Have you ever felt discouraged? I sure have! In fact, I just went through a time of discouragement this past week.
Some of you know that I have been dealing with ongoing issues with my neck for quite some time now...well, for almost a year. I have gone through weeks and weeks of therapy...and many ups and downs. Finally, at the end of June we saw somewhat of a breakthrough. I was feeling quite a bit better and the x-rays showed 70% improvement. I was overjoyed to have a break from the always time consuming and sometimes very painful therapy.
I had some minor setbacks in the last couple of months. Fortunately, they weren't long lasting. However, two weeks ago something happened. Not sure what triggered it. Yet, much of the pain returned in my neck, shoulder and arm-even some that I hadn't felt in months. Just when I thought things were heading in the right direction, I felt like I was back to square one. The discouragement began.
Anyone who has ever experienced constant pain is aware of how tiring, draining and all-consuming it can be. In the midst of the pain, I heard a voice in my head, "You're never going to get better. It's always going to be this way." Discouragement swept in a little more.
My body longed for rest, but the pain made me restless. Sleep didn't come easily-neither did anything else. The more tired I got the more my vision blurred...at least spiritually. I found it hard to focus on anything besides the pain. I asked God, "Why?" Hope was fading. Discouragement set in...and got nice and cozy!
You may have notice that I haven't posted on my blog in a while. This is the reason. It's tough for me to write an encouraging word to you, my dear reading friend, when I'm feeling discouraged myself. However, my story doesn't end there.
A couple of days ago I realized how "foggy" my perspective had become. I wasn't depressed, but I was discouraged. I wondered why I had to go through this pain once again. I felt there was no end in sight. I felt alone without anyone who truly understood or cared. My focus was on ME and MY circumstances rather than on the ONE who controls all things...the All-Knowing, All-Powerful, Almighty God.
I opened up my Bible to find some words of encouragement.
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord is the one who goes before you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor forsake you.
Although I don't know why God is allowing this in my life at this time, I DO know that I am not alone and that He will never fail me...nor forsake me. I don't have to be afraid or discouraged! He cares!
One of my favorite passages came to mind.
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me."
Oh Lord, why do I ever question you? Why do I so quickly listen to the lies of the enemy rather than to Your Truth. You are the Giver of Hope, the Loving Father. Although I don't understand, You know the plans you have for me...and they are for good!
I realized my need to pray (and remembered that He is listening). I longed to take the focus back off of myself and the pain I'm experiencing...and put it back onto the ONE who gives me a future and a hope. I scoured God's Word to find more words of hope. I felt my heart chiming in with these words in the Psalms as if the words were my own.
Why am I discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again-my Savior and my God!
When I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me the strenght I need.
I will quietly keep my mind on your decress.
A couple more visits to the chiropractor...more exercises, adjustments and traction therapy. I've felt a little bit of relief, yet as I sit here at my computer keying this out the pain still persisits. I have more visits on the calendar this week. My circumstances haven't changed much, but my focus has!
I put my hope in Him! I will praise Him through this. Then, I will praise Him again! I choose to remember that when I pray he WILL answer! I am encouraged because He gives me the strength I need! I choose to quietly keep my mind on Him and His promises!
With that in mind, how can I feel discouraged?!
How about you? Are you feeling discouraged today? Sometimes life is hard. God never promised it would be easy. He DID promise that He would go with us...if we seek Him. The circumstances of life can ofen bring us down. However, God is bigger than our circumstances!
I pray you found hope and encouragement in the scripture references above, my friend. Please pray for me. I already prayed for you today. :) If you would like additional prayer, please post a comment here or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.