Discouragement is one of the most powerful adversaries in anyone’s life. And it is one of the most common. It is a trap that snares our minds into believing the negative thoughts and as a result, we feel hopeless and desperate. That is why it’s so powerful. Discouragement can force us into submission and make us want to quit. Don’t play games with it. It will rob you of life, sometimes literally.
It tells us the same message over and over. It is the message to quit, that your efforts are worthless, that you are worthless, that you can’t do this, that no one really believes in you or your vision, that you will look like a fool, and that your idea will not make a difference. And it keeps repeating those messages to you. As a result, those messages become the filters by which you interpret your circumstances, the people around you, and your own efforts.
I know this firsthand. I’ve fought against it on the battlefield many times – when I started a church, when I wrote a book, when I ran a marathon, and still today when I blog, I face it regularly. It is a common experience for all of us, but especially for those who are giving their souls to create something new. The voice of discouragement seems loudest at the very start or near the end. But all along the way, it is continuously attempting to take your courage.
What do you do? First, decide beforehand that you will not succumb to its loud voice. Second, learn to recognize its voice. You will know it by your emotions. When you are feeling hopeless, you are listening to discouragement. Third, get up immediately and do something proactive. Just recently I received some discouraging news. I let it simmer for a couple of hours and then I decided to do something about it. So I went to work on a brand new project on my brain. The discouragement became motivation for me. I could whine or I could work. I worked. Find a way to fight it. Ask yourself what you can do to overcome this enemy. What gives you strength? Courage? Perseverance? On the other hand, what takes those things away? Lean into the encouragement and avoid the discouragement.
If you are pursuing the call of your heart, then know this: You will have to fight and defeat discouragement before you succeed. No one ever succeeds without those battles. There is no way around it.
What about you? Do you know the power of discouragement? Tell us about it in the comments.