Updated: Mar 4, 2020
I'm in a season of challenges and obstacles. I've used words like: "Well, I made it this far," "It wouldn't be so bad to just let this go..." "I just don't think I can keep working on this doctorate," and "It would be so much easier not to have to deal with this anymore."
Strangely, those thoughts have been conflicting. On the one hand, I want to believe that my life would be easier if I just gave up on my Doctorate or my Family Ministry Podcast or my creativity, dreams, passions and the like... but, on the other, I feel guilt, shame, and disappointment for even allowing those thoughts to float around in my mind.
Now, I've been reading a book with Heather for morning devotions entitled DON'T GIVE UP by Kyle Idleman. It's exactly what we need for this season in our lives. From moving without a house to move to, to getting a vehicle fixed without the funds to get it fixed
[and so much more like allergies, lack of sleep, parenting issues, self-control, self-consciousness, anxiety... such is life - lol].
And then there are the real gut/soul wrenchers like trying to finish a doctorate I started over 5 years ago. I really, really want to give up on it, and yet, I keep hearing a small voice in my head
[yes I do hear voices in my head... thoughts I mean... everyone does right? lol], saying, "Don't give up."
All this to say, I think encouragement is a powerful motivator, but more importantly, it's a responsibility we have toward one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. I believe we are called to build each other up [Eph. 4:29 - 1Thes. 5:11 - Heb. 10:24-25 - Romans 15:1-11] to encourage and strengthen one another with reminders and words of hope, pointing each other toward Christ and what He is capable of doing through us [Jer. 29:11 - Gal. 2:20 - Matt. 5:14-16 - John 14:12].
It's true that we need comfort and sympathy from time to time, but I also believe we need a helping hand and a slap on our backside to wake us up and realize that it's not over yet. Like Jesus said to the man who doubted the healing of his son - "'If you are able?' All things are possible for the one who believes" - Mark 9:23. And of course the father's reply to Jesus [which i love so very very much] "Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, 'I believe; help my unbelief!'” - Mark 9:24.
In the words of Kyle Idleman: "I've discovered that many of us have some voices of comfort in our lives yet what we really need is a voice of courage. We may feel the need for sympathy when what we really need is strength" Don't Give Up, p.21.
So here's a text of en-courage-ment for you. Let it pick you up and slap you back in to consciousness. Let's get up and do this thing. Remember, you and I are not alone ;)
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." - James the Brother of Jesus James 1:2-3