I find I write often about discouragement, too much really. I can stay in such a cycle of discouragement that I get tired of hearing my own voice talk about it and reading what I write on the topic. Still, it comes. You would think I would be past it by now after the years filled with peaks and valleys in my walk with Jesus.
Today’s blog comes after another bout with discouragement and my calling out to God from the pit. Just this week I sent an email to a friend about my latest climb out and wanted to share some of what I wrote to her. Even as I typed the email, I realized it would make for a good blog.
My words to my friend:
“It doesn’t matter how far I travel with the Lord or how many “gifts” I’ve been given. Discouragement is the devil’s favorite tool to use against me. I’m so like King David. Not the good man of battle and great leader stuff – you know, the ups and downs in the Psalms. I’m quite sure David was the second bi-polar king recorded. (Saul was just nuts.) I’m like that, on the mountain one day and sprawled out in the valley the next, crying, “Lord, come and save me from the pit.”
Good news is: I’m outta the pit. I’m not my normal passionate me right now, but that’s something Jesus and I are working on. At least I’m on stable ground and back on mission. Something happened Monday that set me straight. It was one of the most blatant answers from God through Scripture (supplied by a reader who wrote to me at the exact right time) that I’ve ever encountered. Hebrews 6:10.”
“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” NIV
- As if all that I’ve done has meant nothing
- Aimless and unsure about my new direction
- As if I’ve missed His voice and direction
- Like I’ve wasted the past few years
- Ready to stop chasing this dream and just veg on the couch
- Like it wasn’t fair that I would devote my life to this pursuit of Him, yet I must have missed Him
I poured out my heart in my Quest journal, asking God to be specific in His direction. I whispered in prayer that it hardly seemed fair. I belly-ached all kinds of whys and where are Yous. In that same day’s devotion, I wrote: “I’m tired, Lord. I’m just so tired of chasing after this and seeing so little in return.”
Now you see what I meant by being in the pit. It wasn’t the pit of sin. It was the pit of self-pity. I’m seriously tired, and when I’m tired, negativity and discouragement rage in my mind. When I say tired, I don’t just mean physically. Yes, I had just gotten over the flu, so there was a physical element of depletion. The main issue, though, was that I was drained emotionally. I felt defeated.
I can look at it all now with more objectivity. For one the grey days of winter have taken their toll. What was more likely the culprit regarding my mental and emotional state was the past year I’ve spent revising all my old work. I am currently working on book 5 of 5 in a complete overhaul of every book I’ve published. That was over 600,000 words that I have poured over and reshaped and revised. It’s been taxing to say the least. Add in the fact that I’ve not worked on anything new to spark my creativity, and my low emotional state makes perfect sense.
Back to the point.
While I sat there with my study book in my lap, after all my crying out to God, I noticed I had a message from a reader. She has contacted me before, but this time was something special. Her message told of a friend of hers, an abuse victim who had recently read Unmending the Veil. This reader who contacted me had suggested the book to her friend at least a year before the woman was ever to read it. It touched her in many ways, I’m told. The message I received shared a few details about her ministry to abuse victims and how she always recommends my book to them. It reminded me that flesh and blood women out there, those who have been hurt by the one who should have protected them, read this story and God speaks to them through it.
That would have been enough to shake me out of my discouraged state if that had been all the message said. But she also said,
“I just wanted you to be encouraged and to know that people are really benefiting from your work. Keep on pressing into the Lord and doing as He asks.”
She ended her message with:
“For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.”
Whaaat?! Are you kidding me? I had just eye-rolled that verse! It’s one thing when you see a repetition of a verse like, “For I know the plan I have for you, declares the LORD.” That’s a commonly used and shared scripture. But Hebrews 6:10? Nope. It’s way too obscure to be a coincidence. God gave me His reconfirmed Word through this precious reader. He literally spoke His words of encouragement through the study and then through His servant when I ignored His first attempt with a childish eye-roll.
I could spend the next hour dissecting this verse and how powerful it all was in its specific answers to my accusations and questions. I’ll try to simplify with my major takeaways:
- He is just. In my rambling accusations, even if I didn’t mean it, I called Him unjust. He was quick to remind me differently.
- He hasn’t forgotten me or what I’ve done for the ones He loves.
- He hasn’t overlooked how much I love Him and how that’s my motivation for doing what I do.
- “… in still ministering to the saints” reminds me to keep doing what I’m doing. I haven’t missed His leading or missed the way. I asked Him to be specific, and He was.
I want to share more but don’t want to bore you. I’ll leave you with a few thoughts:
- God speaks through His Word. If you aren’t digging into the Word of God on a regular basis, then you are missing God’s voice speaking into your life, answering your questions, and guiding you in this mixed up journey called life.
- He speaks to us through other believers. We matter to each other. Our obedience matters when we feel a tug on our heart to reach out. Fun fact: The reader, Alyce-Kay, let me know that she had wanted to send that message to me later in the day but felt prompted to send it on early. God knew I needed to read that message while my study book still sat on my lap and while my eye-roll at His verse would still be fresh on my mind. His timing is perfect. It will do me some good to remember that when discouragement over timing begins to take its toll next time.
- Ask questions of God. Call out to Jesus. Don’t settle for a faraway relationship with the One who died to draw you into an intimate relationship with HIm.
Grace and peace to you. May you hear the voice of the Lord. May encourages encourage you. May you encourage others when the Spirit moves. You never know whose grey winter you might put an end to or who you might lend a hand out of the pit.
Much love to you,