Tag Archives: discouragement

For Everything That Can’t Be Bought…

We are all attached to something.  Through our own ambition, we can become attached to more things than is necessary.  Family… friends… work… play… things… media… substances… ‘God’ stuff… and on, and on, and on…

The idea is to find a way to attach to what is absolutely necessary for us to stay centered on only the bare necessities.

Too much clutter in our lives at all levels… whether it be material, emotional, psychological, mental or spiritual… will leave us exhausted and lost.  Prime candidates for a sense of separation from what is important all the way through our life.

We must dedicate intention to the discipline of detachment.  We must ask ourselves on a continual basis: what can I let go of?  It feels like a risk to detach from all of the ‘stuff’ that is tempting our attention… There is an element of trust that comes into play that if I say goodbye to ‘this’… then the space that is left will be filled with what matters most.

At the core, we need to be willing to let go of the consumerist values of our culture, to embrace the intimacy of being content with less.  Consumerist values come in all shapes and sizes.  The easiest items that need to be relinquished typically take the form of material things.  Just look around your home… I’m sure there is plenty that can go that you haven’t used in a while.

Identifying the emotional, mental, psychological and spiritual items that have been shaped by consumerist values are a bit trickier to see.  All to often, these items are unseen, because they take root from within.

If you find yourself constantly on the go… (even immersed in the busyness of church life)

If you find yourself constantly ‘doing’… (even when the one you love would be content to just snuggle on the couch)

Then you are a candidate to pause and evaluate whether or not you just need to relinquish some’thing’ in your life.  Clutter… at any level, in any dimension… will erode the fabric of intimacy in your life.  Clutter… at any level, in any dimension… will prevent you from knowing and being know by the ones who are most dear to you.

Unfortunately, we are often blind to the things we find our lives attached to unnecessarily to… and then time goes on… and the erosion leads to decay.

Find practical ways to let go of the ‘things’ you don’t need… and you will find yourself the proud owner… of everything that can’t be bought… consumed… or controlled.  You will find yourself living as someone who can’t be bought… consumed… or controlled.

You will be free to simply… belong.


Restoring Broken Relationships

While confession can be good for the soul… it is often one of the most difficult things to do.  None of us likes to expose the fact that we are the cause for a break in the separation of any type of relationship.  Maintaining an appearance that ‘all is well’ can become a full time job for us.  Most people haven’t committed a murder, or held up a bank… so it is easy to find ways to ‘smooth it over’.  How much energy does that take?

In truth, we are all guilty of breaking relationships from time to time.  Fortunately, Jesus is pretty realistic when it comes to his understanding of our broken relationships.  He experienced them daily.  He carried them to the cross.  Fortunately, his message to us is that broken relationships are not the end of the road in our experience as human beings.

Broken relationships can be confessed.

Broken relationships can be forgiven.

Broken relationships can be restored, and the people involved can be set free.

At least a third of his teachings involved forgiveness at some level.  His life was a model for living a life of forgiveness.  Again and again, he taught to bless those who  persecute you… to forgive, even when it is not deserved.  When he taught us to pray, he said, ‘Keep us forgiven… while we forgive others.’

To turn our hearts in such a way that allows us to do our part in the restoring of a broken relationship, we need to be able to open the bad in us, as well as the good.  We need to refuse attempting to hide behind a ‘moral’ lifestyle as a way to save face with others.  We need to stop pretending to be anyone other than who… we… are…

Tell it like it is… not just about the person who is in a broken relationship with you… but also about  yourself.  Let go of image management.  Let go of manipulation.  Let go of being obsessed with yourself.

Jesus laid down the power over his own life.

Jesus suffered.

Jesus took on the broken relationships of the whole world, so that we would not miss out on the ability to see past our shame, and get to a place where we could be who we are… no more… no less.

Confess your shame.

Forgive and be forgiven.

And move on…

On Discouragement…

Moments of despair, sadness, or a lack of confidence can often times leave us disheartened.  After that, the internal mind-games begin, and if you aren’t careful, a downward spiral can begin to unravel our sense of worth.  It’s easy to then begin blaming yourself for the current state of affairs and begin to feel like a complete failure.

Questions will assuredly follow: “What if I had…?”  It is easy to become overwhelmed with the sound of, ‘I blew it’ playing over and over in our head.

There is a bigger picture to your life than what is immediately in front of you.  Even when things are going well… and it is especially important to remember this when life is down in the dumps.  If discouragement is not dealt with, the natural slide is one that leads to depression.  We must be taught to deal with discouragement before the bottom drops out.

The circumstances that lead to discouragement take many shapes, including but not limited to:

  • Carrying the weigh of one’s worries, cares, and fears all alone.
  • Events that our out of one’s control.
  • Circumstances that were handled poorly.
  • Current or past failures that creep in on how one sees their future unfolding.

It is important at the onset of feelings of discouragement to stop and ask a few questions:

  • What is happening right now that is making you feel discouraged?
  • Are these events out of your control?
  • What are three adjectives you would use to describe yourself right now?
  • How do you think that other people see you right now?
  • How are you handling your discouragement?
  • Does the plan you have for your life seem off-track now?
  • Are you able to cast a vision for your life 3 to 5 years from now?
  • Is failure in this area of your life an option right now?
  • Are you able to envision yourself succeeding again in any area of your life?

Feelings of discouragement need to trigger a ‘pause’ moment in your life.  A time to take inventory of where you are at, and where you could possibly be going now that an area seems to have reached a ‘dead end’.  As part of this emotional, psychological and physical inventory, you will need to draw into account previous times when you reached a ‘dead end’ and to remember how things ironed out for you.  It is important to have this perspective, because  you will need to remember that all thing, good and bad, do come to a pass… and life will continue on to brighter days.

Life gets ‘out of control’.

Every discouragement in your journey is an opportunity to grow and rediscover the person you were created to be.  This moment is not the end.  Feelings of discouragement are a natural part of being human, and nobody is beyond its grasp… but none of us need to be overtaken by its grip.  And when this moment passes, you can rest assured that in the future, there will be these moments again.

So… be realistic.  Understand that every mornings darkness is broken by the dawn of a new day.  The more positive events of the future are just as much out of your control as as the dark days you are in now.  Take this moment to rethink your goals and seek out new opportunities to grow.  Stop playing the ‘what if I had done something different’ game, and move forward into your new life.  When low feelings begin to weigh you down, acknowledge them, and talk through it with someone… then move on.  Write down your thoughts and feelings as a way to get them from just being internally processed and then revisit them a few months later.  Pay attention to where you have been in relationship to where you are now.

Most importantly… live in anticipation… be ready for new doors to open… new plans in your future… new confidences in yourself and in life around you.