Worthless

by Jonathan Trotter on June 7, 2015

I feel worthless.

The feeling rises and crests like an impending wave barreling towards the surface of my heart. And with each wave of worthlessness comes an intense weariness of soul, a near drowning.

The breakers seem to rise from nowhere. I can’t predict them, and that makes me mad. They’re not tied to whether my work or ministry is going well or faltering. They don’t seem to be related to whether or not folks approve of (or agree with) me. They just come. And break.

worthless.b

I wonder if I’m alone. Am I?

I don’t know enough of this language.
I’ll never know enough of this language.

I don’t know what I’m doing.
I have fewer skills than I thought I had.
I have fewer skills than they think I have.
I wonder when they’ll find out.

I haven’t accomplished what I came here to do.
I’ll never accomplish what I came here to do.
What did I come here to do?

This country doesn’t need me.
There are a lot of workers here already.
What can I do?

My passport country doesn’t need me.
There are a lot of workers there already.
I have nothing to offer.
I am worthless.

And the waves of worthlessness crash. And then I crash.

Do you know the feeling? I wonder how many of us know the feeling. I wonder how many of us have drowned in this feeling.

So now, I want to speak to the drowning ones, those gulping for air under the waves. To you, and to myself, I say “Remember your God who descends.”

“I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.
Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath.” 
Psalm 116:1-2

Allow these truths to wash over your soul:

God not only hears your prayer, He hears your voice. He hears you, not just some list of words strung together in the form of adoration or petition or whatever. He is near enough to hear your voice, and loving enough to care.

He descends. He bends down to listen, to hear you. He’s not a distant, aloof dad who requires his children to “speak up and for goodness sake enunciate.” He bends down to love you. This is your God.

He is not a God hidden away in a Holy Place, high on a hill. He is not sulking behind a giant curtain in a Temple, coldly demanding allegiance “or else.” He is a God who takes that Temple curtain, that holiness, and wraps it around His own flesh and blood and bones and joins you. And wonder of wonders, He wraps you up in His holiness, covering your worthlessness, calling you worthy.

Worthy of His affection.

Worthy of His love.

Even worthy of His dance.

So if you find yourself drowning in worthlessness, remember. Remember the King who descends. Remember the Father who sings. Remember that He loved you before you even accomplished breathing.

So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name
It is well with my soul.

More thoughts from the dark:
Demon & Divine

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About Jonathan Trotter

Jonathan is a missionary in Southeast Asia, where he provides pastoral counseling at a local counseling center. He also serves as one of the pastors at an international church. Before moving to the field with his wife of sixteen years and their four kids, he served as a youth pastor in the Midwest for ten years. He enjoys walking with people towards Jesus and eating imported Twizzlers. | www.trotters41.com | facebook: trotters41 | twitter: @trotters41
  • You are SO not alone. Thank you for being a voice of truth and hope.

    • Thanks so much, Kay! I’ve appreciated your honesty and vulnerability in this forum so much too!

  • Casey

    You have such a gift for putting words to feelings. Thanks!

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Casey! Sometimes I wish I could put words to feelings without having to experience the feelings first! That’s the messy part… : )

  • So beautiful. So powerful. So true. What a post, Jonathan.

    • Thanks so much, Danielle. And may you dance with Him throughout this new season of life. Oh, and say hello to my sisters at OCC! : )

  • Great post…

  • Abounding hope in Him.
    That was beautifully expressed, thanks. . Just happened to stumble upon the blog this morning and it was for sure a love note from God, a much needed love note.

    • That’s awesome! I’m so glad God does stuff like that for his kids…

  • Isn’t it just amazing that our Creator bends down to us, hears our voice, loves us? The picture is overwhelming! It makes me want to emulate that with my children. How tender and loving it is to really, truly hear someone.

    • Indeed! This passage has caused me to pause and think not only about my kids, but also as I work cross-culturally. Do I pause long enough to listen? To really hear what’s being said? Often we’re near enough to hear, but do we care enough to listen?

  • MaDonna

    The writer in me loved how you used self-dialogue in verse to relate the feelings of crashing waves. They start small and just seem to get bigger and stronger with each one. Engulfing. Overwhelming.
    But, the truth you carry in the words are so much more important.
    “He is not a God hidden away in a Holy Place, high on a hill. He is not sulking behind a giant curtain in a Temple, coldly demanding allegiance “or else.” He is a God who takes that Temple curtain, that holiness, and wraps it around His own flesh and blood and bones and joins you. And wonder of wonders, He wraps you up in His holiness, covering your worthlessness, calling you worthy.”
    May others hear the message and continue on the path that the Lord has called them to go.
    Thanks!

    • Thanks for the encouragement, MaDonna! And I whole-heartedly echo your prayer… “May others hear the message and continue on the path that the Lord has called them to go.”

  • Maggi

    You asked if you’re alone in this experience. That was a rhetorical question if I ever heard one! 🙂 (Why are so many people reading this blog?) I’m currently making my own list of personal favs here and this got put on it before I even finished reading! And I so relate to your statement in a comment to someone else: “Sometimes I wish I could put words to feelings without having to experience the feelings first!” That sure would be great!

    • Hey, thanks for the encouragement, Maggi! And may the God of all peace be with you as you “experience the feelings first.” : )

      • Maggi

        Thanks! He is. Keep writing – that’s one of the methods He uses to bring peace.

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