Some days just suck!!! (sorry mom) Nothing seems to go right, bad news abounds liberally, and the people you care about most have been replaced by these aliens from the planet Uranus. Discouragement is a healthy aspect of life. It isn’t easy when it comes, but with a little bit of self-reflection you’ll realize what’s important to you. What you care most about will often become the most discouraging in your life. When your kids knowingly make mistakes or they treat you like dirt, it is discouraging. Why? Because we know their potential. We’ve seen their heart. We’ve worked hard to mold and shape them into productive members of society and some days it appears that all our hard work is for nothing. But we don’t stop.
Knowing My Goal Makes Me Stronger
A runner feels the burn. It is difficult to keep pushing those legs when they are burning so bad. But the goal in front of us makes us ignore the burn and realize that there is something better we are striving for. Don’t ever give in to the lie that it’s easier to stop when the pain gets hard. We move towards the goal because we or someone better than us has set it. A goal is rarely made in the battle. Usually, goals are made at the board table, sitting on a couch, or talking with a friend. These are the times when you have a clear head and can think straight. You can see the pain that the goal will bring but seeing the pain and feeling the pain are two different things. Rely on your crowd for strength because they see the goal and know you can do it and when you keep your eyes on the goal, the path to get there will start to fade.
Emotions Can Be Deceptive
After you fall and scrape your knee, if your mom was like mine, she would either spray it with Bactine (which says that it is non-stinging and it lied … EVERY TIME) or use hydrogen peroxide. Wincing in pain, I would say that it hurts and it’s bubbling and mom would always reassure me that if it hurts, it’s working. Our goals can motivate us in the beginning because we are strong and haven’t fallen down yet. However, when the pain comes we sometimes lose sight and think that this is the way it’s always going to be. We deceive ourselves and convince ourselves that the goal isn’t worth this, or that hope is lost because times are getting tough. Push through the cloud, focus on the prize, and keep going.
Friends Will Constructively Criticize … Not Discourage
Nothing is worse than when a friend tells you to give up. Not only does it make you question the goal you had in the first place but it also gives you the sense that you don’t have what it takes to keep going. After working hard for so long it seems that the goal is still in sight, but the pain is overwhelming. That’s when you need someone that partners with you through the struggle that has a better perception. Coaches stand on the sideline because they can see everything that goes on without getting tired. They can see what the opposing team strategy is and how it can be overcome. True friends should be able to look in your eye, criticize your efforts and know that their words have not fallen on deaf ears. The biggest difference between a discourager and a criticizer is that you know which one will help you up and keep pushing you forward.
Where Does God Fit In?
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 15:5,6
Unity in the body of Christ has been one of the most amazing lessons I have learned to this day. In order to have unity, you must be working towards the same goal. A body walks much better when both legs are facing the same way, the eyes are pointed forward and the arms are swinging in sync. Every Christian must first understand that Jesus Christ came to this earth to show us the example of how we are to encourage each other. Although Christ knew that his future rock would deny him, that he would be betrayed by his own, and that all would scatter, he still chose to wash each of their feet. When we have that kind of example, we have no excuse but to live that same way in accordance with other believers.
What Do I Do Now?
- Write down your goal and have it physically visible
- Ask what it’s worth to achieve it (this will help establish your priorities)
- When you start running, keep your eye on the goal
- Take to heart the criticisms of friends that truly want to see you succeed
- Do NOT discourage others!!!