Twin devils: frustration and discouragement

It is not always the big enemies that can take us out in life. Certainly, Goliath is frightening, with his hulking frame and taunting voice, but sometimes the lesser foes can be just as dangerous to our health.

We all square off against Goliath in our stories, sometimes more than once. We all have moments when we face overwhelming odds and receive mortal wounds in the process, wounds that can turn fatal if they are not treated right away. However, most of our battles are not with Goliath, they are with smaller demons like discouragement and frustration.

I haven’t decided which enemy is worse. I have faced a few Goliaths that almost took me out in an instant, but I have also faced some smaller ones that almost took me out over time. They both sucked. I don’t want to be chopped down by a giant, but nor do I want to be worn down by smaller things that gradually drain the life out of my soul.

That’s what frustration and discouragement do. They gradually extract the joy and vitality from our lives. In isolated instances, frustration and discouragement might not seem like a big deal because we all get discouraged, we all get frustrated and we learn to deal with it and move on. Unfortunately, when we get too comfortable tolerating and enduring these devils we often fail to perceive the corresponding erosion that is happening in our souls.

Frustration and discouragement. They sound so normal, so bland, but they are incredibly sinister because they actually have the power to steal our hearts. Colossians 3:21 tells us that if we frustrate our children long enough, they will eventually “lose heart”. And since courage comes from the French word “coeur” for heart, becoming discouraged literally means to be dis-hearted.

Loss of heart can be fatal. The heart is the seat of our faith, resilience, courage, and perspective, and when we lose there, we are vulnerable to losing everywhere else. That’s why Jesus said to His followers, “In this world you will have tribulation, but take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, ESV).

When the Apostle Paul and his shipmates were despairing beneath a storm he stood and said, “I urge you to take heart…” (Acts 27:22, ESV).

Take heart today! Pay attention to your frustration and discouragement levels, and do the necessary work to either change your situation or change your perspective. Don’t let the big ugly giants get you, and don’t let the little guys take you out either.

We need you. We need your gifts, talents, and service in our generation. We need you fully alive, with a big, bold courageous heart that is ready to love God and the people around you. Let’s banish these demons. Let’s discover our pathway to freedom in God. And let’s keep running the race marked out for us.

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