Discouragement: to deprive of courage or confidence: to attempt to dissuade.
We've all been there. Somewhere. Sometime. Discouragement has been a part of our lives at one point. Perhaps you wanted to do something in particular like drive a yellow Lamborghini really fast through your town square and some well-intentioned person told you that you will probably get a ticket. Maybe they even told you they'd call the police on you! just kidding...
But discouragement does happen. You have a goal. You have a dream. You set out to accomplish that dream/goal. You share your excitement with friends or family during a time when it seems nothing could stand in your way. On the flip side, you've shared your disappointment with those same people when things were falling apart and you needed a shoulder to cry on or a willing ear.
One of my not-so-favorite trials in discouragement happened 20 years ago when I met my husband. We worked together, he was in the shop, I was in the office, and when people found out we were dating, everything was fine. I mean, it's only dating, right? That all changed the day I walked in with an engagement ring.
- What are you doing? He's not the right one for you.
- I wouldn't marry him if I were you. He's, well, (looks around to make sure no one's listening) he's different.
- You do know you're his first girlfriend, right?
- Your dad is going to disown you if you do this.
- How many times have you been engaged before and you really think this is going to work out?
- What are you going to do when he leaves you? You know he will.
But discouragement isn't the type of monster that only plays in one area of our lives. Job promotions, job changes, child-raising, homeschooling, sewing, baseball, karate, etc. You name it, the monster of discouragement will be there. It may even be hiding behind someone's nice. little. smile.
I have a dream. I want to be a good writer. I want to use my talents for Jesus Christ. I want to live for God. But, there is a person who is always telling me to quit. This probably isn't for you. I used to want to do....but it never worked out so...God probably isn't helping you because...maybe God has something different...maybe He's only allowed this because it's something you say you want...and again, the list goes on.
I know this person just may be right. Maybe God doesn't want me to do this. Maybe this isn't what He wants for my life. Perhaps I'm just being stubborn.
How to find God's voice in all this chatter? How to find God's will?
Pray. Ask for guidance. Ask for peace that only God can give. And, when that discouragement is pulling you down, remember that He is God and that He has a plan for you and a will for your life.
Be careful for nothing: but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. - Philippians 4:6-8
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. - Hebrews 10:35-36
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. - Galatians 6:9
What about you ~ are you dealing with the monster of discouragement in your life? What do you do to defeat this giant?