Staying Power: How to Keep Moving Forward While Battling Discouragement
I hate to admit this. I really, really do. A few months back I was so pumped to go to the movie Captain Marvel. Being a product of the “Girl Power” movement, I was very curious about Captain Marvel being the highest-grossing movie in history with a female lead. Just wow! I eagerly got my popcorn (extra butter) and pop and went in to take in the show. I found the perfect seat and sat down and before I could silence my phone, I was looking around the theater looking for security and the exit doors. After all, we are all aware of the theater shootings. I had a flash of fear. By nature and personality I’m not a very fearful person, so I was so irritated that fear popped up. That is not who I have ever been? The only thing I wanted popped was my popcorn! Shortly, I was able to refocus and watch the previews. But, isn’t it weird that we have come to think like that?
The staying power of encouragement is difficult to attain. If I start out my day encouraged why can’t I stay encouraged? Christian or not, staying encouraged these days is no easy thing. Discouragement is not absent from the human experience. We flip from one shooting to another, day after day. How do we stay encouraged? Being encouraged and staying encouraged are fundamentally so different. How do we get the staying power? My inner encouragement seems to flip and flop as my day goes on. Inconsistency is cringe-worthy to me.
Have you ever wondered why there is so much in the Bible about encouragement? Without encouragement where would I be? Where would you be? I’m really pursuing the staying power of encouragement, primarily it is because it’s paramount to our faith walk. Jesus told his followers, “There will be troubles in this world” (even at the movies) (John 16:33). Jesus also told his followers the world would hate them (John 15:18-21). Jesus knew that without encouragement, hardship becomes meaningless and our will to go on weakens. It is important to remember that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Jesus forewarned us that there was trouble then and there will be trouble now. He gave us the heads-up that not everybody will be for you. Not always my favorite scriptures to hear, but an important and necessary reminder. Next time you are at the theater and you glance around and have a momentary fear, remember what the Word says and take in this next tool to keep you moving forward.
Encouragement gives us the will to carry on. It is a glimpse of the bigger picture. It can prevent burnout. It can save us from ourselves. Encouragement helps us to experience abundant life.
Yet, as we navigate through this life with discouragement looming at every corner, the only way we can stay encouraged is to become people who can bounce. Our eyes may go there, our ears may hear a bad report, then our mind, followed by a few minutes of discouragement, and then we breathe, believe and pray, and we bounce back. Then, before long and with a lot of practice, you will say “bounce” to yourself and you will experience the amazing strength that the staying power of encouragement can have on your life.
September is National Suicide Prevention month. At the completion of suicide is hopelessness and helplessness and a fall into a fatal life ending discouragement. Never underestimate the power of despair and discouragement. Find and pursue your Staying Power. You matter. There is no other you. Work your Staying Power.
I want to teach you how to bounce in your thought life as you battle discouragement. The only way you can have staying power is to learn to bounce. I’m going to use my experience at the movies.
So, I’m beyond encouraged and overly psyched to see Captain Marvel at the movie theater. Encouraged.
I spend the $10.50, even if it was painful. Still encouraged.
I smell the movie popcorn and I get my snacks. Encouraged.
I glance around looking for a security worker and I see no one.
My mind races to the recent shootings. I think about the shooting in Tumwater, WA at Walmart- just five minutes from where my kids grew up. Discouraged- Bounce (Breathe/Believe/Pray/Refocus.)
Let’s bounce, bounce, bounce together. Breathe. Believe. Pray. Refocus.
We got this.
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