Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Discouragement

Irony. Such a profound word, isn't it?

Tonight I've been struggling with discouragement. And probably, if I am honest with myself, jealousy as well. The crazy thing is that I've just recently written posts on "where is your focus?" and also one on "encouragement."

The second part of the irony is that I realized that I had just posted on those two topics and laughed out loud. In the midst of discouragement; laughter. Although there wasn't any real happiness or joy to be had in my heart in that moment; I laughed.

I'm not normally one to get discouraged or depressed. My mind tends to operate in more of a logical state than an emotional one. So why the discouragement? What is at the root of my emotional state? As I sat and reflected, asking myself that question, many things flooded to mind.

I want to be further along with the curriculum for girls than I am.

I wanted to have lost more weight than I have at this point.

I can't seem to get the entire house clean at the same time and although I know that isn't the most important thing in life; it's kind of driving me crazy!

I sense my husband's building frustration with his work and I can't fix it for him.


The over-riding theme - failure; with a hint of hopelessness.

Will I ever finish this curriculum? And even if I do will it be any good?

Will I ever lose this weight or will I have to concede and buy larger clothes?

Will I ever get my house back in order?

Will my husband get a new job or will this one ever turn around?

As I delved deeper it hit me. These thoughts are not from God. This heaviness of spirit is not of Him. I know truth. I know hope that far outweighs the struggles of this life; why am I dwelling here in this discouraged place? It's not making me feel any better. It's not solving anything. Most likely it is the enemy of my soul trying to distract me from something that God has to show me...

So I began to pray. I prayed for forgiveness for allowing myself to agree with these negative thoughts. I prayed against the enemy of my soul. I prayed specifically for each of those areas laying them anew at the feet of the cross. I began to pour out my fears and my hopes before Him about each area. I prayed for my husband. That God would encourage his heart. That He would allow me to be an encouragement to him and that our house (regardless of it's complete cleanliness) would be as an oasis in a desert to him each day as he came home. That God would make a way - whether it would be a new job or through this job- for him to enjoy his position and I thanked God for providing for our needs. I had a good cry (which I almost never do - except when I am at MOPS...;) ) and I just rested in His presence and His covering for awhile.

Then I realized it was getting late and I hadn't written a post for tomorrow yet. I began to pray that God would give me something to share and He prompted my heart with one last glimpse of irony; He already had.

Finding peace & rest in Him,

Shanda



19 comments:

Rachel said...

I needed to read this tonight.

To take back what I had conceded to the enemy and to quit aiding and abetting his plan with this self-defeat and worry.

You're right - it's ironic how God gives us a message in a blog post, then we realize later that we really need to apply it to OURSELVES.

I'm so there!

Thank you so much! Standing with you in His freedom.

Keystone said...

"There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven...

What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time.

He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."
~~~Ecclesiates 3:1.9-11

There is NOTHING in that list about a clean house, weight loss, curriculum, or even job contentment.

But it does say there is a time for EVERYTHING under the heavens, so I guess a time for discouragement is ok.

Let's look at the truth.

"I want to be further along with the curriculum for girls than I am."
~~~Shanda

That is a desire for excellence, not a sign of discouragement.
Combine two future lessons into one, and catch up a little at a time. Be a turtle, not a hare, and tell the girls that the turtle won the race in the end.

I recently read in the news of a turtle robbed by two snails.
The police asked for a desciption of the assailants and the turtle said he couldn't "cuz it all happened so fast".

"I wanted to have lost more weight than I have at this point."
~~~Shanda

I don't know how to tell you this, but I have personally seen photos of you in focus, and out of focus, and my first thought was "What a lucky husband to land a gal beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside"....both shots!

Extra weight is a gift from God after giving someone children. There is a need for more love to be spread around.
Got extra weight? Then, you are carrying extra love, because there is a need for it.

Billy Joel sang to his wife:

Don't go changing, to try and please me
You never let me down before
Don't imagine you're too familiar
And I don't see you anymore

I wouldn't leave you in times of trouble
We never could have come this far
I took the good times, I'll take the bad times
I'll take you just the way you are

Don't go trying some new fashion
Don't change the color of your hair
You always have my unspoken passion
Although I might not seem to care

I don't want clever conversation
I never want to work that hard
I just want someone that I can talk to
I want you just the way you are.

I need to know that you will always be
The same old someone that I knew
What will it take till you believe in me
The way that I believe in you.

I said I love you and that's forever
And this I promise from the heart
I could not love you any better
I love you just the way you are.
~~~Billy Joel

Listen to Billy, Shanda.

We love you just the way you are.

Keystone

Keystone said...

Where was I now??? Oh yeah:

"I can't seem to get the entire house clean at the same time and although I know that isn't the most important thing in life; it's kind of driving me crazy!"
~~~Shanda

My friend Alice and I email now more than ever before. She has two litle girls, age 3 and 6, works as a writer for a magazine, has a hubby to tend, and her mom is dying of cancer. They spent their first Easter ever, apart for mom was not up to it.

My mom died in May, 2008 and I have had only 11 funerals since.
The youngest was 22 and supposed to be best man in a family wedding, but snapped his neck surfing on vacation. A best friend died a week after my mom and I saw his face for a final time on my birthday.

Alice knows I am an orphan and went through the funeral repertoire and expense, as well as attorney estate jazz. She has questions on all that, and is a strong, faithful Christian woman. Oh, and she also blogs. With pictures.

In our private emails, I have to keep telling her that her house is "TOO CLEAN".
Sling some dust on that table.
Throw a sock on the floor.
Leave a saucer and cup of tea on the kitchen counter.

What is this Martha Stewert stuff?
I mean every room is perfect and it drives me nutz and I tell Alice if she wants any more death talk out of me, she better let some dust accumulate on the dining room table until seeds sprout in it (like my table) or I will clam up on dealing with funeral costs and how they take advantage of you.

My mom's was $17,000 and her Will opened after, requested NO funeral.
Having ten kids, you would think we could open the Will first, but NO! My sisters want to add everything the place offered.
I am gonna end up dust on someone's table, so don't wipe me off.

Bring two goats in your house, Shanda. Next week, add four cows.
The third week, add two cats and one dog. Last, a horse.
OR, you can pretend you did that last month, and now that they are all evicted, your house now looks the way it should.
I suggest you anoint with Holy Oil the door frame top of every room in your house, and thank God He lives in each room. I assure you he will find the accomodations heavenly "as is".

"I sense my husband's building frustration with his work and I can't fix it for him."
~~~Shanda

This is a toughie in times of massive unemployment, for most are dumped by their company, or jittery that they will be. Worse, the ones left behind often get paid less to do more (as their coworkers no longer exist).

I do not know what Mr. Shanda does to bring home the bacon. But I recall many times of unemployment and a God meeting all my needs.

A friend went on vacation and I was a tad low that I could not do the same. I received a card from her, picturing a skier, skiing right off a cliff and into the air.
Below, my friend wrote:
"Aren't you glad God is always in control?"

As women are want to have an ear to listen, but NOT give a solution, just listen!....men are want to desire respect.

Tell your hubby why you respect him, and work will seem a joy once again. God is in control of that department too.

Or sing Aretha Franklin around the house like this:

R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Find out what it means to me
R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Take care, TCB

Keep in mind this too:

"Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days."
~~~Psalm 90:14

Some see this as having Christ early in the day, and the day goes well. I am not one of them.

I see this as folks who know and love Christ at an early age (as opposed to coming to Christ late in life) become so filled with his unfailing love at an early age, that they sing for joy, and are glad all their days. (including right now).

I believe that is you!

P.S. Everything I have written is "just listening" and "no solutions", just as women want, Ok?

Keystone

joybug56 said...

Shanda,Enjoyed your post this a.m.! I am reminded of the Word when it says to think upon things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report: virtue Phil 4:8 / Also Isaiah 26:3 " Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusted in thee."
I can set myself determined to not "know" or feed upon all those things that are not of him: The darkness of this world, the hate in this world and the death of the world ~ When I find myself dwelling on the "weight" "job" "worldly things" I quickly quote 1 Cor 2:2 ...
Enjoyed your post this a..m tremendously ~ Good Stuff ~

Kathryn said...

Shanda, As I was reading your post, I was thinking, "That's the enemy trying to discourage her and steal her joy!" Then, of course, you realized that, too.

Grrr ... it really makes me mad when he picks on my friends!

It reminds me, though, of a time earlier this week when I was praying for someone who was experiencing severe back pain for no apparent reason. As I was praying for their spiritual armor, I realized that there is no provision for the back. And, the enemy likes to sneak up behind us, catching us off-guard in our greatest place of vulnerability.

So, now as I pray on my spiritual armor, I add "the glory of the Lord" as my "rear guard" (reference Isaiah 58:8), asking Him to "hem me in--before and behind" (reference Psalm 139:5).

I pray the same for you. :-)

See you tomorrow at FCS Orientation; enjoy the last full day of summer! :-)

RCUBEs said...

The enemy is ever active trying to stop a precious children from doing works for the Lord. To not be joyful is not His will and I'm glad your spirit sensed that. May the Lord continue to guide you with His divine wisdom and protect you. Blessings.

Farmgirl Paints said...

Hi Shanda,
We all struggle with these issues. At least I do from time to time.

As women we are fixers. We want to be in control. Our weight, our homes, our kids and the happiness of our spouse seems to be something we can make perfect...if we try hard enough. But even as I say that I know how God views that statement. He is in control and when we are taking over trying to do it in our power...not giving it to Him that is when we are defeated...discouraged!

You did the right thing. You got on your knees and turned it over. Now let the God of all creation turn your disappointment into hope and a renewed energy, to see through all your heart's desires.

Melanie said...

I believe the enemy is working overtime but God works the nightshift!
Melanie@Bella~Mella

Pam D said...

God is pretty cool that way, isn't He? And He does have a sense of humor, often with an ironic twist. After reading "Hinds Feet on High Places" with my boy this summer, I KEEP a visual in my head of Craven Fear, Pride, Resentment, Bitterness, and all of those other characters. I'm trying to get to the point where I tie the emotion in with the visual. Because THEN, I can bring in the visual of the Good Shepherd, leaping across the mountain and down to Much Afraid and driving those negative ones away from her. It is absolutely amazing how well that has worked for me; I sleep well, instead of fretting. I smile more, and I do whatever I need to do with joy. I call on Him often, and He ALWAYS comes through for me. Always.
BIG hugs, and big thanks for another heartfelt post...

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Wonderful lesson!!! Too often, I listen to those nagging little voices that just eat away at my self-esteem and confidence. Very good reminders here. :)

christy rose said...

Oh Shanda,
How honest and sweet this post is. Isn't that just like our enemy to try to attack us in the areas that we have just ministered in, trying to make us feel hypocritical. He is such a liar. I am so glad that you realized His lies quickly and gave him a swift kick back where he belongs. :)

I am not normally a person who get discouraged or depressed easily either. I operate in more of a logical way instead of an emotional way too. but, I have had to fight off lies like that before as well. I have been there before and know where you are coming from.

Karen said...

Shanda, I find the same thing over and over. It seems God presents the Word to me and then gives me a pop quiz. I am learning to say thank you Father that I hear your voice and I can also distinguish the voice of the enemy. I will choose to draw near to my Father and the enemy must flee. What a beautiful and timely post. Thank you.

Shanda said...

Keystone,
Thank you for "listening..." and throwing a few solutions in there too! :)

I am much better today. My lens has been re-focused and I'm taking time to note what I am thankful for - always makes the day brighter. Even when we try not to, we (people in general)take so many things for granted every day.

I know the few items I shared as discouraging were trivial compared to what some others are going through and what my own "list" has been in the past.

You may have noticed there are not many photos of my house here in my blog...Martha Stewart has never been my favorite person; but it just seems that when all is clean my husband and I both relax a bit easier.

R-e-s-p-e-c-t and praise has become even more of a pursuit of mine as of late. Thank you for the reminder.

In truth, the weight loss portion is less about smaller digits on the scale as to inches removed so there is less need to purchase more...a friend of mine told me not to get discouraged though...her theory is that we all "puff up" and retain more fluid in the heat of the summer months (just as boards, etc. expand with heat) and when fall rolls around with cooler temps I should be able to fit back into my clothes! :) Gotta love good friends!

So sorry that you are so well versed in loss and the processes involved. No doubt you have much wisdom to offer others. (Like opening the will first...) I learned much between the loss of my parents as well. We are both orphaned; and yet have such an amazing Father.

Again, thank you. Salt and light indeed is spread in the comment section.

Rest well - physically & spiritually-this evening.

Gretchen said...

1. Hugs. And I'm sorry you've been discouraged.

2. I've been reading about taking those thoughts captive, too. And I've been doing so, slowly, deliberately, and with the help of a God who loves me extravagantly. It's hard, though. One minute at a time, Shanda.

3. Hugs.

Keystone said...

Shanda,

I took time to be thankful for you this day, and found myself blessed anew.

Nothing you desired was trivial to me; I prayed the desires of your heart are met by He who lives in your heart (He was overheard to say "This aorta needs dusted off!") Yikes!
:)

I will pray for inches to disappear, but so far, they remain unanswered prayer for me. You will be fine, for the outward body fades over time, and a new one comes forever. I look forward to my own, just to push that belly button of mine backward toward the spine where it used to be closer.

Cleanliness and orderliness do make for a more relaxing atmosphere. But the company with you, makes a bigger difference in the end. Surprise him with your joy, as you surprise all of us.

I used to see satan behind everything bad before, but have learned sometimes the fault can be found in my mirror.

Someone above said our back is exposed with the Armor of God, but the belt of Truth is Jesus Christ himself: "I am the Light, the Way, the Truth".
Wearing that simple belt gives 360 degree protection. Our God has not left us exposed to the enemy from any direction.

But I am not convinced all this was satan, so much as a Wednesday, mid week with some things done, and some things undone, and the time a moving on.

I remain delighted at your swift turnaround, and I remain delighted that YOU, are YOU!

God bless you abundantly in all your dreams, desires, hopes, and needs.

Keystone

momof3darlings said...

You are so right...and the timing is ironic huh? LOL

I spent a good prayer time today pulling myself back together, and we'll just move on, with faith in our amazing God!

Warren Baldwin said...

Shanda,
Catching yourself when negative thoughts began to overwhelm is evidence of the Holy Spirit dwelling within you. It is also evidence of your inclination to maintain a prayerful spirit (pray without ceasing). God helps us turn discouragement into positive spiritual moments. Good job!

rhemashope said...

Amen, amen, amen. You are such a good example for me, Shanda. You literally take us through a process of strengthening our hearts in the Lord here in this post.

It reminds me of David: 'And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.' 1 Sam 30:6 (KJV)

Lindsey @ A New Life said...

Oh Shanda, this was perfect for me today.

I too need to ask forgiveness for allowing discouraging thoughts and hopelessness sway me from truth. I've been pretty lonely as my kids are both in school all day now, and my husband is working LONG hours at a really difficult job- a situation I can't change for him either, that burdens me.

I laughed at the keeping the house clean comment. I asked my husband to make me a list of chores he wanted me to do today because I can't seem to get it right and keep everything under control, and he left me a list that told me to go get a haircut and a pedicure and to go shopping.

Love my husband :-) Off to pray and then do his list :-)

Blessings to you,
Lindsey