If you and I were to grab a cup of coffee today and if I were to share my heart with you, this is what I’d say.
I struggle with discouragement.
I fight against it like a boxer in a ring. Some days I win, but many more days I lose.
I pray weekly…who am I kidding, I pray daily against it.
I hate that my struggle with discouragement is ongoing. It never seems to take a vacation.
There are days when I count the cost and if I allow my heart to lead my mind…I wonder if all the struggles, if all the trials, if all the sacrifices are really worth it. And when I allow my heart to lead my mind down this well-worn road, I allow temptation to make me wonder the “what ifs.” What if I stopped serving? What if I stopped writing? What if I stopped leading and helping women get into God’s Word every day? Just think of how much easier my life would be. How much more time I’d have to do other things? How less stressed that I’d feel.
There are days when I intentionally have to turn off the emotions I’m feeling and the doubts that flood my mind the moment I wake up and instead choose to move, choose to get out of bed, choose to work…regardless of how I’m feeling. Because this is the truth, this world is not my home and it’s not yours either. Life here is not perfect. We don’t always get the happily ever after or the happy endings…not this side of heaven at least.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
I don’t think I’m alone in my struggle with discouragement. I think Paul got discouraged from time to time, too.
And that’s why I love reading, 2 Corinthians 4:8-9…in a strange way, it encourages me.
Paul, a man seen as a hero in our faith was also a man who knew trails, pain and discouragement. Just like me, and I’m guessing…just like you, too.
Paul’s life was far from perfect and not even close to being called “easy,” yet he pressed on. Even in the midst of the struggles and discouragement he put aside his emotions and followed hard after God.
Looking at Paul’s ministry in light of the world’s definition of success, Paul was not very successful.
And yet despite the discouragement, setbacks and struggles…he continued on.
And we should, too.
Like Paul, we can still choose to be brave when we are discouraged.
Why? Because of God’s promise that He will never leave or abandon us. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
For every reason we have to be discouraged, is also an opportunity to glorify God.
It is hard for the world to see the difference Christ makes in our lives when our lives seem perfect and worry-free. Yet, when life knocks us down and we choose to be brave and get back up, those in our lives notice. Like Paul, when we are hard pressed by life’s circumstances, yet not crushed…we are given the opportunity to display the difference Christ makes in our lives.
Our struggles are real, but so is our Savior.
Discouragement does not discriminate, but neither does God. He freely gives us His power and exactly what we need to be brave in the midst of our battles.
My prayer for me and for you is that God will give us spiritual eye-sight, not just physical. Eyesight to see the world the way He sees it, so even though what we see may be discouraging, we know from Mark 10:27, that nothing is impossible for God. God is always working in the midst of our lives.
Let’s choose to be brave in spite of the discouragement life throws our way and instead, choose to move forward in faith knowing God is with us each step of the way, regardless of how we feel.
Love God Greatly,
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