Our role in the lives of other disciples is to be present and point one another to an ever deepening understanding of how great God is and how much our heavenly Father loves us. Consider Paul’s wish:
“May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”
2 Thessalonians 3:5 ESV
It occurs to me that discouragement is many times a matter of perspective. When I gaze intently into my problem seeing no hope, I’m looking the wrong way. Lewis’ well worn adage of aiming at Heaven is helpful here. When I’m discouraged, I’m aiming at my struggle, at earth. I get neither. Disciples point one another to Heaven.
Disciples grow best in clumps. We’re designed for community so don’t sit in your fear and discouragement alone. Text somebody to pray. Share your struggle with your fellow disciples in your regular, vulnerable and honest meeting. Don’t isolate yourself. You probably need a hug and/or a kick in the rear, neither of which are effectively accomplished in isolation. Be in community, reach out for help.
How’s your thankful list coming?
So, in my bouts of discouragement I’ve found that reading the Scriptures is helpful. Here’s two ideas:
1. Read the Psalms and pray them. There’s plenty of commiseration there if you’re helped by that. There’s also great hope.
2. Develop and maintain a list of Scriptures that encourage you when you fear. There’s a link to one of mine as and example in this old post.
How’s your list coming?
Yesterday I introduced this mini series on discouragement with a simple idea. Thankfulness.
Today I offer a helpful article.
How’s your list coming?
A couple of us have struggled with discouragement of late. (You Pollyannas who don’t wrestle with such should keep reading too so you can remind the rest of us if these ideas when we’re struggling next week.) So after a couple of helpful conversations with fellow disciple a few things have come to the table. I’ll stretch these out over a few days so as to respect your time. Here’s the first, from a fellow discipe:
Right? The Bible’s full of admonishment to thankfulness.
Sit down and make a list of things you are thankful for. The length of the list may or may not be important but I’d say the longer the list the better.
Tomorrow, an article.
So, somewhere on this blog there used to be a link to an article by management guru Peter Drucker. The article is about managing oneself. In the midst of preparing for a week of teaching at a seminary in Ukraine on leadership, I’ve reviewed my lesson plans from last time. I found this outline that I adapted from Drucker’s wisdom and thought it worth sharing here.
- Abide in Him.
- Have right priorities.
- Identify and focus on your strengths.
- Learn and strengthen your weaknesses.
- Continue growing in the Grace and Knowledge of God.
If you are abiding in Him and managing yourself, you will know how to proceed each day, each hour, each moment.