So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. – Matthew 17: 20(NKJV)
Discouragement seeps strength from my bones. It’s the bully in the school yard calling me names. I remember those bullies. I always stood up to them even if I recruited others stronger than I. I sent my friends out like assassins to annihilate the bullies. Discouragement like bullies run when encouragement steps up in prayer and shows her fists. If it fails, encouragement says, you will go forward and keep trying. Anything worthy should push us to keep trying, using failure as a lesson and not as a demolished bridge to what could have been.
My past has littered paths of what-could-have-beens and failed ministries. They didn’t fail because of lack of trying; they slowed to a trickle after two years and I knew that God meant to end them. The what-could-have-beens were missed opportunities; the consequences of clouded judgment. Maturity and determination have helped me to find the right ministry according to my gifts and that, with prayer keeps me trudging forward even when cancellations occur or numbers are low. If you let it, discouragement can kick you in the knee caps and render you useless, missing a chance to grow.
The worst regrets are the moments in your life when you could have and chose not to pursue something worthy; something that could have impacted a life and turned it around. It could have glorified God if we just knew when and how to ask for help in the fight to stay encouraged. The reason bullies succeed lies in their knowledge of our weaknesses; the kinks in our armor where arrow pierces and our heart bleeds. Ministry can bleed us dry if we try to go forward bearing the load alone or we try to lead the wrong ministry not closely associated with our spiritual gifts. Encouragement remains when we stay in His arms and allow Him to control the ministry.
Bullies love people they can pound and push around. Discouragement does not need to be given a free hand in this. If my work fails, it won’t be for lack of trying or lack of endurance. If it fails, it will be God’s will and not mine. Meanwhile, I choose encouragement, prayer, God’s Word, and friends and family to keep me fueled.
Are you discouraged today? How are you asking for help?