“Come help me,” he said. So I did. We had an old rider lawn mower next to our shed that we needed to move, so we could pull something else into that space. The lawn mower doesn’t actually function. (We’re going to get it to the dump any year now.)
“All you have to do is sit down and steer while I push it forward,” he said.
We both noticed the pool of water in the seat after I splashed into it. “‘Sit down,’ you tell me.” Scathing look.
“Sorry,” he apologized. Charming look.
Then came him pushing and pushing. Going for gloves. Pushing some more. The mower had sat there so long that the front wheels were sunk down into the dirt.
“Doesn’t seem to be moving like it should,” he said. Turns out my legs were too short to push the clutch all the way down. Finally he ended up pushing the clutch and the lawn mower at the same time, while I steered -wet bum and all.
Messy business –moving something out of a hole.
That brings me to the place in which I found myself a few days ago. You know how you can be going along just fine and then suddenly you’re not? I had struggled for several days with technology frustration in my writing life (I’m too old for this new-fangled stuff.) Then someone spoke of a great success in just the place where I had been struggling, and I became that dead lawnmower –sidelined by discouragement.
Tires sunk in deep.
Discouragement was quickly followed by a strong desire to give up. (Those two feelings come in pairs like salt and pepper.) But I knew that both feelings were the enemy working on my mind.
I pushed back.
James tells us:
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12 NIV)
Perseverance means applying some muscle against giving up.
What I needed was a renewed sense of purpose, to act like a strong man with work gloves and a good hand on the clutch. I steered my mind toward verses that I’ve held onto in the past –verses that define what God has specifically called me to do. Despite technology challenges, God’s call on my life stays the same.
So if you’re in a discouraging situation and giving up sounds tantalizing, I encourage you to do three things:
- Don’t quit. Followers of Christ are clearly instructed to persevere through trials. Discouragement is normal. Giving up is unacceptable.
- Go to the Bible and find verses that define God’s purpose for you in your situation. Mentally grab on to the “why” of what you’re doing. Scripture truth will help rock you out of your hole.
- Talk to another follower of Christ and let him or her encourage your heart and pray for you.
And remember that God loves you.