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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Reality of Discouragement in Everyday Life

Fall is my very favorite time of year.  Both the climate and the scenery are gorgeous in my part of the country and it is like a little glow surrounds all our activities.  Even so, hardship creeps into the scene: difficulties at school, unexpected and expensive home repairs, sickness, vocational disappointments and stress.  This is just my current, short-list!

As I was reading through my journal, I recognized a familiar sense of discouragement when I read about our broken hot water heater, destroyed cell phone, income loss, a rebellious child, another one who is discontent and TWO car wrecks that just about stole my sense of well-being.  When wave upon wave of unsettling news rolls through your life, it's easy to begin taking it personally.  Is God out to get me?

Just this week, a dear friend is experiencing debilitating health issues and a car wreck, along with added stress from a recent move.  Another is facing unexpected home expenses and multiple appliance failures.  Hardship is real, even when in our first world experience.

In each case, these strong women face the trials with grit and determination, handling the details and taking charge.  But when another, then another difficulty arises, the women become weary.  Their resolve to deal well can turn into a pity party.

I know it's draining to deal with daily trials and a constant onslaught of difficulties.  Can you change it?  If not, the only thing you can do it keep moving forward - don't let difficulties be the boss of you!  If you find yourself adopting a victim mentality, you are only setting yourself up for a spiral of negativity.  Instead, adopt an attitude that overcomes.

We live in the REAL world, where some seasons are REAL tough.  My world view also explains that we live in a fallen world, where difficulties are real. These are not the result of an "out-to-get-me" vengeful God. While I do firmly believe that there are consequences and we reap what we sow, I believe there is a difference between that concept and life simply happening.  Tires wear out.  Gutters need cleaning.  Dental issues are constant!  The mistakes of others affect us all.

How can  you keep these life challenges from affecting your overall mood?  How can you combat discouragement?

I don't have all the answers. I certainly find myself discouraged on some days.  But then I walk

myself through the reasons for hope.  I remind myself that I don't need all the answers, just to know today's answers - and those have always been there.  I spend a lot of time "living in the moment" because looking too far ahead can be overwhelming.

One of the reasons I love journaling is because I can let out my concerns on paper.  Prayer allows the same release, but when I journal, I look back at how a situation has resolved or improved.  I see so much history of the faithfulness of God who was providing all along, sometimes before I even knew I would have need.

I don't have a neat, tied up ending for this post.  Mostly, I want to share the burdens of my friends and family and let each know I see their challenges.  You are doing so much better than you think!  I'm confident you will move forward with grace and beauty.  I'm so thankful to call you friend.  Oh, and I get it.  I'm praying for you and I can't wait to hear you talk of better days.  Some days, I plan for the "less" in "Flawless."

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