doing battle with discouragement

Photo Credit: Michael Payne – Unsplash

Life has felt heavy. COVID. Politics. Racial divisions. Natural disasters.

I feel the weight of these many issues, and somedays I have to battle to find hope.

On a large scale, most of this is out of my control, hence the heaviness of it all. However, there are ways that I can engage and get involved in my small scope of the world. When these pressures add to the “blah” of my day or contribute to my “cloudy” brain, I try to focus less on what I cannot control and more on what I can.

I can control my attitude.

I can choose gratitude over grumpiness. I can practice curiosity over judgment. I can loosen demands to have things go my way and humbly accept what others might desire or need. I can listen to music that uplifts my soul. I can seek Jesus’ heart perspective for other people and circumstances and pray before responding. I can vulnerably ask others to pray for me. I can lean towards trust and hope instead of worry.

I can control my words.

I can talk less and listen intentionally. I can ask more questions and offer less advice. I can work less at convincing others of my viewpoint and willingly accept the complexity of differing opinions. I can take time to reflect and journal. I can speak with love and encouragement instead of argumentativeness. I can pause before I say or write something mean or sarcastic and refrain from adding negativity to a situation. I can complain and criticize less. I can ask for forgiveness when I am wrong and let go of grudges against those who have hurt me.

I can control my actions.

I can turn off social media and TV inputs that are combative, angry, and hate-filled. I can seek out education, new learning, and diverse perspectives instead. I can lift my head, make eye contact, and smile at the person near me. I can willingly go to places that are awkward and uncomfortable for me to understand life journeys that are not like mine. I can give generously to those causes I believe in and to those who have been hard hit. I can look for ways to volunteer and serve those who have needs.

As I was writing this post, I began to recognize how much I can do. I cannot change the whole world dynamic, but I can change my small corner. I cannot do all of this every day. It is a continual battle, and sometimes it feels like the dismay will win. But other days, I get to experience a bit of victory. The discouragement has less power in my life, and I sense that I am contributing a good, healthy, and positive influence where I can.

How do you fight off discouragement? How do you contribute in a healthy way?

14 thoughts on “doing battle with discouragement

  1. Thanks Terry, for your insights. Just the other day, I spoke with a friend who was struggling with this, and asked her, what is one thing you can do right now? And that is a question I often need to ask myself.

  2. Reblogged this on Leader Impact and commented:
    As leaders, we need to fight discouragement so our best self shows up across the table (or Zoom screen) from others. We want to contribute and add value to the lives of others in healthy ways. While there is much today we cannot control, think about all we actually can control…

  3. Wow. There is actually a ton of things I can do! I love the list. Getting out in nature, exercise, eating well, spending time with friends, walks, running all fill my tank and give me momentum to choose those things I can control.

  4. You nailed it again, Ter! It’s so easy to focus on what’s wrong and what’s not going well rather than what I can do proactively. Waiting and watching what God will do with all this rather than trying to fix things the way I think they should be fixed. Choosing my attitude–woohoo, what a challenge! That thing just sneaks up on me and grabs me in the gut. Being conscious of how I respond–that’s going to take work! Thanks for this!

    • I may be a bit too honest with my struggles at times! Ha! Yes, this attitude-choice thing is a lot of work. Thanks for reading and facing this challenge with me. That helps a lot!

    • Awww. Most of what I write is because I need the reminder myself! 🙂 It’s always encouraging when it resonates with others too. Thanks for reading, friend. Would love to chat with you in person again soon!

  5. Thank you Terry – yes, great reminders that in the midst of things we can’t control or change, there is a lot we can do! Looking for ways to encourage others, taking time to chat on the phone with somebody who isn’t able to get out like they are used to, getting outside and enjoying creation, remembering that ups and downs are normal . . . all of these things help!

  6. What a great reminder of all the options we actually have when we feel so limited. I find that trying to stay in the present moment is helpful when feeling discouraged. One day at a time is usually manageable. Piling all the “ what if’s “ up tends to drag me down fast.

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