I have this obsession with dictionary definitions. As a society we throw around words when we don’t entirely know what they mean. There is power in those words to harm or to help others. So I want to start our with the definition of discouragement.
Discouragement is defined as a loss of confidence or enthusiasm, dispiritedness.
One of the biggest things I remember about coming home from my trip was being utterly discouraged. Before I got home I remember being so enthusiastic about taking on the world. I was ready to bring my new self, new experiences and new view of God home to ignite that same passion in others around me. But instead of the fire catching among friends and family, often I was met with opposition, discouragement and hearing “this is just the way we do things.” I had to figure out how to integrate the new me into a life that hadn’t experienced the same radical change.
Discouragement is part of life. Even just last week everyday seemed to be filled with discouragement. But the beauty of a week, even just a day, is that it starts over. It can be easy to get stuck in the dispiritedness when things don’t entirely go the way we expect. Getting stuck in complaining or arguing with others is easy to do and unfortunately only makes things worse. But it is important to keep going. Take that new part of yourself and don’t be afraid to be that person.
If we stay in the complaint mode of “America does this and those people do that, I completely disagree” then we miss out on opportunities to share Christ’s love to those around us. Start looking for the positive things and begin to start meeting people where they are at.
It’s important to have realistic expectations that aren’t too high or too low. More importantly, obtaining the ability to adjust to life. Being able to adjust, especially in transitions, will help in navigating even the worst circumstances. Figure out what are the unmet expectations and where they need to be adjusted in life.
Pursue the right thing.
When discouraged we tend to act out of emotions thus making us vulnerable to hurt other people with our choices and words. Despite what we may be feeling, always filter it through what is right. Don’t throw values and morals out the window just because it’s hard.
Ask for God’s perspective.
We can get stuck in focusing so much on ourselves and how we feel that we miss what God is trying to teach us through it. Struggles and disappointment are inevitable in life. God allows us to experience hardship to shape us and mold us more into Christ’s likeness. Spend time seeking God’s purpose in the midst of disappointment.
God works so powerfully in the middle of discouragement and when we come out on the other side there is strength and testimony that encourages others. Endure and share this strength with those in life!
What are you discouraged about right now? How have you worked through your discouragement in the past? Comment below!