Monday, March 14, 2011

Discouragement and Encouragement

Today I've been thinking about how easy it is for me to get discouraged lately.  I don't think I am typically someone who feels discouraged easily.  This seems to be a recent phenomenon.  Usually it takes a lot to discourage me.  Maybe I've been feeling discouraged more recently just because I don't feel like I belong anywhere these days.  (I'm thinking of a whole post on this later.)  But for now it seems that any little thing makes me want to have my very own pity party for one and sing the old song "Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I'm going out to eat worms".  Yes, for those of you who don't know, it is a real song.  Well I haven't gotten to the worm eating part yet, but just because I'm wise enough to eat some chocolate instead. 

I'm not sure why it's so easy for us to be discouraged.  Maybe it's partially the fault of our American society that has raised a generation of critical people who tend to tear people and their ideas down instead of encouraging them and building them up.  It could be that our churches or other groups of Christians have caused us to feel like we just don't measure up to some standard.  It could even be a spiritual attack from our enemy.  Whatever the reason, we can be easily discouraged.  We can become discouraged when our children make wrong choices and we know they know better.  We can become discouraged when we hear of a party that we aren't invited to.  We can become discouraged when we don't seem to have any close friends.  We can even become discouraged because we see someone that we believe has it all together and we know that we don't. 

No matter how we get there and whether or not it is hard or easy for us to become discouraged, we have all been there. We've all been discouraged.  We all know the pain of discouragement and the desire to just give up the fight.  We are human.  We at times feel defeated, unwanted, unloved, unmotivated and these feelings make us want to just stop trying.  Stop forging ahead and just resign ourselves to just getting by.  But God has so much more than that for us.  He wants us to not to be overcome, but to be overcomers.  Not to just make do and get by, but to forge ahead for His kingdom and in His name. 

Understanding my fragile emotional state of late helps me realize the importance for us as Christians to keep on encouraging one another.  Several times in the Bible we are told to encourage one another...even daily.  I think we need to be encouraged daily because it is so easy for us to become discouraged.  How can I encourage someone else?  We can encourage others with our words and with our actions.  Have you ever met someone who was an encourager?  Someone who seems to build up everyone they are around?  It doesn't take a lot to encourage someone.  For example,  here's just a partial list of things off  the top of my head that have encouraged me in the past few days:
  • A card from a friend telling me that she is praying for me.
  • A phone call just to chat.
  • Dinner out with friends.
  • Lunch with my parents.
  • Watching my kids play together and tenderly care for one another.
  • Watching my kids make new friends.
  • A long overdue coffee date with another mom.
  • Chocolates in the mail.
  • Flowers from Jake.
  • A date with my honey.
  • Reading the books of Luke and Acts.
  • Hearing about God at work in other parts of the world.
  • A friend's news that he is going on his first short term mission trip.
  • Cupcakes baked and delivered by a friend.
  • Hearing the stories of kids in AWANA who want to be missionaries when they grow up.
  • The excitement of kids as they earn and save money to care for children in an orphanage.
  • Helping a friend complete one of her long overdue tasks.
  • Meeting a group of elderly ladies that pray for my family on a regular basis.
Each of these things encouraged me and helped drive away my discouragement and even made me feel like they were prompted by God just to encourage me and to keep on going.  I am so grateful for each one.
What can you do to encourage someone today?



Stumbler said...

Chocolates by post eh? :-) More encouragement on the way.... of a type not yet sent! (But one of my favourites.) Z.

@ngie said...

So true, Denise. Encouragement makes a big difference.

Can I encourage you today? I like you. You are missed deeply. I know you are walking a tough road right now but I know you are going to make it. You are strong, full of faith and full of the fullness of God. Let's talk soon, okay? Abrazos y besos amiguita mia.