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?