Discouragement is the warning light in our soul that we’ve lost eternal perspective.
My pastor, Greg Surratt, said this in a message a few years ago. He has graciously told me that I don’t have to keep referencing him every time I say it. But, it has so profoundly influenced my thoughts that I can’t help but claim it’s author. It’s not something that sort of crept into my mind, swirled around, and then became familiar language, and resurfaced as my own thought. Nope, it was refrigerator magnet material from the moment these words fell on my ears. So, with all my respect, Pastor Greg, it’s your quote and I’m just loving it, and also going to keep giving you credit!
Often in my life, I see the pattern of perspective shift. I’m frustrated with something going on. I become discouraged and pretty soon, I’m surrounded by my self-pity and yucky-ness. A lot of times discouragement gives way to all sorts of challenges. This is when my real issues seep in. Sin slides right on in behind my moments of frustration. Depression gets an open door, comes in and asks for a cup of coffee. I start digging my self deeper and deeper into the crevices of these negative emotions and can’t remember how I got to such an unproductive place. And so, I’m learning to watch for the warning lights of discouragement in my life.
Sometimes, the discouragement is a good thing. It might show a pattern or habit that needs re-directed. I think that sometimes maybe we need to stomp around and dig in and figure out what the discouragement is about because discouragement can be used to help us see things more clearly. But, if we are digging around in the muck of discouragement and all that comes with it, we better be digging with a purpose. We need to figure out what the discouragement is attached to so we can do business with God on the specific issue.
But, often we miss it as a sign of something coming. Often, we don’t get down to dealing with those feelings until it’s overwhelming us.We might mention feeling frustrated or notice we aren’t feeling as happy in our day to day activities. But, it’s an alarm sounding that something is not right in our souls. Often, I don’t do business with God until I’ve really made a huge mess of things. If I stop at the first signs of uneasiness, the first glimpses of discouragement, if I listen to the words I’m saying I can see it- I’m becoming discouraged and I’m losing my perspective.
I am losing my perspective of who God is and who I am in Him. I am not acting like I’m loved by the God of the universe!
So often when we find ourselves in the middle of something that has over taken us, we can look back and see the warning signs of where we were headed. We can see that we were tired. We can see that we had been working too much. We can see that the kids were making us crazy or our boss was requiring extra long hours. We can see that our perspective had been jaded, maybe clouded, maybe ransacked by regular life.
I’m learning to sense my discouragement and frustrations as warnings that I need to refocus on the truth in my life. I better dig in to the Word. I need to start attacking the counterfeit thoughts in my life with the truth of God. And beyond just my identity being out of whack, it trickles into my role as a wife, as a mother, as a friend. I’m in the phase with two young children, and days of diapers and discipline don’t seem like moments of raising leaders of the next generation to know Jesus and love others. It seems really frustrating at times even with all the joy of the moments with them. Yet, again, discouragement- warn light- refocus- perspective.
Are there warning lights going off in your soul?
Are you sensing the discouragement?
Are you doing anything to adjust your perspective?
What truth about God or who you are because of him do you need to remember today?