I feel like a loser because my wife had what amounts to an emotional affair. I feel like a loser because the last church I was part of didn’t miss me when I left. I feel like I loser because there are too many days I can’t go to work and too much rent to worry about. I feel like a loser because my dad introduced my son to everyone he worked with, but not me. I feel like a loser because it’s been nineteen days since I have written a blog post, I can’t get traction for chapter two of my book, and doubt I can ever make a living as a writer because of my apathy. I feel like a loser because I look for worth and affirmation in social media, and am crushed when people don’t meet my expectations. I feel like a loser because I am a disappointment to my wife, and I worry about being a shitty dad.
I feel like a loser these days.
I hate writing that. I hate admitting the worthless feelings I feel. I hate the self-pity and rejection I feel. I’m an adult. I have a job and a family. I have friends and people who read my blog. Shouldn’t I feel some sort of pride in my life?
All I feel is that I am a disappointment. Family, work, faith, writing, friends: in every area I let people down and fail to do my best. In every area of my life I have disappointed others, hurt people, and failed to mend the all the brokenness. In every area of live, I have been disappointed. I carry the scars of life and have inflicted scars on others. I don’t look back on my life and feel a sense of pride or accomplishment. All I can see is the disappointment, the rejection, the hurt. All I can see is that I am a loser.
It’s Just Your Depression Talking
I know I am prone to depression. Hell, I know my battles with depression and mania far too well. I live with a bipolar mood disorder; depression is never that far away. I’m probably feeling at least a bit melodramatic tonight, but it’s not just some bout of depression talking. The feelings I have are real, valid, and can’t be written off because I have a mental illness. That’s not how treating me like a complex human actually works.
I have these emotions, this hurt, sadness, frustration, and anger. They are real. There are reasons for them. It counts when I say I feel like a loser. Don’t try to excuse it away or ignore it because of my illness. These emotions are deep, they sit in my chest like a cannonball, and they are part of my experience as a human.
For some reason, that human experience has been marked by disappointment. I have let everyone that matters to me down in some way or another. I have failed them. It has led to the end of relationships, the loss of friends, broken hearts, and a rocky marriage. I will not take all the blame for these things though. I will however own my part. I let people down. If you know me in a significant way I will let you down. More than once. I may make a promise I can’t keep. I may flake out and disappear from your life when you need me. I may be too self-absorbed to see you. In one way or another, I will disappoint you.
The disappointment in my life has not all been one-sided though. Yes, I have disappointed people, but I have also been so disappointed, so rejected. Churches have treated me as unworthy to really serve. Friends have shunned me. My own family has left me feeling more alone than part of a clan. Hell, my own wife questions if I am the one she wants. I have been disappointed and let down by every significant relationship I have ever had. I have been rejected, been the second or third choice, and left alone. It seems I am always on the outside, always looking in, always in the margins. This is the trend of my days, of my position in life.
What of all this. Why am I writing these words down, sharing these thoughts? Am I throwing a self-pity party and inviting you along for the ride? Is this my way of getting sympathy, making you feel sorry for me? What is the point here?
The truth is I feel like a loser, both from how I am treated and how I act. That is the very reason I need gospel preached to my hurting heart. I’m not trying to over spiritualize life or make things wrap up into a neat Christian bow. I’m just being honest. See, I am a loser in many ways. I am the hurting, and the one that hurts others. It may not be all that I am, but nights like this it feels that it is all I am. And all that I am needs to know that God loves even me.
I need to know that Jesus has made me right with God, and that because of that these other things will be made well someday. I need to hear about the unearned grace that God offers to us all, even to me. I need to hear that even though I feel like a loser, Jesus accepts me, wants me at his table, wants me in his love. This is the gospel I need to hear, the gospel I need to preach to myself day in and day out. This is the truth I need my friends and family to tell to me in every way they can, and this is the truth I need to tell to others any way I can.
The gospel doesn’t make me not a loser, it doesn’t fix all my issues, my hurts, my brokenness. The gospel tells me the good news that my issues, my hurts, and my brokenness are not the end of the story. Disappointment given and received doesn’t get the last word in any of our lives. All will be made well, all will be made well, and all manner of things will be made well. This is what keeps me from being swallowed by my loser complex, from losing hope when my life seems to fall apart, and what keeps me going when the hurt in my heart becomes a physical thing.
Gospel, good news, is something we can hide in. It may not take away these feelings, but it does tell us that feeling like a loser is not the final word. There is something else coming, and even now we are loved and accepted by divinity in ways that are unfathomable.
Oh my heart, hear this good news.