We want results, but how do we deal with discouragement?
October 30th, 2012 by Agent Kevin Miller
Yesterday I shared a confession of the heart from a new member and replied with a ‘Part 1′ response to his question. You can read it here, including and incredible comment by the guy himself, “I’ll never truly learn who I was made to be“. Here is Part 2 as promised, focusing on ‘discouragement’:
So there were these two young apes in Africa, Leroy and Bruce. They lived the life of a typical ape. Foraging for food, fighting off predators, weathering famine and injury and illness. Mating and winning a fight were highlights, as was a great kill and feast. Overall, the highs and lows, trials and triumphs of life in the wild.
One day they got chased by a bunch of men and Bruce was captured. They shipped him to America and he was placed in a fine zoo. He was no longer free. However, he no longer had to work for food, it was delivered like clockwork. He no longer had to fight off predators, he was alone and behind secure fences that while keeping him in, also kept any nuisance out. He had sun, shade and warmth. They even gave him powders to keep lice off, and medicines to ward off illness. They brought in a female occasionally for a bit of mating.
Over time however, Bruce was not well. He was in fact…pretty bad off. Discouraged. He’d lost his joy and confidence. He had no purpose. Truthfully though, he struggled even admitting those feelings. He knew his buddy Leroy was out in the wild facing possible death on a daily basis. Heck, he didn’t even know if Leroy was alive! In comparison, he felt guilty for not being somewhat grateful.
One day he caved in and sent a letter to Leroy, hoping it would find him. He shared his heartache and pain and then his shame in admitting his feelings. Weeks passed and he got a letter back from Leroy! True to form, Leroy was concise and to the point:
Thanks for the letter. Brother, let your shame be gone. You are right to feel pain and heartache. I face death daily, but my heart is fully alive. You are safe from outside harm, but your insides are rotting. Your heart is dead. Why? You lost your freedom. I’ll take risk and freedom any day. Here’s to you finding a way home!
Your Friend, Leroy
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I give the above analogy to give credence to discouragement. We often minimize it in comparison to other’s circumstances. But discouragement is real and dangerous. A bullet or car wreck or rabid ape might kill us. But a dead heart certainly will. There are many walking dead among us.
So first, give the discouragement weight in your life and reality.
The next issue is then…why do we stay in our state of discouragement and let it hold us captive? Generally due to past failures at escape and life-change. In our above story, let’s assume Bruce initially tried to escape, to no avail. Maybe he was disciplined for the effort and it made circumstances even worse! Every avenue was blocked. He gave up.
But for us, unless you’re reading this from an actual jail cell, you are not a victim of true imprisonment. There are ways out for you, though they may seem overwhelming. You may have tried and failed.
Assume you won’t get out till your 300th try. The only way to get there is to start knocking out the numbers of ‘tries’ ahead of 300.
Let me admit something here. I know discouragement. Presently. I have areas in my life that are not ‘well’ and when time goes by and they aren’t better…I get discouraged. All I know to do is show up the next day and try again. Battle some more. Try something different. Risk. Hope. Pray.
But never give in or give up. That lets discouragement win…and would be my death. I’m not here to die.
How about you?