn’t life be easy for me like it was him? Why do I feel so insignificant compared to others?”
As I walked with my dog tonight, I saw the most glorious sunset. The colors were so gorgeous and strong. I could not help but smile when I saw it. Suddenly I was filled with warmth and peace. It was almost as if it was on display for just me. I was reminded that through all the ugly, the doubts, the feelings of insignificance, the worry, each day is filled with new promises. If God could bring me through one of the darkest times of my life could He not pull me out of a little funk? Did He not send His ONLY son to this earth to die, so that I may live?
I am NOT unimportant. I am NOT insignificant.
Even though the world tells me each day that I am, nothing could be farther from the truth. My value is not found in my job, my social status, my relationships, or even my failures. No, my value is found in God and in Him alone. He looks on me with love and devotion each day. He does the same with you too friend. Whether you believe in Him or not, that doesn’t change His opinion of you or His passion for you.
“How precious also are your thoughts about me , O God! They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them! They outnumber the grains of sand!
Oh how I needed to hear that! Even though I don’t measure up, God loves me. The same God who walks with me when I am running carefree through life, carries me when I don’t have the strength to face another day. When Satan reminds me of all my failures, mishaps, and mistakes, telling me that I don’t matter, God reminds me of the cross and says, “Yes you do!” Just because I falter doesn’t mean I lose.
“We are pressed on every side, but not crushed. Perplexed, but not in despair. Persecuted, but not abandoned. Stuck down, but NOT destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:8
So today was ugly, but it ended pretty spectacular. Maybe you had an ugly day too. Perhaps you feel insignificant and unimportant. Life has left you beaten and scarred. The weight of your failures makes each day a struggle. But take hope. Our scars and bruises are not there to show others that we have failed , they are there to remind us that God never left us in our darkest.
Being a redhead, naturally my favorite book of all time is Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. Poor Anne struggled all through her life trying to find who she was and overcome a life of disappointments, heartaches, and failures. However, Anne never felt defeated. My favorite quote of hers is “Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it.” I love those words! I have them tapped to my mirror at home, in my bible, my car, and my desk at work. Each day we are given a brand new beginning. A fresh start. God wipes the slate clean and we are given a beautiful fresh canvas to write on. Satan wants to tarnish it by brining up our past, regrets, mistakes, and all our failures, BUT we can choose to not listen and refuse to let our fresh start be halted.
Maybe I am the only one who needed this today. But I imagine that some of you out there feel the same way. The struggle is real and I know the enemy will attack again. But I also know the One who has overcome the enemy. I promise to pray for you and you pray for me.
And remember…. it is just a bad day…NOT a bad life.