A couple of weeks ago I attended a meeting, and one of the members was frustrated with another member. To add insult to injury, I sided with one of them. After two and a half hours, NOTHING was accomplished. I left drained, discouraged and ready to quit my role on the team. I took inventory of why I was feeling so down. Things didn’t go the way I expected, and people didn’t perform the way they promised. It all came crashing down on me, and I wanted out. The only thing that kept me engaged was my belief in the project we’re working on. It is so important we get it right. People are counting on us. But that didn’t keep me from feeling discouraged though.
Discouragement is the precursor to disaster. Someone fired up about their job doesn’t quit. A person stoked about their marriage doesn’t divorce. And someone excited about their church doesn’t stop attending. But discouragement is like quicksand. You step in it, get slowly sucked down into the mire and eventually die, never knowing it started with a little discouragement. It can come any time and from a myriad of places. That is the reality. What I have learned is how I respond to the dejection will determine if I live or slowly die.
I asked myself what about the meeting that I can control was draining, and identified two things: 1) I was putting too much weight on my shoulders, trying to carry something I’m not equipped to carry, and 2) I missed the opportunity to learn during the interaction rather than placing blame. When things are going well I tend to arrogantly take credit, and when they’re going badly I am discouraged and beat myself up. Neither is a healthy option. When I asked myself what I’m learning, it becomes an opportunity for growth and development, and neither issue hurts me. If I am learning (and winning) the Church wins, my wife and kids win, and it’s a game changer.
I think this is what David did when his world was totally rocked and he had every reason to wallow in the “quicksand” of fear and doubt. He didn’t allow himself to stay in there but instead turned his eyes off himself and on to Jesus. The Bible says, “David was greatly distressed, because his men were all very bitter about losing their children, and they were threatening to stone him; but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God” (1 Samuel 30:6 KJV). Amazingly, David shifted his gaze from his distress and fixed his mind and heart on the Lord his God!
Each of us has a choice to either dwell on problems and people that bring discouragement, or focus on Jesus and find hope and life. If you’re ready to quit, give up or give in, check your gaze. Where are you looking? Hebrews 12:2 tells us, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the one who leads us and makes our faith complete.”
This weekend I hope to encourage you and help you regain your focus on the God who loves you. I am excited about the Cornerstone for Generations project and our groundbreaking ceremony – a wonderful statement of faith that God is in control. There will be ONE GATHERING at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday – everyone together to celebrate our one-year mark into the project. See you then.