Do you ever have something inside that wants to be heard, but you can’t quite pinpoint exactly what it is that it wants to say? I have written an entire manuscript on my tumultuous affair with chronic disease and yet writing a single blog post sometimes overwhelms me to the point of it not happening. As I thought this all through, typing and deleting sentences, I suddenly knew what my topic would be: discouragement. Because, that’s what I was.
Discouragement is defined by my trusty friends at Google as “a loss of confidence or enthusiasm: dispiritedness”. If you have read my post on all the almost jumping I did a couple years ago, I think my discouragement has been made abundantly clear.
Discouragement is not just for those of us with chronic disease, however, and it doesn’t go away when the symptoms go away, unfortunately.
I like to imagine that each of us is imprinted or inscribed with something.
Like when life is breathed into our beings, it etches something into the recesses of our inner jungles – a model number of aspirations and purpose for living. Just like you can trace most antiquities by their number, I think all of us were marked with our own unique identification.
We’re supposed to live in accordance with that design, but it gets muddled doesn’t it? It gets overgrown with every “not good enough” and “not skinny enough” and “not smart enough, strong enough, pretty enough”.
If you read on in the definition of “discouragement”, it says, “an attempt to prevent something by showing disapproval or creating difficulties; deterrent.” So not only can you feel it, but you can be it.
After I had the procedure done to diagnose my bladder disease, which involved pumping my bladder full of death liquid, the nurse showed me the “Interstitial Cystitis Diet”, which was carnage on my soul.
It had “no” signs through coffee, and alcohol, chocolate, tomatoes; I mean if it was delicious, it was off the menu. I asked her, as I checked to make sure I wasn’t peeing myself, if I could have any of these things again once my bladder was feeling better. She assured me I would never have them again.
This nurse was discouragement in fleshly form. I wish I could show her the glass of wine I am sipping on right now as I type this, the coffee I drank all day today, and the chocolate I plan on devouring as a reward for completing this. Her words sank so deeply into my soul, and something as simple as food became a monstrous discouragement.
As I mentioned, it’s not just the disease stuff either. I put on a swimsuit this past weekend with some of the most adorable people in the world. Enough said. They weren’t the discouragement though: I was.
I was allowing the words of the devil rest in my heart and I felt terrible about myself. Ladies, we battle discouragement all day. From the minute our feet hit the floor and we notice our spider veins, to the second we accidentally find ourselves on that god forsaken scale, to the moment we catch a glimpse of our reflection, we not only are discouraged, but we are discouragement.
I’m also in the midst of trying to find an agent to represent my manuscript. I JUST sent the queries last week, but I am checking my email about 20 million times per day and every time I see nothing but junk mail showing up, I hear the voice telling me, “You will never get your story out there. You think too much of yourself. Your writing sucks. You talk about Jesus too much. You swear too much. It is so rare to actually get published.”
It’s the same thing in every area: my oil business, my marriage, my parenting, my friendships: all of it!
Discouragement wants to rob us of joy and distract us from our purpose.
It is a tool of the great deceiver to keep us from discovering what it was that was breathed into us.
Something I have learned that I didn’t do so well in the no good, very bad IC days, is that I can’t let my gift of encouragement stop with other people. I have to let the Holy Spirit talk to me sometimes too. I have to extinguish discouragement with words of hope and life.
So, this weekend, even though I was sure my body had lost all structure and looked akin to a pile of dough or pastries, I fought back. I covered myself in blankets (always a good idea when you are feeling terrible about yourself, for multiple reasons), and I asked God to remind me that I was treasured and that I had work to do.
I could let my pity party ruin my mood for the weekend and believe the carefully plotted lies, or I could believe I was beautiful and treasured. When you think about it in those terms, it’s not a hard decision to make. The next morning, I woke up and I could enjoy my friends and I wasn’t thinking about myself anymore, allowing the weekend continue with love and joy, not discouragement and self-doubt.
If you have a disease and someone in the medical community has spelled out your doom, I am proof that they can be wrong. Repeat after me: “I can beat this. God can heal me. No disease is greater than the spirit that dwells within“.
It’s true friends! I know how hard it is to believe, because I was there. I am a “knocker on wood” and as such, I find it hard to say things that I think may “jinx” me. I was afraid to say I would get better and eat the foods I loved again, because if I said it, then maybe I would jinx it.
This is so hugely stupid. It’s a palatial heap of moron speak. Do you hear how stupid it is? I was putting more faith into superstition than I was into the God that healed blind men and lepers.
Friends, I may be getting too Jesusy here for my audience, but I can’t help but preach this last part: Jesus brought back a man from the dead. What makes you think he can’t heal your disease? And if you don’t believe in Jesus, I think you can find hope in those that DO get better.
People get better all the time. Don’t listen to every discouraging word, because your spirit and your body will follow their direction.
Walk in the direction of hope.
Speak in the presence of encouragement.
And ignore the whispers that try to cover your unique purpose with their destructive intent.
I’m not giving up on my book, my business, my relationships, my self-image, or on you. Don’t you either.
“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” – John 16:33 TPT