We all have things & times that are discouraging – a job that falls through, a relationship that goes sour, a poor grade at school, etc. I don’t think that anyone is immune from having some discouraging moments in life. But the key is what we do with those times & situations. Here are some things that have been helpful to me with the discouragement topic:
- just because I failed at something, that doesn’t make me a failure
- keeping my eyes on God & His promises are more helpful than fixating on the discouragement (we can’t ignore problems, but we can’t let them own us either)
- keep going – if I’m not careful, discouragement can get pretty heavy & bog me down, so I tell myself to take one step at a time, even if they’re baby steps
- working out – physical exercise is a great way to burn off some discouragement
- laugh – sometimes it helps me to be goofy, it lightens me up which is helpful because I tend to be pretty serious in my normal living
- listen deeply – I find that God’s voice can really help speak light & truth to the discouragement that can try to reside in my thoughts
May you be strongly encouraged today that you are deeply loved & highly treasured!
Ok, I just saw the movie, The Help & I read the book a few weeks ago & I’m a convert – loved it!!! There are so many great take-aways from both the book & the movie with such great life lessons 🙂
One thing that keeps getting repeated in my brain is the quote to a little two year old girl in the movie, “you is kind, you is smart, you is important.” These are such powerful words & have such positive imagery, not only for a 2 year old but for all of us. With this in mind, I think it’s super important to consider what we say to each other. Words that affirm, encourage, support, compliment, refresh, strengthen & even give affection are so necessary in our lives. I genuinely believe that the people who are in our lives in all of the many different contexts need such encouragement. And who knows, words like, “you is kind, you is smart, you is important” just might change the world, one person at a time 🙂
We all have had the experience where something has happened or someone has said something & we were left speechless. Sometimes, we’ve had people say things that have been really hurtful. Sometimes, we are in a situation that is very difficult to know how to respond. Sometimes, a conversation goes in a direction that can be uncomfortable. These are just a few examples of when we might be left “speechless”. Thankfully, I’m starting to learn to say less than what I think – whew! But what should we say in difficult situations, conversations etc?
Here are some thoughts:
- be encouraging – look for something positive if you’re expected to make a reply
- wisdom, the leading of the Holy Spirit, helps us to know when we should speak & when we should remain silent; there are appropriate times to be vocal & there are times when silence is golden
- listen to what God would want to achieve through the interchange – getting on God’s page is more helpful than pushing my personal agenda
- speak life – acknowledge shortcomings, be forgiving & affirming
- Jesus said that people who are peace makers are a blessing because they’re called the sons of God – making peace isn’t the same thing as rolling over & playing dead, but it also isn’t about escalating a conflict.
- trying to resolve conflict through email, facebook, text messaging, voicemail, linked in, etc is really difficult & sometimes impossible. Be mindful of what you’re trying to accomplish if you bring up difficult conversations in these settings because there is HUGE AMOUNTS of room for misunderstanding 🙂
Honestly, I’ve been thinking about this blog for a few days because I’m wanting to encourage you & your faith in God. I think we all need encouragement to our faith at various times. For example, today I was running some errands & talking with God about some struggles that I’m wrestling with & I was just expressing some honest discouragement to Him. You, as well, might be able to find an area in your life that has some discouragement – maybe even more than 1 ,)
Anyways, I felt like God encouraged me that walking with and obeying Him require faith. In my “better moments”, my faith is solid & I’m confident in God. But I don’t always have, “better moments.” So for those “non-better moments”, here are a few verses to consider praying each day for the next month to strengthen your faith & fuel those “better moments”:
- 2 Chron 16:9 “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.
- Matt 19:26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, ” With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
- 2 Cor 3:5-6 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant,
- 2 Chron 20:12, For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”
- Rom 8:28, And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose
Be encouraged my friend – God is working in you, as well as on your behalf 🙂
Have you ever struggled with your motives? Have you ever had that internal conflict of knowing the good thing you should do, versus NOT doing what you know you should? Here are some thoughts about some motives that could be helpful to you:
Positive Reinforcement: I think that we all like positive reinforcement – when my kids go beyond the normal expectations, I like to do something extra special for them (when they UBER clean their room without my input, I like to give them a meaningful reward like a book they’ve been wanting, maybe a frozen yogurt or some other reward). We all like the positive consequences of right choices. But if we’re very honest, we don’t always get the positive affirmation we want from making right choices.
Doing the right thing: There are times when I pick up the trash on the church parking lot because its the right thing to do, or I go the extra mile with some extra grace with a person who may have not earned that extra grace just because I know in my heart that it’s the right behavior. I may have no positive reinforcement, but I know what is the right thing in my gut & so I do this. Usually when I do the right thing, there’s an internal source of satisfaction or contentment.
Divine Pleasure: At the end of the day, I want my highest form of motivation is to do that which is most pleasing to Jesus. I love what Paul says in 2 Cor 5:9, I make it my goal to please Christ. I won’t always have the positive reinforcement that I may want & there are times that even though I know the right thing to do in my heart, I still find it difficult to make a good choice. However, I’ve found it SUPER helpful that if I can talk to myself & say, “Sarah, this decision would bring pleasure to Jesus” then for me, that can often be just the tipping point I need to make the right decision. Along this line, I know that @savingmoses brings Jesus tremendous pleasure.
Be encouraged my friend by making it your goal, along with Paul, to bring pleasure to Jesus – as He is already deeply in love with & highly committed to you, as the apple of His eye 🙂
At some point in each of our lives, we ask the question, “What’s my purpose? Why am I on earth?” I think this is a universal human question & there are lots of ways to answer this line of questioning, but here’s a simple approach that God has been dealing w me on of late:
I believe that a significant reason that I’m alive is to raise the awareness of Jesus in my world. Raising this awareness happens in a VARIETY of ways:
- sometimes through a direct conversation, helping someone see God’s hand moving in their life, asking a question that helps a person reach out to Jesus, praying for a person when they express a need, . . . . .
- sometimes through an act of kindness, a smile, a friendly gesture, an encouraging word, letting someone go in front of you in a line, serving a person, generous forgiveness, . . . .
- sometimes through a provision, being generous with our resources (time, energy, finances), paying for the coffee of the person behind you in line, giving a homeless person a meal, giving a starving baby meals for a month with saving moses ,) , . . . .
I want my life to make Jesus attractive to the people with whom I interact – not just because its Easter week & the seasonal trend to invite people to church (although let’s all get really motivated & bring hordes of friends to church). I want to spread the fragrance of Jesus wherever I go. I want to illuminate His presence in all my conversations. I want to express His genuine love with His extravagant provisions. For me, let this purpose be the preoccupation of each day.
We can give life in lots of different ways. Here are some thoughts & practical ideas to integrate into our daily living.
First, in a few weeks, I get to travel to India with @savingmoses. I have it in my heart to create a facility where we can provide night care to the infants & toddlers of prostitutes of the sex workers. Presently, infants & toddlers of the these workers many times are chained to the same bed during the time when their mother is working. My goal is help these infants & toddlers develop a world view that doesn’t so overtly include prostitution as a means of earning a living. I believe this is a very SIGNIFICANT way to give life to someone at the beginning of their life. Of course I will be blogging about our trip everyday & keeping you posted on our progress on facebook, twitter, etc.
Second, we can give life to the people in our lives by our words. Positive, uplifting, encouraging, vision casting words are absolutely vital not only in our lives, but also in the lives of the people around us. The closer the relationship, the more opportunity that we can speak life into the person we love. When you notice positive things about a person, tell them!! When someone is having a rough day, remember something good about them & tell them!! If a person tends to have a negative outlook, counter-act the negativity with some constructive optimism. I seriously appreciate that we need to NOT live in denial, but on the way to positive results in our lives, we need positive inputs. Maybe its even a good day to post a nice & sincere comment about someone on their FB wall 🙂
A final idea about how to give life is with our time and activity. If we’re not careful, we can easily get caught in the selfish trap & fritter away our time & energy on selfish & even meaningless activities. Let’s look for opportunities to improve someone else’s life by volunteering, getting involved in a local charity, church or relief agency.
Let’s give life, since we are made in the image of the original Life Giver 🙂
When I was growing up, my parents would always encourage me to develop my people skills – I still need to work on this area. I remember them saying that while I could learn lots of book knowledge, I would USE people skills every day and they’re right. People skills are really important – so here are a few things that I’m learning & I would LOVE for you to add your insights on what you feel are important people skills to develop 🙂
Here are some ideas to get our conversation started:
- respect – regardless of your frame of mind or preconceived ideas, each person with whom we interact needs respect, even if they’re behaving in disrespectful ways. I’ve never regretted being respectful, but I’ve always regretted being disrespectful
- serving others – when I get my mind to look for ways to help or serve others, rather than expecting to be served, I’m almost always deeply content & satisfied in ways that far eclipse the times when I am served
- humility – the attitude of “all that & a bag of chips” has never really worked for me; it almost always sabotages any kind of constructive interaction
- encouragement – I’ve found that people flourish & blossom with encouragement & genuine praise more than put downs & degradation.
- silence is golden – its very important to screen your thoughts before they’re expressed from your lips. When I say less, it seems that people think more of me – what a shock ,)
So what are some people skills you have or would like to have? Whadya think???
If you’re reading this, hopefully, you were able to hear tonight’s message. If not, you can snag it at:
Anyways, here are a couple more fuel points to help you with prayer. First, you can check out the comments below, that answer the question, “why I pray”. These comments will not only get some fresh ideas about prayer, but also to get some positive reinforcement, which we all need! Feel free to add your own answer(s) to encourage others as well. Second, you’ll see that I listed some books that I’ve found helpful on the topic of prayer. Again, feel free to add your own suggestions as well. 🙂
· The Power of Prayer & Fasting; Marilyn Hickey
· Rees Howell’s Intercessor; Norman Grubb
· Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret;
· Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home; Richard Foster
· Power Through Prayer; EM Bounds
· Intercessory Prayer; Dutch Sheets
· With Christ in the School of Prayer; Andrew Murray
The Power of Prayer; R.A. Torrey
Hello! Mom’s on for Chapel & going through chapter 1 – going to be really good!! Here’s some interesting thoughts on 1:6, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”
When Paul uses the words, “being confident,” this means to have conceived trust,” and to persist in a state of confidence, hence “to trust firmly.”
My point with this verse is to encourage you that God, who has started His work in you, is continuing to do His work and you can trust that He’s going to finish what He’s started – even in your worst moments (or when your husband tells you he’s not sure about the green and brown color scheme you picked out for the paint in the bedroom, even though he readily admits that interior decor isn’t his strong suit) – smile.
Homework: please read chapter 2
Feedback: please shoot me any questions related to Philippians – I’ll get mom to answer them. 😉