Discouragement can catch up with the best of us. No matter how positive our outlook or how determined our resolve, we all go through periods of discouragement. At times we don’t even know for certain what caused the feelings, while there will be other periods of life where Murphy’s Law comes into play and virtually everything that could go wrong does indeed go wrong. As long as we live in a fallen and broken world, discouragement is inevitable.
The key, of course, is how we recover. As followers of Jesus, discouragement has no long term place in our lives. If you find yourself sinking ever deeper into discouragement, (or its close cousin, depression), then it is your duty to find a way out as quickly as possible. We are called to victory in Christ, not despair. No matter what occurs in your life, what remains is the fact that Jesus loves you more than His own life and that His power is available for the asking. If we have devoted our lives to Him, we have already overcome anything this world can throw at us. This doesn’t mean life will be easy, happy, or free from discouragement, but it certainly should allow us to look at life with a different perspective.
On this blog, we generally focus on what our duties are as we strive to be true followers of Jesus. What we don’t spend a lot of time on are the rewards of being a follower. The reason for this is that even without the rewards and privileges associated with following Christ, we would follow Jesus anyway simply because of our love for Him. There are rewards however; we are now heirs to the Kingdom of God. Jesus freely gives all that He has to us; His love, His grace and His power. It’s easy to read words such as these and simply move on. Take a moment and really consider all that you have in Christ. It’s mind-blowing and almost beyond belief.
If focusing on the power of God is not enough to lift you from your discouragement, try taking inventory of all the blessings in your life. Nearly half the world lives on less than $2 dollars a day. What would you do if your income was $60 per month? How would your life change? Picture yourself having to live on that amount, then make a list of all the possessions, conveniences and luxuries you now have that would go away if you had to live on $2 per day. For extra credit, enter your income at the ‘Global Rich List’ web site to see where you rank. It’s a humbling realization. Pray over your inventory of blessings, thanking God for each and every one. It’s hard to be depressed or discouraged when you realize how amazingly blessed you are.
Finally, you must do something to improve your situation and your mindset. You must take action; you can either choose to remain motionless and allow life to continue to happen to you, or you can choose to move and throw yourself into life and force it to react to you. Refusing to move virtually guarantees you will stay in your discouragement. God gives you the strength and power to pull out of your state of mind, but you must actively utilize that strength. We were designed to live in an interactive communion with God. It takes two to dance this cosmic tango and we must do our part. Realize that we were created for purpose and we were designed for motion; so get moving! We are far too blessed to feel depressed and far too gifted to be discouraged. Change something in your life, do something different tomorrow from what you’ve done before. Sometimes simply participating in a worthy endeavor, especially one we’ve not attempted before is enough to shake us from our rotten mindset. Be kind to a stranger, buy lunch for a friend, or help a neighbor. Remember your blessings and the person you are in Christ. Don’t revel in your discouragement; instead, recover from it!