Becoming Okay With Failure: My Mental Health

She’s wondering where the food is.

Readers, thank you for your patience as I have not been writing much lately. It seems like yesterday that I wrote to you all announcing the birth of my baby girl. Since then, I’ve been living in a blur of joys and poopie diapers. I was fortunate enough to have two months of paternity leave. That time has come and gone and now I have been back to work for nearly a month.

As I write this, I am enjoying my Thanksgiving break, or as I am calling it right now daddy daughter date day two (April went back to work yesterday for the first time in three months!). Sofia is sitting in her swing across the room, fortunately she is sound asleep (at least for now, but she’ll be awake and hungry any moment now), so I have a little time to share with you some of the things I have been thinking about through this current season.

Sofia when she found out I was watching her for the day!

I’ve been thinking about therapy. In October it seemed like everyone was emphasizing the importance of mental heath. Well, earlier this year I took the plunge. I finally decided to start going to a therapist. I think I may have mentioned struggling with sleep anxiety and I may have even mentioned going to a therapist before. But here’s the deal, it still feels like I shouldn’t be talking about all of this, especially at the end of my two month paternity leave.

Like why should I be bringing up how I am struggling when I have only worked six weeks since August and over the last 18 months I’ve mostly been able to work from home. Shouldn’t I be all refreshed? Through this time God has blessed me with more time with April, two cute doggies, and now the cutest little girl ever. Yet, I am sure you all can find common ground with me as fear has crept in. What if I fail at all this? What if I can only handle being home and going into work is too much for me?

April is the real rock in our family.

That is where the wisdom of my therapist comes in. Failure must be an option. I will be okay if any of my classes go badly, if I have a bad review, if someone at work says something offensive to me, or even if I am fired from my job. Yet, these are the fears that often wake me up at night. I will even be okay if I do not sleep well or at all.

So the other night as I was trying to fall back to sleep I decided to expect God to show up and take care of my day. It is clear I can’t make things work on my own. And the more I think about it, I am not supposed to. Somehow men have taken on the idea that to be a man we must be able to handle everything and never ask for help. That’s a direct slap in God’s face. He created us to need him. I have come to find that my days go better when I give up my desire to do it all on my own and ask God to show up.

Sometimes God showing up is something small like last week when one of my students brought me homemade Moroccan bread or when different coworkers and students have asked me about Sofia. Those small acts of kindness remind me that God is in my day. He cares about my joy. And if I know God shows up in the small things, then I know he will take care of me when the hard days come. So when I start to fear failing at my job or at being a dad, God reminds me that He will meet me there. Maybe that is what He meant when He said do not be afraid because he will be there in the midst of it all.

For me, that thought takes all the pressure off of me and it allows me the freedom to love on my baby girl which I need to go do as she is waking up from her nap. Pray that daddy date day two and three go smoothly or that if I fail at something with my little girl God shows up like he promised.

Teaching my little girl to read.

6 thoughts on “Becoming Okay With Failure: My Mental Health

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