Today for some reason I am feeling really discouraged. I'm overwhelmed with everything that I want to achieve, and not seeing any results yet from my efforts is holding onto my thoughts and my heart...
At what point do I take a step back, look at my choices, and then decide what to do about them?
Am I being true to myself?
Am I following God's plan for my life?
Should I give up?
Should I quit?
I know that failure breeds success. I know that if I never try that I will never succeed. I know that I may have to fail for months or more before I see results from my endeavors. I know, I know, I know.... That doesn't mean that every once in awhile it won't get a little heavy.
The answers to the questions above are actually pretty easy to figure out. I am right where I belong. I'm still learning what victory looks like, and although I am making mistakes along the way I'm learning. Victory is somewhere along the road I am walking, I just haven't reached my destination yet. I know that my story will be fraught with struggles. With little wins, and maybe big loses, but I will get there.
So today I started searching google for some advice. Discouragement is a pretty easy topic to find things on. Did you know that Discouragement is a disease unique to human beings and that its universal? Eventually everyone gets it. I have no doubt that you have experienced it at one time or another. You might even be discouraged about something right now. For a lot of people they find it an ongoing battle to just get up on Monday, pick up their sword and shield, and fight through the desire to just stay at home and do nothing.
So what causes Discouragement?
#1 Cause is Fatigue
When your physically or emotionally exhausted, your a prime candidate to be infected with discouragement. Your defenses are lowered, and the feelings find a way to creep in and take hold of you.
#2 Cause is Frustration
When you can't seem to get caught up, and everything starts to pile up around you its easy to start feeling overwhelmed. Then when something small or unexpected occurs that prevents you from doing what needs to be done you really can get frustrated and that causes discouragement.
#3 Cause is Failure
Sometimes, know matter how hard you tried, your best laid plans fall apart. Maybe someone doesn't show that said they would be there. You miss your deadline for your project. The deal falls through. You have an empty challenge group or meeting... So how do you react? Do you give up and give in to self-pity? Just as someone said, "Just when I think that I can make ends meet, someone comes along and moves the ends...!" Now that is discouraging!
#4 Cause is Fear
Fear is found behind our discouragement a lot more than most of us would care to admit. We fear failure, criticism from our peers, maybe we fear success a little, and a lot of us fear the responsibility that may come from success. Whatever is it that you admit to yourself as the reasons for your fear, it can cause a major dose of discouragement. Fear ties our hands, our hearts and our minds and locks us in.
So what can I do to fight back and defeat Discouragement?
Depending on what your beliefs are, there are different ways to help you get through whatever your struggling with. For me I have a belief and a faith that God will guide me through. For others it may be Self-Help books, (which I do also read by the way...), or a friend or respected colleague to lift you up. Whatever your source for help is, use it as often as you can. Here's what I've learned, and have to remind myself of each time that I find discouragement taking over me.
First, I rest my Body. When I need a break, I take one. Stepping away from the cause of the frustration for even just a little while can be more effective than anything else. You can't burn both ends of the candle for long, and not get burnt out.
Second, I try to reorganize my list of Priorities. Sometimes a simple shift in what I'm trying to do can help immensely. That doesn't mean I am losing sight of the goal or giving up. It just means that I am taking a different path to get there. The destination remains the same, but the way I get there may alter a little. Sometimes you just have to Shake Things Up!
Third, I personally make myself remember that GOD WILL HELP ME! I just need to remember to ask Him. So often I forget that He is the reason that I am here and why I'm able to do the things that I do. He blessed me, and He promises to guide me. I just have to remember to ask, and then He will grant me new energy, and motivate me to carry on.
And Fourth. To simply Fight Back and RESIST Discouragement. Discouragement is a choice. If your feeling it, its only because you have chosen to let it take hold. That doesn't mean that you wont ever face it, but its what you do when it rears its ugly head that matters. Just remember that no one is forcing you to feel this way, but if you hold fast and fight back, that those feelings will go away. Heck, just doing some research, reading and typing this story out has helped me in battling mine today.
So I guess the question is, are you willing to FIGHT BACK or are you just going to let the disease take hold and keep you from your goals, and dreams?
I hope not....