Some Days…

Some days, all my writing sounds terrible Everything I write makes no sense; in fact, it’s horrible. This isn’t writer’s block, I promise. I could write for hours. Just some days, the words only sound stupid and useless. Like today.

way wrongToday, my inner self wants so desperately to write something meaningful, even profound. But the words that come out are trivial and childish. Today, I feel like giving up on dreams of becoming a successful writer (whatever that means). And when I let my imagination wander down this road, I always arrive at the same conclusion — What would I do if I did not write?

You see, I know writing is my calling. At some level, I’ve always known this to be true. Just some days, my heart and my head fail to connect in carrying out this calling. Some days, I lack the faith to walk down the path of God’s leading. Today is that kind of day.

cagedWhen I meet with this kind of day, which happens infrequently but still with some regularity, two very strong emotions rise to the top. The first is fear. Old feelings of depression and pointlessness surface on days like today, and I fear returning to my old life in the pit. The second is desperation. A part of me starts pacing like a caged animal desperately wanting what it sees standing outside the cage.

Only, I can’t exactly see what’s standing outside the cage. I know it represents hope and increased faith and removal of fear, but I can’t quite focus on the specifics. All I seem to be able to hone in on is the sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach that says I’m trapped.

You might not be a writer, but that doesn’t matter. Just insert whatever description you have for your calling, and I’m certain you have days like I’m having today. At least, I assume this is a common human experience and not a corner of the world that only I know exists. Right?

Everyone has desperate days where they wonder if they missed a lane change somewhere or perhaps even took a wrong turn. Either we have these days and we know we have them, or we have them but have mastered the art of busyness to keep us from admitting we have them.

Since we all have had them and will have them again, the only question that remains then is “What do we do about them?”

What I feel like doing is hurling my computer across the room because it fails to put into words the ideas and thoughts and musings of my heart. Yet, I know the regret and shame that would soon follow, and so I refrain. What, then, is left?

First, I make sure I’m physically at my baseline. This means assessing if I’m hydrated, properly nourished and not overly tired. And where possible, I make needed adjustments.

Second, while all of Scripture exists as a guide for living a Godly life, most Christians have a “go to” verse or chapter or even book that always provide not only a place to rest but a place to reset. For me, that’s the book of Isaiah. I read the highlighted portions, sometimes stopping to read around them too, and if that doesn’t bring relief, I venture into other highlighted areas of Scripture.

Third, and really this exists infused within the other two, is prayer. While I feel what I’m feeling and as I try to convey those feelings in writing, a part of me prays for relief. I ask for the answer for this sudden onslaught of anxiety and fear and if not the answer, then simply relief.

Beyond these, I must refuse to think. Because if I allow my thoughts to further internalize what I am feeling, that’s when vain imaginations begin to take me down some very dark and all-to-familiar paths. Sometimes, if I am to focus on facts over feelings, that means simply not allowing myself to dwell on my feelings.

DISCUSSION: What do you do when you have days like this?

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17 thoughts on “Some Days…

  1. No strain, no struggle, no doubt, no test of our mettle. We all must experience the "crucible" which will shape and mold us to be the best we can be. Don't let doubt deter you because it is another word for fear of failure. Without the risk of failure, how valued can our success be? Never, never, never quit! A loser is a quitter who pulls out of the race before it is over… Doubt will bring comparison, whereas tenacity and veracity will allow you to grow by contrasting your unique qualities and abilities to identify you.

  2. Me? Have days like that? Me? The extrovert? *facepalm* Of course I do! I call them blah days when heart and mind are connected. Or if they are the connection is a thin thread. I don't have them very often at all, but when they do I try to get out and DO something. i find that physical exercise often gets the endorphins flowing and I start looking beyond myself. I also read Psalm 37 (my go to chapter) as well try to figure out what has brought it about. Hope you start feeling better my friend.
    My recent post Railed

    • I don' them often anymore either, but they sure aren't fun when they do happen. You are so right about physical exercise. That's a regular part of my routine anyway, and throwing in something extra always helps on off days. Figuring out the "why" often happens during exercise, actually. Thankfully, I wrote this a week or so ago, and the day has since passed. Though, I think I did learn something from it… my perspective seems to be shifting a bit.

  3. Kari, I can definitely relate to this post. There are days when I write and it sounds like nothing more than me whining about life. I wrote a New Year's post and ended up scrapping the whole thing because it did not meet my own quality barometer for my posts. Other times, I will work on a post for several days because I know the first couple of drafts just don't cut it.

    That said, I have days in which I feel sorry for myself and am ready to throw in the towel. I usually have to get offline and head out into the sunshine to feel better. I often listen to a positive podcast (Dan Miller or John Eldredge) and get reoriented – remembering that I am writing to bring God honor, to help myself make sense of life, and to encourage and teach those readers who want to come along for the journey.
    My recent post Your Work is Not Your Calling

    • For me, it's not just writing either, Chris. Some days, everything I do seems pointless and to not make much sense. Definitely ready to throw in the towel too at times. Sunshine helps a ton! (Wish we had more in Michigan, but at least it's on its way for a while.) Positive input is huge too. Both great suggestions. And, of course, remembering your "why" definitely helps motivate. This is something I need to do more often than I do. I need to remember why I write and teach and blog and…. everything I guess. It's not about me. Thanks for the perspective. Very helpful.

  4. I like your writing today, Kari! I thought it was great! One helpful thing to remember is that we're often our own worst critic. I wrote the questions (and gathered the Bible verses) in my latest book (The Renewing of the Mind Project) to help me when I'm having those days where I feel like my writing is terrible or can't get myself to write. They help me have conversations with God that take off the lies and put on the truth and encourage me to put my fingers to the keyboard again. I'm glad you didn't throw your computer against the wall – loved your post. 🙂

    • Thanks, Barb, especially for the encouragement. I know we all have days like that, and that's one reason this post became more than just a journal entry. Kind of goes with me post about feeling alone not too long ago. We need to connect on things like this as Christians to help us grow.

    • Thanks, Dave. You really hit on why my blog is called "struggle to victory." Some days are more of a struggle than others, but I figure if I'm still struggling, then I haven't given in or given up. Focus determines reality, which is really what you're determining to do when you focus on the cross. There is no better place to focus.

  5. Oh Kari, you are so honest and I love it! Yep, been there! What I am learning is that when life is like that I have lost my FOCUS. I have taken my eyes of Jesus. Yep, I am probably tired, trying to do things in my own strength, not taking quiet time in the Word, and the list goes on. I go to Psalm 37 and Joshua 1:9 and Philippians…Paul's book of joy written from prison. Crank up the praise and worship music, because thanksgiving is a great cure for what ails me.
    No you are not alone! and your honesty reminds us we are not alone either.
    Right now when I get this way I am drawn to Jesus in that final week before his death. His focus, where did he find peace and strength and courage. That helps me to know HE understands my struggle and loves me so much, even when I feel like a mess.
    Hang in there my friend. God has great plans for you or the devil would not be attacking you! Hugs!

    • I've said it before, and I'll say it again… Focus determines reality. You've listed some of the best ways to refocus – quiet time, Scripture, praise & worship, connecting. Thanks for the encouragement too!

  6. I think when we find ourselves in those situations that we check the things you check but still press forward and do the things we know we should do. We may think the effort is futile or not worth much but if we come back to it later we may find whatever we did during this time may spark something else of worth or may actually be better than we were thinking at the time. I would not throw away the work but do it and put it aside and look at it from different eyes at a different time. Even if what we produced during this struggle does not seem like much we know not what the effort produced or sparked or lead to that was valuable.
    We may struggle on our journey but even the struggle moves us.

    • Terrific advice, Mark. We do need to continue struggling forward, to refuse to give up, to persevere. We may not think we're making any progress, but we'll see it on the other side of the struggle. It is interesting how we can put something aside and have a totally different view of it when we go back another time. Happens to me often. Thanks for the input.

  7. Those day is where hindsight brings insight and helps me realize the slump will pass as it has countless times. Then I go through my check list, first is there any hidden sin I want to stay hidden, next I pull out my favorite scriptures for those slump times. One thing practical I do is read post such as yours and others for encouragement. A lot of the time I find my slump in writing is because my mind has been busy taken care of the issue of life and our ministry which is needed. Just came through a lean time in writing because of a two week trip to help a missionary who had to come home due to her husband sin. It was a hard two weeks which took all my mental and emotional time reading and listening in order to keep clear what God says about certain things. Since writing is not my main ministry I am not discouraged when I cannot write. I realize God has other things I need to give my energy to. Now that we are home again I can connect with blogs such as yours, write a little and draw refreshment from the Word. Sometimes I am in the two step back part of my walk but most of the time I am in the three steps forward. I also agree with Mark, put aside what ever you produce for later when you are out of the two steps back. It will look different when you are in the three steps forward. There is value in any step because God walks with us in each of them.

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