Setbacks Are Part of the Process

When suddenly you seem to lose all you thought you had gained, do not despair. Your healing is not a straight line. You must expect setbacks and regressions. Don’t say to yourself, All is lost. I have to start all over again. This is not true. What you have gained, you have gained.


Sometimes little things build up and make you lose ground for a moment. Fatigue, a seemingly cold remark, someone’s inability to hear you, someone’s innocent forgetfulness, which feels like rejection – when all these come together, they can make you feel as if you are right back where you started.


But try to think about it instead as being pulled off the road for a while. When you return to the road, you return to the place where you left it, not to where you started.


It is important not to dwell on the small moments when you feel pulled away from your progress. Try to return home, to the solid place within you, immediately. Otherwise, these moments start connecting with similar moments, and together they become powerful enough to pull you far away from the road.


Try to remain alert to seemingly innocuous distractions. It is easier to return to the road where you are on the shoulder than when you are pulled all the way into a nearby swamp.


In everything, keep trusting that God is with you, that God has given you companions on the journey. Keep returning to the road of freedom.


P.S. You are enough.

Words from Henri Nouwen’s book The Inner Voice of Love.

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