The best “insurance policy” you can have to guard you from discouragement is friendship. Discouragement pulls us away from the thing we need most in life – relationships and friendships. When discouraged we tend to pull away from God and from people. Without friendships, those discouragements can tear you down and hold you back in life.
D.L. Moody, a Christian leader who founded one of the greatest Bible colleges in the country, said, “I never knew a case where God used a discouraged man or woman to accomplish any great thing for him. Let a minister go into the pulpit in a discouraged state of mind, and it becomes contagious: it will soon reach the pews, and the whole church will be discouraged. … It seems as if God cannot make large use of such men.”
Discouragement is like an unseen voice always ready to speak to anyone who’s willing to listen. For each of us, it doesn’t take too much imagination to recall what the “voice of discouragement” sounds like, does it? Perhaps it is connected to a disappointment, shortcoming or failure in our lives. That “voice” has a way of making you feel defeated, overwhelmed, insignificant, and ineffective.
Discouragement makes us feel down on life and ourselves. Whenever we feel discouraged about something, we tell ourselves something like this: “If I were only more adequate in this area, then I would not be discouraged right now.” But, nothing could be further from the truth. As Neal Maxwell said, “Discouragement is not the absence of adequacy, but the absence of courage.”
The fact is … every one of us deals with discouragements in life. They are par for the course. But, we don’t have to put up with living in discouragement.
Billy Graham once said, “The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.’”
Prayer is the first place to take your discouragements. Surrender them to God. But, there is also a gift he has provided you with to help keep your hearts encouraged. And what is that gift?
Friendship. Friends inspire us with courage. They renew our courage. They encourage us. How thankful I am for the friends I have and the encouragements they bring to my soul.
Friends have a way of calling out the best in us and of cheering us on in the race of life. They see potential and value in us that we cannot see in ourselves. They challenge us to overcome the things that want to overcome us.
“…encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today,…” (Heb. 3:13 NIV)