When You Don’t Quite Measure Up: #FailingAtLife

Random would be the word to describe the week I’ve had.

Extreme highs and lows and a few plateaus in between have left me with something of a dull stomachache, sleepless nights, and not just a few questions.

It’s getting toward the end of the year, and while many are whiling their time away at Christmas parties, end-of-year celebrations, and wrapping up presents and unfinished business, I feel like I’ve been running a marathon to get to the end.


The end may not come until midnight on the 24th.


At the beginning of this week, I hopped a bus (because if I can avoid flying I will) to Melbourne with a deep sense of panic.

The anxiety levels are high and it’s hard to know why even when I avoid the sky that they make me want to cry. (See how I busted a rhyme just there?)

Two days later, I returned by bus feeling more content.

I had been asked to do an out-of-the-blue speaking engagement which included a bit of singing, a bit of multimedia and even an instructional workshop on how to make a paper crane (read: dove of peace), and it had gone well.

The people had loved it, and they affirmed it. It’s nice to be affirmed. It’s comforting and brings joy to know that energy you have spent on creating something is of value to others.

Those moments spent crafting, writing, editing, folding, carving the angel out of the rock had resulted in a good outcome, and while not perfect, made at least some hearts sing.

The good people who had listened to my presentation were generous enough to tell me that it had touched them.

I returned to something of a small storm however which has left me reeling.

Exhausted, I wearily trudged home for a few hours sleep, then to a funeral of another fellow creative, and then to work.

As the next days passed, the feeling of at least a small sense of victory very quickly turned to a feeling of not only “not measuring up”, but of being fairly broken and unsure of how to fix it.

I had been challenged by someone about my commitment which was hard to hear.

A list of my faults followed, to which I responded, maybe somewhat passive aggressively, but, also, with genuine tears.

They were tears of exhaustion, guilt, confusion, anger, and indignation. But also, they were tears of resignation.

Whether in friendships, personal endeavours, creative pursuits, or work, it’s not an easy thing to hear that you haven’t quite lived up to the mark.

So, it’s been on my mind.

This time of the year is hard to stay motivated, right? can I get an “Amen?”

But I’ve kept going, if imperfectly.

And then to hear that my pretending hasn’t been so successful makes me wonder, why should I pretend?

Is it possible that we can’t always be at 100 percent?

Last year I blogged about how we only really work at about 20 percent of the time, and if we are employed full time, that we are really only “on” for one or two of those days.

Do what you will with the downtime, be it email checking, mindless admin, checking out unicorn outfits for your cat on eBay, you will not always be performing at 100 percent.

But what happens when you’re called on it, and you realise that, in fact, even though you are a reasonably motivated and generally compassionate person; that your care factor has dropped below zero for some of your more important tasks?

And is that okay?

Is it just the time of year or does everyone think this of me?

Can we give ourselves permission to rest?

I know I can’t.

Catholic guilt plays a part in that, but what would the Lord say? would the Lord say I’d done enough or that I need to pick up my game? Does God even work like that or love us as we are, even when we are feeling lazy?

So. There are lots of thoughts rolling around here.

Matthew 11: 28 says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

But what happens when you can’t rest? What happens when you are so deeply in need of rest that something has to fall down? What happens when you have given as much as you can, and it’s still not good enough, and you don’t measure up?

I am trying to end with hope.

As I am able to do, I’ll pull myself up by the bootstraps, but, should I go down fighting? stay tuned.

And a little PS.

Someone special mentioned to me upon reading this that, actually, I don’t need to measure up. God’s grace is enough. Suffice it to say I’ll be singing some Matt Maher for the rest of the day: Matt Maher: Your Grace is Enough

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