Purposeful Faith

When You Feel Like You’re Running in Circles

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

On a cool afternoon in late fall, I mow straight lines across our long expanse of lawn. I’m surprised by how much I enjoy it.

I see the neat rows of freshly cut grass growing with each trip across the yard. It is obvious when I miss a spot. As the strips freshly manicured section gets increasingly larger, I view my work with satisfaction.

Why do I enjoy this so much? It’s simple, really. For one, I get some quiet time of reflection without listening to kids bicker or ask me for snacks every five minutes. But second and perhaps more importantly, I see visible results.

I know when I haven’t done the job well because the results speak for themselves.

Other roles in my life are not this simple. They are complicated, and often leave me wondering whether I’m making an imprint.

I explain a complex subject to my six-year-old, but I’m not sure he understands. My husband and I make efforts to instill strong morals and character into our boys, but there are days when it seems as though everything we’ve been striving towards is falling apart.

On a bitter cold morning, I attempt to capture thoughts that go deep into the core of me on the page, but can’t quite grasp them. The cursor blinks mockingly and self-doubt creeps in before I’m able to type a single word. I wonder if I’m wasting my time.

I wonder if what I say resonates with anyone.

I see a pile of laundry looming in the corner and think, “Didn’t I just tackle that yesterday?” Before the day has even begun, thoughts of defeat overtake me.

Then, as God often does, he sends a reminder that strikes just the right chord. I realize my current state is temporary, but so much of me longs for the eternal.

My yearning for results often reflects a glory which will not be realized in this lifetime, but in the next.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV

I am a planter of seed. I am a light in a temporary casting. I am a mere reflection of the One whose glory I will behold. A glory I long for so deeply at times it aches.

So often, I believe we become discouraged because it seems as though we are moving in circles. Saying the same things to our loved ones and kids over and over. Teaching the same lessons.

But friends, the truth is always worth repeating. People forget because it is their nature. We are still living in a flesh that continually pulls us away from what is true, what is eternal, what is lasting.

We continue to fight because the fight is worth it, even if we don’t see the result right away or even if this lifetime. We fight because we are more than conquerors through him who loved us first.

We long for that which we cannot see because of Him in whose image we were created.

Do not give up. Do not lose heart. You were made for more than anything this world has to offer.

As you lay your head on the pillow tonight, ask yourself this: Did I love? Did I open my arms in grace? Did I help someone who needed it?

If the answer to any one of those questions was yes, it was not in vain. Keep pressing forward, dear one. Your reward will be great.


Guest Contributor

Abby McDonald is mom, wife and southern girl who fell in love with writing at a young age. She started Fearfully Made Mom because she felt God gently pushing her to share her writing with others who may feel alone in their struggles with self-doubt, accepting God’s grace, and finding their identity in Christ. Her desire is to show women they are fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who will relentlessly pursue them, even during their darkest times.

When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, Abby enjoys hiking, photography, reading, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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Kelly, a fun-loving, active and spunky mom of two rambunctious toddlers, spends her days pushing swings, changing diapers and pursuing the Lord with all her heart. Called a "Cheerleader of Faith", Kelly's greatest desire is to help women live passionately, purposefully and unencumbered for the Lord.

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15 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Abby, these words hit me today right where I need them. I often feel like I’m running in circles and getting nowhere… in a lot of aspects of my life. You’re right… The truth can always stand to be repeated, because we are fickle and we forget. I love this post and I love you.

    • So glad to hear it was a word you needed, friend. That’s always my hope because I know I need them too. I think sometimes he just gives us little glimpses, but nothing will compare to what’s to come. Thanks so much for your encouragement here. Love you too. xoxo

  • Beautiful post, Abby! Thank you for the encouragement to keep on keeping on–even though the results are not always apparent. Some days (such as today when the students have seemingly forgotten the lesson you thought you’d done a great job of teaching the day before), I just need lots of reminders!

  • Abby,
    I could picture myself in this post. You hit home, inserting my name (and many others I imagine) right there, on that lawn mower, with those children, in the midst of the laundry piles. We’ve been in the trenches, questioning, wondering, but in the end we continue to run. Thank you for the reminder and encouragement to continue the race. xo

    And Kelly~ LOVE the new web site & your cheerleading on here.

    • I had a feeling I wasn’t the only one. 😉 When I wrote this I was actually going through a bit of writer’s block and then the words just came to me. God is so good. Thanks for your kind words, Kristi. You bless me today.

  • Does your heart felt words resonate with anyone? Yes ma’am. Right here. Thank you so much. Just what I needed to read today. You are such a gifted writer. Beautiful.

  • Oh sweet sister, your words resonate loud and clear. Your mowing is my walking down my LONG driveway to my mailbox to get the mail, the utter quiet is so sweet then I feel like I’m thrust back into the reality of 5 demanding young people. Your grace words encourage me today to give another kiss, give another hugs, show a little more grace.

    • You make me smile, Tyra. Those long walks are nice, aren’t they? The trip to my mailbox is short, but I enjoy it. Even if my three-year-old is waving at me from the window. 😉 Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here.

  • Hi Abby,
    Thank you for this sweetly spoken, gentle encouragement to keep on keeping on. The successes we think we need to have in our ‘ministry’ of wife and mother are not easily seen or measurable by worldly standards, much less acknowledged. It is essential that we lean on the Lord and rely on His leading to know that when we operate in obedience and His love, we are sowing into a harvest that is promised, but may or may not be seen anytime soon. Thank you for this – I have been fighting this battle in my mind for weeks.
    Blessings – Trish

    • Me too, Trish. Me too. God has been faithful in leading me to the right words in scripture to set my mind on what is true. Thanks so much for stopping here and for your encouraging words.

  • I so frequently feel like I am going in circles, and wonder if I am making any progress…doing any good, or just wasting my time. I think your words resonate with many, probably most people reading them. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • What encouraging words, Abby. We mothers ALL feel like this. (Or maybe it’s all WOMEN, or maybe in fact ALL PEOPLE feel this way.) I can relate to the longing for tangible results. I had kind of a hard day today, but I realize I can answer “yes” to two out of three of your questions at the end. I guess I’m doing better than I think. I’m sure we all are.

    • I’m so glad you were encouraged, Betsy. I’m praying your weekend gets better, friend. And yes, I think we are harder on ourselves than we need to be sometimes. Much love to you.

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