Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member
We all have them. Sometimes they just make us angry, short tempered, feeling like we are worthless, feeling that we are displeasing God, and they make us just to want to give up. What are these things? Basically, at least for this blog post, they are tough days and tough weeks. Times where we just seem to be fighting negative thoughts and discouragement.
It’s Thursday as I write this and each day of this week has compounded upon the day before it and it has just been a struggle. First, there is just general and “normal” pain. I seem to be in physical pain all the time. Those of you who experience this know how tiring that can be. Then there is just are just people I talk to and things I read that make me sad or angry. Just hearing of the problems of others can bring us down. Then there is my work itself. I basically enjoy my work at the ministry, but there are times where I just can’t do another note or send another email when it seems like I have already done a thousand of them in one day. Then I think that my problems this week are not nearly as significant as some I have heard or read about. So why am I complaining? Then, the guilt and shame set it. It’s a vicious cycle. And what’s the end result? EMPTINESS AND DISCOURAGEMENT!! That’s pretty much me, this past week.
What are some of the causes of my discouragement? I’ve listed them above but let me go into a little detail. First, was just being exhausted physically. Pain, lack of sleep, health problems can all wear us down. That is what happened to me this week. While I am aware that pain is a part of my life, sometimes to be constantly fighting it to keep going just gets to be too much. Then, there is people I talk with and things I read. We all have struggles at time, but most of the time, we don’t want to talk about them. But in my job, I get prayer requests from people and a lot of them go from sad to heart-wrenching. Being a sensitive type, I tend to take them to heart. But when that gets too heavy, it drains our strength and energy. Finally, there is “hitting the wall.” That is what happened on my job this week. For some reason, what is usually no big deal, became something that I am just sick and tired of doing. Even though I could see a few results from my work, the process of working to get there was getting to be a problem to me. Like I said, I couldn’t write one more note card or email. My thoughts came in and I started thinking, “what a drag, man” (I guess that’s left over from my living in the hippie days). I got to the place where it seemed impossible to keep going, yet knowing that I had to.
So, before you all start thinking that I’m just moaning and complaining (OK, so I guess I am), I have a purpose for writing all this. Discouragement, is something we all face at one time or another. The question is, how do we handle it? The answer to that question can set the course to the rest of our lives. I just want to end today with a few thoughts of what I have been doing this week to overcome being discouraged. I take no claim to these; they are just things I have been doing to battle this time of discouragement.
First, I keep remembering that God is in control. All I know is that times of trial and struggle are a part of this life. Sometimes they come to us because of our selfishness and sometimes they come just to help us to grow closer to the Lord. Remembering what our Lord went through helps me. I read recently that we don’t realize how much Jesus went through in the garden of Gethsemane. He was in absolute agony! But he still submitted Himself to the Father and went through with suffering and dying on the Cross of Calvary. He knew that when it was over He would be gloriously reunited with His Father. We have the same thing in our future. We will be united with Jesus Christ forever. It’s important to see past the present
Second, I have been fighting against my thoughts. While in times past I can remember just giving into my negative thoughts, this time, by God’s grace, I did my best to fight against them. Proverbs 4:23 says: “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” I wonder if another way to say this is, “we are what we think.” Guarding our hearts from negative thinking help us come out of discouragement.
Third and last, we need to remember we have an enemy. Satan, is our mortal enemy. He wants to do everything he can to take us out of the battle. Discouragement is one of his best weapons in his arsenal. And he will not hesitate to use it. We need to remember that there is a spiritual, unseen war going on around us. We don’t understand it and we can’t see it. But it’s there. But we fight from a place of victory, “greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.”
I feel somewhat silly telling you about my little problems this week. If you read this, you may think that I’m just a wimp. I’ll take that chance. We are all different and we all have different breaking points. Personally, I have been through a lot worse than I am going through right now. It really doesn’t matter how big or small the problems are. What matters is that we handle the problems through faith in our Lord, through the power of our Lord who is in us, and by trusting His Word. God bless you!