Monday, October 22, 2012

The Fine Art of Discouragement

I've done it, I've done it. I've made discouragement into a fine art. I have fine-tuned the ability to spiral downward into a pit until the only thing that can drag me out is what my friend Katie calls a "come to Jesus meeting" with my journal and the gospel.

When you've made discouragement into a fine art, it takes some artfulness to find encouragement, too - thus the journaling. My journal entry starts out with this: 

Why does it seem like every time one big issue goes away, another steps in to take its place? Last year, it was desire for a child. God help me - this's overwhelming discouragement about writing.
Call me a temperamental artist, if you will. I am, and I know it for true. Over and over, I have to remind myself why I write in the first place, or why I should write in the first place. It's to glorify God through my profound joy in the task, I tell myself, as well as my skill in my work. However, because it's so much easier to slip into daydreams of fame and obsession with the opinion of others, I usually end up camping there. Then I end up here, and voila! the cycle begins again!

As I journaled tonight, the Holy Spirit opened up my heart to a new idea - that the cycle doesn't have to happen in the first place, and that my struggle, my almost-daily discouragement in writing, is an opportunity for me to learn how to immediately redirect myself away from worldly goals and toward godly ones. If that is what comes of these days of frustration, all of it will have been worth it.

So, if nothing else, I pray that these days teach me genuine dependency on the Lord for my joy, my purpose and my identity. Discouragement is a lousy fine art, after all, and never worth the time that I give it.


  1. Relate, relate, relate. Along with fame and others' opinions (that's a biggie), I step into the worry that writing is how I *have* to support myself and will I ever be able to?...even though I have another job, which does pay, right now.

    1. I think it's easy to separate "career" from our spiritual life, and not let the former become part and parcel of the other. That might sound preachy, but what I mean is, our relationship with God encompasses all the things we do, even skills that are specific to us as individuals. It's so hard to remember that, though, partly (I think) because career is everything in this culture. I know I need total renewal of my mind in this area.


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