Moment of honesty. I am writing this because I am in the octagon with discouragement right now, and he’s known for cheating. The questions is, who will tap out first.
Discouragement in teenagers is not much different from discouragement in adults; it’s simply amplified.
Teens can become discouraged because they:
– Don’t have as many friends or enough close friends as they would like
– Their world is out of control
– They feel like they are not making progress
– No one understands them
Adults can be discouraged because:
– Friends moving away dying, or just a lack of community
– THE world IS out of control and we we feel powerless to change it
– Not only do we feel like we are not making progress, we feel like we can’t even get the opportunity to make progress.
– No one understands us. We can’t get people to see our point of view or make the people understand how we feel. We feel like we are not being heard.
Yep, it sounds like we are still teenagers no matter how old we are doesn’t it?
So, what do we do about these recurring daggers of discouragement that stab at our consciences? There are two principles that come to mind that I have lived by most of my life. They are not perfect because I have seen discouragement win, but if I do not at least try, I lose by default.
Renew Your Mind
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
We have to re-train our brains from thinking discouraging thoughts such as: “God must hate me” and “I am useless”. This is self inflicted discouragement. Renewing our minds means we have to get rid of the old thinking that brings us down. Fighting discouragement is an act of the will as much as it is an act of the Spirit. The Spirit works with out soul, as much as we wil allow Him to.
That’s why Galatians says, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”
I need to allow the Spirit to nudge me with positive thoughts and bring to my remembrance scriptures, stories, and life experiences that clear away the negative thoughts so I can see God’s big picture. The Spirit is my trainer and cut man in the octagon. Between rounds I go to corner and listen. Not talk about my opponent Not talk about my injuries. Just listen. He tells me where I am getting my clock cleaned and where I need to improve.
Encourage yourself in the Lord
“And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” KJV I Samuel 30:6
Most of us will not face the extremity of David’s plight. No one is talking about physically stoning us, if they are, call 911. Now. But, there are people who prepare, some daily, to throw their emotional, mental, and spiritual stones at us. We have to spit in the face of negative thoughts. Some say these thoughts are from the devil, I disagree, I think the devil simply puts a megaphone to our own inner voice and amplifies it to distort the voice of God.
For me, I say stuff out loud. I want me to hear it, God to hear it, and the devil to hear. I have to snatch the mega phone from the devils hand and protest my own discouragement with words, scriptures, chants, songs, and declarations. I feel like this releases a ton of negative energy and starts the renewing process in my mind.
That’s it. Pau’s guide to kicking discouragement in the groin. I don’t think that is allowed in a traditional MMA fight, but it is in the spiritual octagon of prayer. Now, I am off to encourage myself and renew my mind. I hope you have a discouragement free day.
I share some thoughts on our enemy The Devil in an article about the Steve Pressman’s book Do The Work, where he refers to an invisible enemy called The Resistance.
Oh, and this pep talk from a 9 year old girl may help too.