A Cure for Discouragement

IMG_0570Stop a minute and tell me if your Christian shield has been quite strong, and that you have not experienced, not even for a second, being discouraged at all. This too is time for honesty, and I want to tell you this: There are times I have been down and out. Discouraged because my desires have been unfulfilled and my expectations have been unmet. Feeling as if the world has caved in under me, I find myself floating in mid-air, without support, unhappy.

I am discouraged because I have been disappointed. Disappointment too results to discouragement. These two words— disappointment and discouragement— may differ in meaning, yet one of their similarities lies in the number of letters both words have—fourteen. Their other similarity is in their effect on the Christian.

What must you do? I don’t have the fool-proof answers, except perhaps puny replies to your questions. But there is wisdom from the life of one who has been there— down in the dumps— and has risen to tell his story. Would you listen? Firstly, Examine the records— your track record, the records of your past. This is not easy to do if you think you are the most fit if not the most perfect man in the neighbourhood. But if your suggestions and methods and acts too have ended in failures, welcome to the world of imperfect human beings! We—you and I— need each other for company.

Examine the past. Know why you are discouraged. Try looking into the deepest recesses of your soul, and find out if you yourself have not been contributory to it. Maybe your expectations are too unreasonable if not too high. Maybe the other people’s failures have been caused by your failures too. Maybe you have failed to consider their potentials. Or yours. Maybe you have failed to take a second look at your demands and expectations. Or theirs. Examine everything. Discouragement may have resulted from one’s failure to look in, out, over, under, or around. With your hazy judgment at best, you will fail. And your failure is the best enema Satan can insert into the rectum of your soul to discourage you. Think of it though as a treatment if your soul constipates, or as a way to diagnose what’s wrong with you. Turn the table on the devil.

Secondly, It takes faith as big as a mustard seed and courage bigger than your heart to work through the web of destroyed relationships and be rewarded with solutions in which the discouraged will emerge as winner. Have faith though. Be confident. You will emerge, come out of it, albeit with scars.

Thirdly, Be vulnerable. There is a fine line between the controllable and the uncontrollable, and it is best to admit that anything can spin out, and you can’t do anything about it. If you prepare and arm yourself with a good armament, your enemy will rearm himself with the better one—and it becomes a race to top one another with arms that do the most damage, a race that won’t end. The prophet Jeremiah under the inspiration of God knew this too well, and advised Judah to submit to Babylon— in short, be weak, and God would make you come out strong. On the spiritual spectrum, very few admit this, but vulnerability is the greatest weapon of the weak to emerge victoriously. Jesus allowed his enemies to run roughshod over his rights, and in the end He won. Christians— Jesus’ disciples— too can become conquerors through Him and because of Him. They who have lain on the dusts of defeat will someday rise again. Sown as a seed in a patch of dirt, a plant will grow into a tree. Vulnerability stops the buck, allows us to emerge as winners, and lets God do wonders in our lives.

Fourthly, Work. Work small and in silence without the lights being focused on you. Work behind the lights. Work without it. Even a small effort does not go unnoticed, but those who do such small jobs do not have drumbeaters marching on before them. If you always want to be noticed, you are in for more discouragements. Hate publicity. We’ve already got the noisiest group in the neighbourhood—they come with much fanfare and will vanish with or without it.

Fifthly, Treat discouragement as some kind of a baggage. Leave that baggage when the next train arrives. Or leave it at the next station. Even ships in Jonah’s time knew the secret of surviving under a storm: Throw the heavy weights over board. You cannot carry discouragement around for long and forever. Death finishes it. So why not finish it before death comes?

Sixthly, Flock with the great influencers. Minimize if not stop the influence that the discouraged and the discouragers have on you, and go find a better company. Find a better read. I too am a copycat and I copy Paul. I copy what he did when he was down; I claim as my own what was promised him and to every Christian; I too nurture myself with his hopes.

Lastly, Live. Live as if something better will come. Stillness too comes after a downpour. Storms will cease. Tsunamis will end. Live as if today were your last. If you do, you will cure not only your discouragement but also your procrastination. If you do, you will live better today. Live as one with a purpose. You must admit that at one time or another, someone has touched your life, therefore live to touch others. If you cannot be the sun, be the moon— reflect the light that you receive. Candles come in various sizes and shapes; you may be a small insignificant candle with a wick one-eighth of an inch long, almost ready to burn out. Burn still. Or you may not be the best guiding light there is in the world today but still you are a guiding light, and that’s what matters. Live for Him. He is all that matters.

Reflect on all these things.

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