If You Feel Like You're Bad at Life, Read This

by Emily Jensen October 10, 2023
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)

After a long day of giving the kids free play and a bit too much screen time, I looked up from my phone and felt defeated. I couldn’t really identify what I’d gotten done.

I hadn’t exercised or taken a shower. I remembered asking my oldest kids to start the laundry and clean their rooms, but did they ever do that? Walking by the dishwasher, I paused to look at the clean load and kept walking. The hours were slipping away, but I couldn’t seem to find enough motivation to do something about it.

At that moment, my heart was heavy. I longed to be a more naturally motivated, task-driven, productive person. Maybe that would make all of my responsibilities seem easier.

Have you ever felt this way? Like you have everything to do but you feel scattered and unmotivated to make progress on any of it? Sometimes, these feelings can be symptoms of a deeper struggle. But other times, these feelings are simply an unhelpful guest we invite in for an extended stay.

We’re tired of having to try so hard.
We’re tired of facing obstacles in everyday life.
We’d prefer for things to be easy and delightful.
We want heaven now.

As I search the Scriptures, I see that every person has different capacities, life circumstances, resources, gifts and personality traits. Some people are able to do more or have a bent toward productivity. Maybe due to their upbringing and the way they’re wired, facing roadblocks and failures or even just feeling tired doesn’t cause them to plop onto the couch and give up.

But while my personality and capacity might account for some of my frustrations with this type of weakness, deep down I know it’s about something else too. I harbor a flesh-fueled resistance to humbling myself before God, entrusting Him with my needs, and believing He will help me do the good works He’s prepared for me to do. 

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

God does want us to be hard workers who serve humbly (Philippians 2:14-15; Colossians 3:23).
He means for us to grow beyond spiritual infancy into maturity (Ephesians 4:14-15).
He doesn’t want us to stay stuck in old habits — He wants us to experience freedom and new life in Christ (2 Corinthians 3:17).

This list might feel overwhelming or convicting, but that’s because none of us are able to persevere in our own strength. We constantly fall short of perfection.

But God planned for our lack, and He’s not expecting us to get there in our own strength. No matter how weak and insufficient you’re feeling today, know that Jesus measured up on your behalf — He is enough where you are not enough. Through Christ, you’re loved, made new, and you’ve met God’s standards.  

Knowing and believing these truths is what motivates you to keep moving forward in things God has given you to do. You don’t have to spend any more time fretting about what you’ve done in the past or paying back the time you’ve lost; you can rest your heart in Christ. Thank the Lord for what He provides, and ask for help to do the next thing.

In our lack — lack of energy, motivation, self-discipline, perseverance or fresh ideas — we can look to Christ’s sufficiency and provision (2 Peter 1:3).

In our need — need of stronger desires and resources to serve with Christlikeness — we can have faith in God’s promise to “graciously give us all things” (Romans 8:32, ESV).

Heavenly Father, sometimes the thought of my responsibilities and the people I need to care for leaves me feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated. But I know You are not asking me to do these things on my own. Give me faith to come to You for help and wisdom so I can love and serve others in Your strength today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


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2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (NIV).

Philippians 3:12, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (NIV).

Describe a time when you felt frustrated by your own weakness. What is underneath your frustration? In what ways are you struggling to have faith that God can help you grow and change?

When you face hardship or obstacles today, what Bible verse or promise will you remember so you can approach the situation with faith?

© 2023 by Emily Jensen. All rights reserved.

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