I posted this 8 months ago, but I needed to be reminded of its truth. I am guessing I am not the only one who could use a reminder of what to watch for so that we don’t get stuck in discouragement.
Know Your Sources of Discouragement …
Discouragement is an all too familiar thing for most of us. Pastors are no exception. Discouragement does not appear to respect titles, positions, ages or claims. Discouragement is an equal opportunity intruder. Armed with the knowledge that we are not immune to discouragement then it makes sense to try and determine if you can figure out any patterns or the most common sources of your discouragement. So here are my top 5 …
Unrealistic expectations (see post from 2 days ago) – when we have unrealistic expectations we will likely fall short of them and be discouraged as a result. We need to set stretching goals and seek to grow ourselves and our organizations however when we set unrealistic expectations we tend to get discouraged when we fall short.
Others disappointment/disagreement with us – when others are disappointed in us we often embrace it and become discouraged. But you need to determine if this person is credible and if their disappointment is valid. Disagreements are common place and often productive for organizations and individuals. After all, if we all agree all the time you have to wonder if everyone is really thinking or of just blindly nodding in agreement. However, many of us tie our worth to how many other people agree with us. So when someone, or a group, disagrees with us we become discouraged. Do you feel me pastors?
Physical issues – not enough sleep, eating terribly, not enough exercise, illness and a myriad of other physical issues can move us to feeling discouraged. When we are discouraged, especially for a length of time, we need to check out any physical triggers.
Negative people – we all have them, those people are who the living embodiment of Winnie the Pooh’s friend Eeyore. (Yes, I just referenced Winnie the Pooh, I have grandkids. Would you prefer an Archie Bunker reference? Are you even old enough to know who that is?) You know the type, no matter what is happening they believe it is their duty to point out why it probably won’t work. Some people seem to think it is their spiritual gift to be negative. Negative people can wear on us and cause us to become discouraged.
Ourself – sometimes we are our greatest cause of discouragement. When our self-talk is negative we discourage ourselves. Sometimes the problem is we don’t believe in ourself so we become discouraged, especially if we struggle as we attempt something new. Sometimes our issue is we know we didn’t really give it our best effort and we become discouraged. This is a difficult one to work through and is deserving of its own post in the future.
That is my top 5. So what are you top 5. Which of these do you most often wrestle with? How do you deal with discouragement? Remember, you were created for a purpose. That in itself should help us battle discouragement.