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Discouragement:  What can I do when I am discouraged?

Life Happens to everyone.  I was pre-recording a message for an upcoming Sunday morning service in which I share some of my favorite promises from the Bible.  One that I shared was 1 Corinthians 10:13:

13 No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

The first item that I noticed is that I never go through anything that someone, somewhere is either going through as well or have experienced it at some time.  It is a help to know that I am not being picked on and that every person goes through times of temptation and times of discouragement.  This verse serves as a reminder that whatever I may face to never forget that God is faithful!  He promises that He will not allow me to go through more than I can bear.  What I have learned is that I can bear much more than I believe I can!  Not only will He help us as we go through a tempting or difficult time, He will arrange an escape route.  Keep your eyes open for the route of escape that God is and will provide for you.

As we are facing times of discouragement it is good to ask ourselves some questions:  What is the why?  As disruption comes it is ordinary to get out of our routines and lose our equilibrium.    I must remember and ask myself “What is my why?”  Our routine may change but our values and purposes remain, so go ahead and ask yourself, “why do I do what I do?”  This will help you to maintain your balance during a time of disruption.

A question I have been asking myself during these days is: “what would my mentors do in this situation?”  My most influential mentors have passed away.  So, I must use my mind to examine this question.  This question has had a calming effect on me and has helped me to maintain perspective. If your mentors are still aroundsend a text or call them and ask them for advice.

Here are few other things I try to remember and implement when I am discouraged:

  • Find some easy wins.  Clean a closet, garage, or mow the lawn.  These are small things yet they are important enough to give you a sense of getting something done.
  • Talk to someone.  With the social-distancing, we are missing human contact.  One thing you may need to do today is to reach out and contact someone and have a conversation.
  • Keep to your sleep schedule.  It is easy to allow our sleep to be neglected as we stay up late binge-watching videos.  This leads to discouragement.  Get enough rest!
  • Exercise.  You may not be able to go to the gym but find some creative ways to get moving.  Your body, mind, and spirit, as well as your emotions, will thank you.
  • Be realistic.  You may not be able to do all things that you want to do or have on your list.  Re-evaluate and set a reasonable and realistic set of expectations for yourself.
  • Focus on solutions.  By now the problems have been highlighted and discussed by everyone.  Spend some time today thinking about solutions.
  • Don’t quit.  It is way too soon to quit.  This will pass, hang in there, we will get through this and come out on the other side.
  • Do not let what we are going through be our prison sentence.  This is an event, a period of time, this should not define you or your life.
  • Count your blessings.  The problem with focusing on problems is we tend to forget our blessings. Take some time today to number your blessings.
  • Find two people today that you can encourage.  When we are discouraged we wait for someone to come along and encourage us, why don’t you find someone you can encourage.  Start today!

I know this is a sad time and that discouragement hurts.  This is not the time to give up, this is the time to trust God and keep putting one foot in front of the other.  We will make it and it will be easier if we help each other.

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