Are you discouraged today? Are you one who is familiar with discouragement, like me?
It should be no surprise that discouragement is pretty common among homeschool moms. I mean, we’re responsible for our kids’ health and well-being, character development, and oh yeah, their entire education. Basically everything.
Discouragement is defined as “A loss of confidence or enthusiasm.” A loss of wind in your sails, so to speak.
I have been knocked down by discouragement more often than I care to disclose. But, since that’s the case, I have learned a thing or two that I would like to share.
Put very simply, there are two bins in which we, as Christians, can place discouragement. The first bin is labeled, “I think I am doing what God would have me do, but I am discouraged,” and we’ll just label the second, “Not.” Each of those bins leads to a different response.
Are you discouraged today because you don’t feel like you’re the mother or teacher you want to be? Because your kids aren’t as far along by now as you had hoped? Because of someone else’s words or because God seems distant?
Chances are that those discouragements go into the, “I think I am doing what God would have me to do, but I am discouraged” bin.
The response to such discouragements is to hold tightly to God’s words for us:
“Put your hope in God.” (Psalm 42:5a) Are your hopes dashed today? Put your hope in God. He does not disappoint.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” (Proverbs 3:5a) What is it that is discouraging you? You can trust God with it, whatever (or whoever) it is. Really.
“Press on toward the goal.” (Phil. 3:14a) In the practical sense, do the next thing. Whatever that may be. The action of doing moves you forward and often helps you feel uplifted.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (12:9a) Are you feeling weak today? Rest in the knowledge that God’s grace is sufficient for you.
Trust and know that He will renew your strength.
That other bin? The one that says, “Not,” is for the times of discouragement that stem from our own pride or self-seeking.
That bin is for the times when we are discouraged because we weren’t recognized as we thought we should be, or when out of pride we boast of our own or our children’s accomplishments. For times when it is our words that hurt others, or when we choose our own way over God’s.
These are matters of our heart’s attitude. Let’s not act like we could never do such a thing, but let’s not get stuck here either, berating ourselves for our bad attitudes or misconduct. When we have fallen short let’s run straight to our Maker, the One who loves us so dearly and is quick to forgive.
The response to those discouragements is to humble ourselves, repent if necessary, and seek the refreshment of the Holy Spirit.
Either way, whether our discouragements stem from good intentions or are self-imposed, God is there for us, to refresh us as necessary. He cares deeply for us and wants us to call on Him and trust His words for us in our times of discouragement.
To be fair, there is a third place of discouragement. The discouragement that comes from simply not knowing what we should do. The response to that one is just as simple. It can require perseverance, but it’s simple.
If you don’t get your answer, don’t give up (as is easy to do), keep asking. Your persistence will pay off. God does hear you and He will be faithful to answer you. Keep asking and keep listening.
He will illuminate the path before you.
May I encourage you to do some sorting? Don’t let yourself get up from here until you have put your discouragement where it belongs. And then, ask God for what you need, whether it is encouragement, forgiveness, or answers.
He will be faithful and give you all that you need for life and godliness.