Feel defeated? You’re not alone. Here’s what you need to remember.
Last week, I came to a startling realization: Every single day, I feel defeated. Every day, I feel like I’m failing.
And not just a little defeat. I feel like I’m continually behind and always striving for something more. The pressure to do more and be more has become a normal part of life.
But it’s so not normal.
Recognizing the need for improvement isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it can be quite helpful. But it’s also important to get to the core of the feelings of failure.
What truly needs improved? Why do these feelings of defeat creep and invade my thoughts every single day?
It wasn’t tricky to discover the source of my discontent. I feel defeated every day because I try to cram so much in to each day – and there’s no possible way to do it all.
The pressure for moms to do it all
If you’re a mom, you can probably relate to me:
There’s so much to do around the house, but strangely enough I’m the only one who really feels bothered if it doesn’t get done.
I would love to do so very much with my kids and for my kids, but the days and years zip by. Just when I think I get a handle on how to best parent during a specific stage, my kids are grown and moved on to something new.
I want to invest my time and energy into my marriage, but everything else presses in. Many days, my husband and I are left to juggle everything without a good connection. And it’s not that I don’t long for the connection. In our family’s busiest seasons I frequently tell my husband I’d love to run away with him – just the two of us, where all we have to do is enjoy each other.
With all of my responsible duties – like raising children and caring for our home – something has to slide. And it’s always, without hesitation, any time for myself. Self-care seems like a luxury, and I wrangle my schedule just to fit in some time to spend with the Lord or work on important projects.
Casting our cares
On days when the busyness of life comes crashing in and I’m caught in the middle of deadlines and responsibilities and can’t find a thing in my messy house (because who in the world has time to seriously clean?!), I find the feelings of defeat are strongest.
When I’m at the rope and feel like I can’t take any more, overwhelm really threatens my peace of mind.
But it doesn’t have to be like that.
In Matthew 11:30, Jesus promises that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. We’re called to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).
When I stop and roll my burdens onto Jesus, my load lightens. This can be as easy as venting my frustrations and limitations in prayer – and then trusting Him for peace and clarity.
Cutting through the clutter
Life also gets easier when I stop flipping out and start focusing on what’s necessary. By cutting out all the extra, unnecessary wishes from my to-do list, I’m able to narrow what’s absolutely needed.
Once I get some breathing room, I can get caught up on the non-essential things. In my home, this looks like focusing on Non-Negotiable Daily Chores on the busiest days, and then fitting in extra work like decluttering on freer days.
Currently I’m in the middle of an experiment. If I ruthlessly declutter my entire house and purge whatever is unnecessary (or what I don’t love ) my suspicion is that it will become much easier to care for my home. Less mess will be made simply because I’ll have less stuff to actually make a mess.
Regularly – definitely at the beginning of a new year and at the end of a school year – I also think about what’s working well and what’s wrecking my schedule and my family’s schedule.
If we don’t find joy in things, we try, as much as possible, to eliminate them. For example, I could run my children to different practices every day of the week. But if my kids dread them – and I dread the shuttling back and forth – and they’re not necessary, then it’s time to quit.
By evaluating what we’re committing to as a family and not being afraid to say no if it’s a bad fit, we’re able to remove unnecessary stressors from our lives. And that’s a very good thing.
Of course, everyone has to commit to some things they don’t enjoy – take regular dental check-ups, for example. But if unnecessary commitments are adding a lot of stress and angst to life, it might be wise to eliminate them.
Recognizing the lie
Along with surrendering our stress to Jesus, trying to purge unnecessary belongings from our home, and eliminate unnecessary commitments from our schedule, I’ve also found that when I feel defeated, I need to see it for what it is. A lie.
The enemy prowls around, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). I’m an easy target when I focus on his lies of defeat and unworthiness.
By remembering my worth in Christ’s eyes and realizing what I’m attempting to do – run a Christian home and raise my children in the Lord – I get a much better picture of reality. Of course those jobs are complex. And they’ll take plenty of time, energy, patience and flexibility.
Just because it’s a hard, though, doesn’t mean I’m doing a bad job. Just because I can’t flawlessly juggle everything in my family’s busy schedule every day doesn’t mean it’s a failure.
No, I need to keep fighting the good fight. I need to run this race of life. And I need to keep the faith. You need to, too.
Even if we can’t see it in our day-to-day responsibilities, the struggle of believing wives, moms, and homemakers will eternally be worth it. We can forget about defeat and welcome victory.
What do you do when you feel defeated? How do you cope?
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