Tuesday, September 17, 2013 —
Last week I told you about some setbacks that I was enduring. I thought I would follow up and tell you the rest of the story. There were a number of things going wrong and I was trying to handle them on my own. I was doing it in typical male fashion; stuff it down and quickly closing the door. The trouble with using that method is that you really aren’t dealing with anything, and in the end it left me discouraged.
When I wrote last week’s column I was hoping to encourage myself. Maybe I planted some seeds, but they hadn’t sprouted. By the time I was heading home from work on Tuesday discouragement was firmly in place. A friend saw me and asked how I was doing. I tried to get away from him, but he was wise and realized that something was wrong.
He pressed the issue … how was I doing? I opened the door and shared one of the things that was overwhelming me at the moment. He listened patiently as I shared. When I was done, he did what any concerned friend would do, he offered me some encouragement. I wish I could say that I received it warmly, but instead I shot him down. So he offered me another word of encouragement and I shot him down again. He offered a third word of encouragement and I made it three for three.
That’s when my friend looked at me with a smile and a laugh and said, “I think we are having a problem here.” I didn’t understand until he explained that I needed an attitude adjustment. We both laughed, and then he told me that we were going to do that again. I was going to tell him one of my little problems and he was going to encourage me. This time however, I was going to receive his encouragement as I should.
We went through the little exercise and I received his encouragement. We laughed again and as I turned to leave he told me to turn around and face him. When I looked him in the eye he said, “You are a man of God and I know you are going through some stuff right now, but you are going to defeat it. You are going to stand up and fight and you will find the victory.” I said, yes sir. We laughed again and I went home encouraged.
When he saw me the next day, he said he could see I was doing better. I explained to him that the reason I was doing better was that a friend had given me an encouraging word. He smiled hugely and went back about his business. I don’t struggle with discouragement that often but when I do I am careful who I tell. I want to tell a godly man or woman whom I know will pray for me because I firmly believe that prayer changes circumstances. While my friend encouraged me, it was undoubtedly his prayers that broke the hold of discouragement on me.
We need to learn to be there for other people. I can’t tell you how many times I have been the one doing the encouraging because I am looking for those opportunities and trying to be sensitive to the needs of others. We all go through difficult times and we need others to help us make it through to the other side. We weren’t called to make this journey alone.
If you read the book of Psalms you will discover that many times David was surrounded by the enemy and in a place of discouragement. David learned that he had to figure out how to encourage himself. In the beginning of many Psalms, David laments that his enemies have surrounded him and that his doom is near. By the end of each Psalm, David declares that the Lord will deliver him, that he will have victory, that his enemies will not triumph. David was masterfully encouraging himself. He was declaring God’s faithfulness. He believed that God would not leave him or forsake him.
If you find yourself in a discouraging place, I want to encourage you … God is with you and you will find the victory. You have to sweep away that stinking thinking and turn your situation over to God. God is big, strong and ready to help you overcome in your situation. David had to get up and fight his battles but God fought with him. So get up out of that dust, pick up your sword, and get ready to fight because the Lord is on your side.
Doug Creamer teaches Marketing at East Davidson High School. His website is www.dougcreamer.com. Contact him at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.