Proof that my wife is right...I feel like a loser.

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.

So What

Not the endWhat 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.

  • kimberlyklein

    I hope someday I get to meet you in real life, Aaron. Thank you for your honesty and bravery. And for the tenacity with which you wrestled these words out of yourself.

    I don’t read the Bible much these days, but there are some particular passages that remain woven into my heart. Lamentations 3:18-23 is one of them. “So I say, ‘My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the Lord.’ I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

    What you feel is not the only truth, my friend. I pray today you are able to believe some of the others.

  • Dude. I’ve been there. Often, I live there. I’ve done shameful things in my own quest for significance. I could have written this post.

    I need that Gospel, too.

  • thesettingsun07

    Aaron – I have felt all of these feelings and I hear them and validate them and love you the more for sharing them with us.

  • this is amazing and powerful. your candid writing is much more powerful than trying to paint yourself as something you’re not, as though you have it all together. sharing your weakness lets us breathe and say, okay, we all need Him. and it’s okay to need Him.

    as someone who is often afraid to take the mask off, i thank you for these words. deeply.

  • Your words are something I can resonate with. Thank you for sharing.

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  • I don’t have words to exchange for this, but I’m sitting here beside you. Love you so much.

  • I identify with everything you said. For me, the hardest part of being biplar is when the depression tells me I am a disappointment to God Himself.

  • What Natalie Said.

  • if i had a nickel for all the loser self-talk and self-loathing i’ve had over the years, i’d have more than enough to pay off my mortgage. you are not alone, my friend.

  • Words can’t really express my emotions right now. You are LOVED, oh so loved and held. Rallied around not just by the Jesus who sees you but by this community of other hurting, broken people.
    I love you

  • “I am the hurting, and the one that hurts others.” I’ve been thinking about sin the last couple days, what it really is and how our typical understanding is far too narrow. Nothing especially new, but appropriate, I think, for this. Jesus saved you from sin. Not just your sin. From sin. Not even just from your sin and sins done to you, but from a life covered in the grime created by a world saturated in sin. He saved you, and he is saving, and one day, you will be fully saved.

    The things you talk about that you say make you feel like a loser, they don’t change who you are, and who God is, and what those things mean for you. You are the very image of Christ, and more specific you personally, you are a thoughtful, and kind, and honest, and intelligent, and insightful, and intuitive, and talented with words, and you grow a mean beard, and I come away from any conversation we have together feeling filled and inspired and satisfied in my soul. You give me something in my life when we take the time to get together I don’t get from anyone else.

    You have yet to disappoint me. I don’t say you never will, because it’s possible, but if you do, so what? That’s part of having real relationships. The only way you would be guaranteed not to disappoint me would be if I didn’t expect anything from you and that would mean we had no relationship whatever. I’m just as likely to disappoint you. I may already have done so. If so, I apologize, but it might happen again, from either of us, because we are still being saved from sin.

    I love you, brother, and your feelings are real, but there are truths that speak to them and have the power to bring a little light into the darkness you’re experiencing. I pray that light finds a way in and you feel some of that salvation sooner than later.

  • Tim

    Thanks for your honesty with the struggle. It helps those of us searching for shelter in the thunderstorms of the heart more than you can know. This world is not conclusion, and our salvation is nearer. Keep on keeping on. Peace.

  • Melissa

    When I feel this way, which is all too often, I have to remind myself that God doesn’t make trash and that I am “Someone Worth Dying For” (Mikeschair). So are you, friend.

  • harrisco

    Aaron – One thing I know, though I still find it almost impossible to comprehend — Jesus loved losers. He loved up some broken people. He went right to them, like a magnet–losers, dimwits, cheaters, folks other people crossed the street not to have to talk to. Right up to the end, on his day of execution, some thief was mouthing off to him–just being snarky and proud and, well, a loser–and Jesus did it again. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do…” He just loved him some losers–no matter how full and complete their loserdom was, no matter how deep the pattern. Like I said–this is virtually incomprehensible. But I choose to believe–and say to you now: There is no degree of loserdom Jesus will not love. There is no brokenness beyond his embrace. That is good news for all of us who are broken. You are in the great circle of his arms, Aaron. Nothing you do will change that. You are in, held, good.

    • harrisco

      PS… You are a loser maybe one one-hundredth of the time you think you are a loser. It is part of the nature of the illness, at least for me, to generate massive self-recrimination. I know how much those negative self-assessments hurt when they get going. I can hear how much they are hurting you right now. I am sorry for that pain. Extend yourself some grace if you can… or allow the commenters here to do it.

  • Nicole

    Thank you for your vulnerability and your willingness to share the hurt and pain that you are choosing to own and live through vs. silencing and hiding it. There’s power in calling out what’s present and accepting it for what it is and allowing God to to amazing things with it to show His glory and power. If we were strong enough to handle it all on our own then we wouldn’t need Jesus – but at times it’s hard to be reminded that on our own we aren’t good enough…especially in a society that says we have to do it all and do it well.

    My favorite song to listen to right now is Rock of Ages (http://marshill.com/music/albums/the-water-and-the-blood) because of the line “You died that i might live, costly grace you freely give” and “let me hide myself in Thee”

    Lifting up prayers for you!

  • Just. Damn. Good. Thank you!

  • No one should have to live with those feelings or the depression they cause. Surely, Jesus doesn’t want you to. His message is that there is an eternal father who loves unconditionally. None of us have any value without the creator, our source. Pick up that knowledge and use it as your identity. It isn’t easy in the beginning but it gets easier by the day if we CHOOSE to listen to God rather than those negative thoughts. Right now God is surrounding you and pouring love to you. All you have to do is accept it and CHOOSE to know it every single moment. Pay attention to your thoughts. If they turn negative, refer back to God’s overwhelming love. Jesus’ message was not about a lifeless belief, it was about a living PRACTICE. Practice this and in a very short time, you will feel the change.

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