When Things Don’t Work Out

You were so close. Everything you wanted, everything you’d been working for was right within your reach. Then it was gone. You had thought this would be the moment your dreams came true and suddenly things just didn’t work out the way you had expected. We have all experienced varying degrees of this phenomenon. A job that didn’t meet expectations, a sporting event we had expected to dominate, a relationship that fell apart, friends who betrayed us, the list could go on and on.

Expectations get crushed and then comes the hardest part.

Moving forward.

Proverbs 13:12 (NLT) Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.

When what we were longing for fails to come to pass we become disheartened, weary and prone to giving up. When we put forth our best efforts and things still don’t work out we begin to question why we should even try. It is at this juncture that our that our future is forged. Will we give in to the weight of failure or shine with resilience.

Recently I experienced a season where it just felt like nothing was working out. I questioned everything. I doubted everything. I felt like giving up, or at the very least wasting all my time with the meaningless, empty things in life. My prayer time was dry, so why pray? I’d read His Word only to feel as if His voice had abandoned me. Sleep seemed to escape me at every turn, I felt restless and void of hope.

Still, I endured. I took stock of what had helped me grow in the past and made myself accountable for how I would spend my time. I limited my time engaging in entertainment and forced myself to persist in prayer and study. It did not seem as though I would ever feel normal again, but I refused to stop.

Eventually breakthrough did come.

If I have one message today, it’s don’t give up.

I don’t do this too often, but I wanted to share an excerpt from my journal. In the midst of my dark season, I wrote this. It started with me just trying to figure out what in the world I’m feeling and turned into a prayer of sorts.  I share in the hopes that if you find yourself in a similar season, you might be encouraged. You are not alone and eventually light will shine through the darkness.

Don’t give up.

Endure.

I’ve always been a positive and healthy person. I’ve experienced painful situations, but throughout I always felt like me. I dealt with them, processed them and moved on. I don’t feel like myself anymore. It’s like my personality is dampened. There are small moments where I feel normal, then they are replaced with feelings of isolation, sadness or anger. Last night I felt healthy. Now, once again my sleep is disrupted and I’m angry. Scared. Lonely. I can’t crawl out of this pit of despair. I’m numb, apathetic and just lost. Hope seems far away and I don’t know where to turn. Is this depression? Is this normal? Am I just broken? I’m not myself, this is not normal for me. God feels like a ghost. Will this last forever?

Maybe I’m the ghost. Shipwrecked and abandoned on an island, far from familiar. Lord, revive the dead in me. If only I could salvage something within my soul to renew a sense of security. A soul compass to point in the direction of healing. A spiritual saline to cleanse and renew my withered heart and find life again. Lord, revive the dead in me. You alone are the source of life. In You alone is there hope. Can I crawl close and rest in Your shadow? A reprieve from the elements threatening to tear away my identity. Can You remind me of Your voice? The voice that calms the sea. The clarifying voice of creation. Though I feel lost, deep down I know the only way to be found is to get lost in You. Lost in wonder. Lost in the magnitude of who You are.

How far from home must I have wandered for You to feel so small? When did I leave? When did I set out to make my own way, to build my own house apart from You? Tear down the walls I’ve built. The walls of false comfort. The very walls meant to protect me destroy me, cutting me off from my source of rest.

Revive the dead in me.

May I return to the home of Your presence? How long will You feel distant? How long must I wander in the vastness of this void? Fill me. I don’t know how long I can endure before the crippling call of failure lures me into its clutches begging me to forsake it all. Fill me with Your life. Do not delay. Forgive me of any sin and help me to endure.

May the horizon of hope fill my vision again.

Amen.

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