One of the most damaging emotions to ones’ spirit, is I believe discouragement. It creeps slowly into our minds, often to be dismissed for a time, only to return with greater force.
I could list all the things that can bring this into our lives, but as we have likely all experienced it for one reason or another, it isn’t really necessary. Sometimes we think there are those who just don’t ever get discouraged. It seems that they can shrug it off, and not affect them. Maybe there are such people, but I think most have.
As a Christian I know we are to take our cares and concerns to God in prayer, and I know the scriptures have verses to this effect, but that even when we do believe that God is in control, discouragement can still comes into our lives. It is often said that what we do with negative thoughts, is the difference, and I believe of course that’s true and important. I also though during my lifetime, have experienced it over and over. Even the Bible tells of great men of God, feeling desolate and discouraged. Again, I could quote some examples but will forego doing so.
I think the point I want to make, is that it is often so easy to see someone who is sad and feeling defeated, or perhaps just lonely and there are some who really want to avoid those people. They don’t want to take on anyone else’s issues or problems because they feel like they have enough of their own. To be honest, that is a valid reason for not getting involved sometimes.
For the various and many times I felt like this, I must say that when someone took the time to ask how I was, and ‘really wanted to know’ it made such a difference. Often times we ask, but we really don’t want to know! It’s a common thing to ask how someone is doing, but it’s often ‘uncommon’ to really listen, and to offer support.
Often that’s all that’s needed; not the solution to the problem; only to offer comfort, perhaps a hug when it’s appropriate; going out for dinner or coffee; or just to sit and ‘listen’ with not only your ears but with your heart.
That’s when you can change ‘discouragement’ to ‘encouragement’; and you may never know what that has meant to someone; it could even be the difference that gives that person a reason to ‘go on’!