Discouragement is a frustrating thing. Sometimes it is a long, lingering feeling, like when it comes with a long-road type of project. You look up at how much work you’ve done and you feel disappointed because you’re sure you put in more work than that! The moments you have a real-world look at just how much work something you want is going to require are the moments that test your perseverance. To be honest, I have always had a problem with perseverance. I get discouraged quite easily, and long-road projects are hard for me to tackle because when I get discouraged, I get depressed on a really deep, existential, “what’s the point of even trying” way.

But discouragement during major undertakings is not nearly so bad as discouragement out of the blue. I think this one is just a mood. You look in the mirror one day and you don’t recognize the person in the mirror. You swear you were better looking than that! You look back at something you achieved and it seems moderate or mediocre, when before it was a miraculous feet. This discouragements hits you in the middle of the day for no reason, or, at least it does me, and it, too, undermines your efforts. But this discouragement is different than Long-road-project discouragement. At least when you are discouraged abut a project, your disappointment can be focused on one concept: the project. This other discouragement is vague, and it undermines your very being. It makes you question, not the point of your endeavors, but the point of you.

Personally, I am learning to let the mood pass. Identifiable discouragement can be dealt with. Projects can be reviewed, goals can be reset, and I can get support from others to help me deal with the long-road discouragement, but the ambiguous feelings of failure that appear, uninvited and unaccounted for, those are useless. I can do nothing with vague discouragement but let it pass. Like a bad storm, I just have to hunker down and wait it out. It will pass. I’ve learned that when I focus on the mood, I give it power. If I fixate on trying to understand “vague” discouragement or depression, I get more depressed. It comes from nowhere, and exists to no purpose. So I do what I’d do if a hurricane were blowing through: Grab a good book, a good movie, or something else, and just wait it out. I am the power behind my own bad moods, and if I deny the mood power, I am half way to the victory, and the Grace of God will take me the rest of the way.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.”

Ephesians 3:16


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