Starting a new business? Beginning your first (or fifth) year homeschooling children? Or just plain trying to figure out what to feed your family when you have ZERO food in the pantry?
It’s easy to be discouraged, but spotting it is the key to overcoming Satan’s #1 trick for getting us off track!
Discouragement can come in all forms.
Discouragement can come under the guise of friendly “wisdom”.
I did this to a good friend who wanted to start a non-profit, Ella Sera. I know now it was discouragement.
We were having our regular chick-filled-conversation-of-lovely-Christian-female-bonding-goodness. And she was super-pumped about her vision to help single moms.
Problem is…I had JUST spoken to a woman who was a veteran at running a non-profit.
So, ya know…as a good friend I figured I should pass on the sage wisdom I had learned.
You’d be better off volunteering at an already established non-profit. Starting a non-profit is really hard, ya know.
The moment the words slipped outta my mouth, I should have known I was being a discouragement.
My sister and I call these people “dream squashers.”
You know the types…The ones…they are always giving you that “reality check.” Always under the guise of love and wisdom.
Problem is a dream is like a newborn…precious…innocent…ignorant in all the best ways to the hardships of this world.
Would you lecture a newborn about the energy crisis?
Let’s say the dream is out of its infant stage, would you lecture a child on the problems with the World Bank?
Don’t get me wrong, I believe there is a time and a season for the dreaded “reality check” that puts one’s dreams in perspective with real life.
Before you offer your advice ask yourself:
- Am I an expert?
- Have I just dabbled?
- Have I heard about someone who has dabbled?
Unless you are an expert, just smile. Keep your heart light and motivational.
Unless someone has directly asked your opinion, be encouraging…and even if they have asked your opinion be encouraging while communicating any concerns and issues you perceive.
Discouragement is Satan’s #1 Tool
I recently watched a video about discouragement and he said that “discouragement was the devil’s #1 tool in his toolbox that made all the other tools work better.”
And what’s even more effective is when he can use those who love us most to discourage us.
Satan will use our closest friends, our husbands and parents to fulfill his plans.
Then the dreams, which may come from God, are sacrificed on the altar of discouragement…before they ever saw the light of day.
One of my favorite memories of my mother’s encouragement is when I was coming to her with some idea. Instead of telling me that my idea wouldn’t work she said:
“A dream is like the dawning of a new day. At first you don’t see it all. As the sun rises, the outlines become clearer. Your dream takes shape until the full sun is shining.”
She was just being a supportive mom. Little did she realize that she was quote the scripture in Proverbs 4:18 that says:
The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
If discouragement is Satan’s tool, then encouragement is God’s tool.
In Deuteronomy 30:9, it states that God will prosper the works of our hands if our hearts are fully turned towards him and we are walking in obedience.
In my friend’s case, she wanted to help those who were struggling with being a single mother. Her heart was a heart of service and love towards fellow her fellow humans.
I should have been nothing but encouraging. I should have said that I would pray for the doors to open. I should have offered my service as graphic/website designer.
Who cares if it failed or flourished? At least she tried to do something for Christ!
And I would have been remembered as the friend who encouraged her.
I have since apologized profusely. Luckily, she says she brushed it off anyhow. She is still refining her vision to this day despite my ill-timed words.
As Hebrews 10:23-24 says:
So let us, hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Be an encourager, whether to a friend or your own children…or even yourself.
Tell them with man this dream of yours is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
If you find yourself discouraged, meditate on these three scriptures:
Head covering Christian woman who loves good wine, coffee, stinky cheese and missionary books. My favorite dessert is Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake. I am a Christian author, blogger, and speaker. I fell in love with my husband because he had rain drops on his glasses (true story). In my spare time I homeschool my six children (5 girls, 2 boys).