I Refuse to Be Discouraged

  • Oct. 18, 2017
  • #9253

Comparing ourselves with others causes dissatisfaction and lack of appreciation with the life God has given us.

Family Retreat

Hi, I’m Joni and I refuse to be discouraged.

But listen, I remind myself of that commitment, time and again. Because with all the baggage that goes with my disability, it is so easy to become discouraged. I look at healthy people who walk and run; who use their hands and can hold things, or drive cars, or cook and bake with their hands, fold towels and sheets, wipe their nose, take their own showers without help. I can easily become discouraged if I focus on what they can do. I look at their abilities, and it makes what I cannot do seem overwhelming. Comparing myself to other people? I always come out on the losing end. And that can breed discouragement. I simply cannot try to imitate the way others tackle life. It’s just wrong.

That’s the problem when we compare ourselves to others. The Bible underscores that He’s given each of us gifts and skills and abilities hand-tailored just for us. Romans Chapter 12, verse 3 says that God gives each of us a measure of faith so that we do not think more highly – or for that matter, more lowly – of ourselves than we ought to. God gives us hand-tailored grace so that we might think of ourselves with good judgment, as Romans 12 says. Sure, there are many things I cannot do, but there are lots more that I can do. I can encourage and pray; I can cheer others on with words of comfort. I can write notes to those who are sick, and speak hope into hearts that are depressed. I can talk up Jesus, and bless others with His Word. Oh my goodness, all these things, all of them are so much more important than whether or not I can fold towels, whip up an omelet, drive a car, or blow my nose. I have absolutely no reason to feel discouraged, and I tell myself that whenever thoughts of comparing try to steal my peace of mind.

Henry Nouwen says that there are, “Many contradictions in our lives, being home while feeling homeless, being busy while feeling bored, being popular while feeling lonely, being believers while feeling many doubts, all these things can discourage us. They make us feel that we are never fully present.” That the grass is always greener somewhere else; that we’re never quite satisfied with our lives as God has ordained them. And friend, it happens when we compare ourselves (our gifts and abilities, our homes and bank accounts, our kids); it happens when we compare ourselves to others. So please be aware. When discouragement creeps into your heart, put it behind you, say no; be content with what God has given you. When you do, you’ll be well on your way to appreciating the important things in life. You’ll be happy with what God has given you, just as I am content with not walking or having use of my hands.

I say more about this in a book I wrote years ago called “A Step Further”. It’s all about the important lessons I learned from the Bible when I started trusting God after my diving accident. It’s an award-winning book and I want to give you a free copy. Just ask for yours at joniandfriends.org/radio. We only have a limited supply, so go on-line right away to make sure you get your free copy of “A Step Further.”And if it blesses you, then please pass it on to a friend who struggles with discouraging thoughts. Spread the hope; spread the encouragement as well as the contentment by sharing my book “A Step Further”. Get your copy today at joniandfriends.org/radio. And thank you for using your gifts today to the glory of God. When you have a chance today, drop by joniandfriends.org.

© Joni and Friends

 

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