I'm going to start this blog post off with a disclaimer: This is a venting, lamenting, feeling post. If you can't read it without trying to reassure me that what I feel isn't a reality, or to encourage me to hold on and not to give up, then please, do us both a favor, and just let move your mouse up over the "X" for this screen and click it. Don't read another word.
If you're still here, consider yourself in a verbal agreement with me not to respond with any positive reinforcement. Just step back into a voyeur mode, take in what you see. If you continue reading, you've agreed to the deal. So know that....
Give yourself a second.
Are you sure?
OK, here we go.
I feel like a failure.
I feel like I have accomplished nothing of lasting value with my life. It doesn't matter really whether it's true or not (now some of you are swallowing hard on that agreement you made by reading on.) It doesn't matter if it's true or not, because to the depth of my being it FEELS true, and maybe that's all there really is to being a failure, feeling like one.
I have gifts and talents that I'm not using. I write blogs and books that in the big picture, no one is really reading (so perhaps there is no hard swallowing going on after all.) I have a dead end job that I stumbled backwards into out of laziness and lack of drive that now as a married mom of three and daughter of the owner of the business I work at, I am stuck in. (Swallow it, I am stuck. There is the mortgage, there is the school tuition, all the bills alongside to pay, and my family needs me there.)
Yesterday at church as I watched my amazing husband (being his wife is one thing I don't feel like a failure at)... as I watched my amazing husband playing the drums for worship in church amidst the pride I always feel watching him truly lead and worship, I found a new emotion creep up in the middle of it. I was jealous.
I was jealous watching him do what he was created to do, being used in the fullness of his gifts, being in the center of God's will and pleasure. I confessed (foolishly) that I felt that way to my husband. He apologized, but he had nothing to apologize for. He too feels a lot of the stuck feelings I do in his daily job, in the routine of caring for our family, etc. (Though he is an amazing dad, and I don't think he feels like a failure in any aspect of his life - because, he's not.) But anyway... he too gets stuck in the groove sometimes, hating having to get up and work on a Saturday, etc. but once every couple of weeks or so he gets to do THAT. That thing he was gifted and created for. He gets to play his drums, worship God, minister to others and feel God's pleasure.
I asked him, after I told him not to be sorry. "Do you feel God's pleasure when you play up there?"
Good I told him, because my pride and desire for that in my husband's life completely outweighs the moment of jealousy that rose up. "I'm happy for you," I told him. "I just miss it."
I used to feel it-- when I could teach regularly, speak to groups of women and youth and encourage them in their faith. I felt it when I taught bible studies. I felt it when I led small groups. I felt it when I was a youth leader. I felt it when I facilitated a bible study with my son and his friends in our home. I felt it when I facilitated a post-abortion ministry-- online and again in person. I have felt it, and I miss it desperately.
And I feel like a failure because it's gone.
I don't feel God's pleasure very often anymore.
"Oh you're a good wife and a great mom, and you're such a talented writer..."
It's not enough. I don't feel His pleasure in any of those things. (Well, maybe the wife part a little, but not much.)
So if that's all there is, and that's what I am supposed to be doing, then I must be doing it wrong, right?
And I'm mad at God. I think ignorance would have been bliss. I wish I had never had a door opened, never had an opportunity made, and never experienced His pleasure in any of those things in the past, because then maybe, just maybe, I wouldn't be missing it now.
I left a place where I felt hurt, criticized, judged and punished. It's where I found all those gifts and talents, and the ways I felt the pleasure of God. It's also where I had them taken away. I stayed even when it hurt like hell, and it didn't make any sense because I was more concerned with waiting on God than anything else. And when He finally released me, after over a decade of intense hurt, I thought He would move into a new place and a new season where I would find that feeling again.
But He has not.
I am in a wonderful place and I am sitting back and watching as not only my husband, but my children also have settled in beautifully - and they are feeling God's pleasure in ways like never before. And I am happy for them, but I am also jealous.
Because I don't feel it. And I find no hope that I ever will. All the "signs" I see tell me that there is still no place for me. There is no place for my gifts, no opportunity to become who I thought God created me to be.
I am a failure.
I will buck up, move on, suck it up and power through, eventually, because that's what I always do, and really what other choice do I have? But not today. Today I am overwhelmed with the sense of failure-- in what I have (not) accomplished and what I have completely become.
I don't want to do this anymore. In my heart of (fleshly human faulty sinful) hearts, I want to walk away from "the church" because it is there that I most profoundly feel my failure and my hopelessness. I won't. But in the darkest places of my humanness, I really, really want to. I don't want to watch other people doing what they love and what they were created to do, because I don't want to be jealous, and I don't want the jealousy to turn to resentment, and I don't want the resentment to water the little root of bitterness that I have yet to be completely successful in removing. It's like an ember I can't seem to snuff, and right now, someone or something is fanning it, and all "THIS" is rising to the surface of my life. Walking away from the fire sounds so appealing.
But it probably wouldn't work anyway, and all it would accomplish is to stumble the people I love. And as much as I envy them for feeling God's pleasure, it would devestate me even more if they were here in this place with me having lost it. I think it would be better to never know it than to lose it.
I suppose I am in some sort of spiritual desert. I fear I am destined to remain here for the rest of my days-- a failure.