Part One:

JUNE 30 2016

I haven't posted anything in a while. I'm going to put myself out on the line for a little bit. I've been a bit discouraged; Haven't we all been there once, twice, maybe even a few times? Being discouraged tackles my mind, and stuns my want to do anything. Recently, I had a conversation with someone, a fairly good conversation, but something they said shook me and has been left like a burn in my brain. It's funny how you can hear 99 good things and the 1 bad thing will stick to you. I honestly can't remember anything else this person said to me from that conversation because how much it bothered me. 

I don't want you to feel bad for me, or feel like you are just reading a diary; Because this is not one of those posts. I want to talk about being discouraged. 

I am a very passionate person. I like to get better and better at things and always want to learn from people. I always want to worship with each step I take, every song I sing, every piece of art I draw, every song I write, and try with every word I speak. Some of you reading this may be just like me.

Think about one thing you are passionate about (it is more than a hobby to you): Dancing, singing, drawing, being a good friend, collecting, preaching, writing, whatever it may be. Think about if I just told you, "You were never supposed to be doing what you are passionate about doing. You are too young. You are too uneducated. And you were promoted too much, too fast." Well... These words were spoken to me.

The initial response would be anger. When I first heard these words, I didn't understand. In my mind, I was trying to put together each word in what felt like a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle. I wasn't angry. I was confused. How could someone who is trying to lead me and help me grow say something to discouraging to me? Within weeks, I gave up searching for an answer and allowed myself to accept these statements. I know what you are thinking, "Why would you accept this?! It isn't true and you shouldn't listen to what people say." This is a natural response,  but my answer to that, is because I was discouraged. Am I saying it is acceptable to be and feel discouraged? No, I am not. It is not okay to be discouraged and you shouldn't feed into it.

What does being discouraged do? It will stunt you of your growth. Discouragement turns into an ugly fossil of your passions and your dreams. Don't allow anyone to tell you, you are too young, too uneducated, and not supposed to be doing what you are passionate about. Especially when it's for Jesus. Instead, motivate, lead, disciple, mentor, and encourage those around you to have passions and to pour them into Jesus.

We will take a look at Job. Job was crushed; emotionally, and the things physically around him. Through the tests God put him through, he worshipped.  But it came to a point that he was just like anyone else. He was discouraged and felt abandoned by God. And despite what his friends and family said, it went in one ear and out the other. 

God knew Job was blameless and an upright man. It says this in Job1:8. While all the time the world seemed to crush Job, God was cheering him on behind scenes. However, Job did not notice God was cheering him on because he was discouraged and focused on the terrible things around him. Job began to wear the destruction, the heartache, and the pain. He started to believe it was his fault, and cursed his family and cried out to God. He was the definition of discouragement. With each breath Job screamed out to God questioning everything in frustration. Could you imagine?... It wasn't until Job had to be shaken up, get out of the pity party of discouragement and listen for God's voice. Finally God said....

Job 38:4-18 (NIV)

4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
    or who laid its cornerstone—
7 while the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels[a] shouted for joy?

8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors
    when it burst forth from the womb,
9 when I made the clouds its garment
    and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
    and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
    here is where your proud waves halt’?

12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning,
    or shown the dawn its place,
13 that it might take the earth by the edges
    and shake the wicked out of it?
14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
    its features stand out like those of a garment.
15 The wicked are denied their light,
    and their upraised arm is broken.

16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
    or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
    Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?
18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
    Tell me, if you know all this.


I say that all to say this... I feel like in the midst of me feeling left alone by God... In the moment when I felt like God allowed someone to come in my life to tear me down, I turned and heard Him cheering me on. He reminded me, just how He reminded Job, of who He is. Have you been or are you discouraged? Remember how great, how powerful our God is. We never served a weak God, we serve the alpha and the omega. There is nothing He can't pull you out of. Don't allow your discouragement to fossilize your passions and your dreams. Put your passions and dreams in Christ. Whenever your platform is on Jesus for anything, no one will be able to rip it away. Anchor your hope, your all in Him alone that way when the things of this life come and try to discourage you, you will not be shaken. Through out everything, I have learned a few things:
1. I am going to be an encourager, not a discourager.
2. I am going to place all my passions and dreams in Christ.
3. Discouragement is deadly and it will hold you back if you allow it. 
4. Don't allow your discouragement to turn into bitterness. Allow God to work on you. Be honest with yourself and be honest with God. Let go of what you cannot control and lean on His understanding. 

So from here on out... I am going to post more on this blog and keep on telling you all the good news! 

God I pray that you would reveal bitter parts in our lives. I pray that you would turn discouragement into encouragement. I pray you wont allow our stubborn-ness to get in the way of you are trying to do through us. I trust you God. Help me to never forget how you have me, and how you always keep your promises... Amen.