Tango with discouragement


Yesterday I woke up with my zeal shackled and a familiar friend wanting to tango through the halls failure.  This friend’s name is discouragement, and he is a very persistent fellow.  My day seemed blocked by an impenetrable wall of shortcomings as I looked at my present and doubted my future all the while tempted to regret my past.  I rose from my bed but I felt too heavy to move.  So much so that I missed school and I almost missed a workout.  This morning found me pacing in the living room, speaking out my frustrations, fears, and failures.  My sight was dark and my mood was pathetically depressing; blatant signs that I was indeed dancing with my old friend, discouragement.

A short while later; still brooding and meditating on my predicament, I found myself walking into a large compartmentalized room filled with treadmills, basketball courts, and weights…lots and lots of weights.  On my immediate distance I spotted a friend of mine who proceeded to engage me in conversation.  He asked about church, spiritual walk and present state of mind; very specific questions whose specificity was unmistakable.  The Lord was speaking through him to me.  As I shared vague descriptions of my ailment, my friend’s mouth started to spill breath of encouragement.  It wasn’t a cure for my discouragement; rather, it was a nudge towards He who could cure my discouragement and a strong reminder that He already has.

After my conversation with my friend and a meditative workout I proceeded to step off the immediate path towards home and instead, step into the path towards a natural preserve.  You see, I have always been able to connect with God in nature.  I found myself hungry…very hungry.  On one end, I hungered for physical food (my muscles where screaming to be fed after a good workout), and yet on the other hand I hungered for the Spirit of the Lord. 

As I walked the nature trail, listening to the many songs of love all around me, I began to realize that I was not alone.  I began to realize that I had been deceived into thinking I was. 

I can’t say that my discouragement is completely gone.  But I can say that I am gaining encouragement because I realize that once again I have taken my eyes off of the main thing; that is Jesus.  My eyes are fixed on this world as I try to “succeed” in school and in my future career.  Nevertheless, I have not been trying to be with my true friend; Jesus.  How easy it is to lose focus, to lose sight of Him in this place.  Do I want to be successful? Of course.  But the thought of failing, a constant fear producer in my life, is an ever present stronghold as I look at my peers and the many opportunities they gathered.   I step in the realm of professionals and I find myself falling short.  I fear my incompetence in their eyes and I fear that I will never be able to be competent enough to merit a good career.  Daily I rub shoulders with peers who are smarter, sharper, better looking, and more ambitious than I; the key ingredients to success in this world.  I on the other hand seem not to be particularly drawn to ambition, money, or any other motivator that would facilitate my pursuit of career grandeur.  

Nevertheless, I understand that I can’t lean on my understanding.  I understand that I have to keep moving and trust the Lord.  He needs to be number one again, which I believe is the source of my discouragement.   Moving on and moving forward.  I must keep my gaze on Him, for He knows the plans He has for me, and they are good.  I know I can trust His promises even if I can’t trust myself.  Therefore, this tango with discouragement has to end, and a sweet waltz with Jesus begins. 

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