Discouragement is the ugly little sister of depression. It isn’t severe, but it can be debilitating. It doesn’t require medication, but it does require attention. And, it does drain the joy out of every day living.
Discouragement comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes. It attacks the bright and the not so bright. It handicaps Christians just like those who do not know the Lord. It hampers growth in the mature and the young alike.
That’s why Paul made a special note to remind fathers to be careful with the way they discipline their children. In Colossians 3:21 he says, “Fathers, do not embitter your children or they will become discouraged.”
The Greek word used there for “discouraged” is a compound word. It has a negative particle in front of the word for passion. It means to be unable to “breathe hard” or express passion about something.
When we are discouraged, we are stagnant. Our energy is gone. Our drive is diminished. We are without passion. And that is a terrible way to live life.
I heard of a story about a recently retired gentleman who was sitting on his porch in Kentucky when his Social Security check arrived. He went and got the envelope and then thought to himself, “Is this what my life is going to be like from now on? Am I just going to sit around waiting for the next check to arrive?”
He was discouraged.
So he went and started writing down all of his blessings. He included the big ones and the little ones. He wrote everything down on a yellow legal pad and then began to review all the entries. He noticed that he was the only one in the whole world that knew his mother’s secret recipe for fried chicken. She used 11 herbs and spices in an unusual way, and everyone loved her chicken!
He went down to a local restaurant and asked if he could get a job cooking the chicken. Pretty soon that dish was the most popular item on the menu. He eventually opened his own place and then another and then another. Soon there was a nationally known chain of restaurants known as KFC. Years later he sold them and officially retired, again!
There are probable many ways to attack discouragement. But listing your blessings has to be a great place to start. Don’t let Satan steal your joy this week, resist the “ache” associated with discouragement. Find something that you are good at, and do it with passion!
Who knows, maybe someday they will name a fast food restaurant after you!