As summer comes to a close, with classes starting, kids heading off to their first day, and the wonderful cold weather is right around the corner, it’s easy to lose sight of what we gained during the rest. For me, the twenty one days of prayer my church began has now ended and free time has drastically shifted with my classes. I learned so much about myself and where I believe God is calling me, but moments like this are when I can get discouraged. When I am living with freedom and have a purpose, that’s when the enemy begins to pick at my surface and get under my skin. I believe we all have been called to a greater purpose, that’s one of the reasons why I write, I want everyone to know what they have the potential for. But what do we do after we have that purpose in our minds? I start running towards it with all that I’ve got, and I start to hear the lies from the enemy. It takes many forms, the hurtful comment of someone around you, the position you wanted and being overlooked for it, and the dangerous place of our own thoughts telling us that we can’t do it. We fall down. Those moments and situations happen when we begin moving towards our higher purpose. It would be pretty depressing if I left it there right? One thing I am learning is that not only are those lies and attacks on our spirit, but we are called to get back up from the ground and rise up to the calling on our lives.
I am by no means a perfect person, nor do I have all the answers to the big mysteries of life. What I do have is experience and a trust on God’s word. I’m dealing with discouragement in my own life, and I know how it feels to feel worthless. My dream is to be a writer and a next gen pastor, and those are big dreams with a huge risk, so trust me when I say that the enemy is trying to stop me from attaining that goal. You may have a similar calling or a completely different one, but no matter what it is, you are not alone in your pursuit of it. Discouragement wants to isolate you and make you believe that you’re the only one struggling. Discouragement hates community. When we realize that each of us struggles, we can defeat the discouragement and make moves towards our full potential. I want to share what I am learning on how to get back up and rise towards my calling, and I want to help you do the same in your own life.
Life will knock you down.
Now I know this is kind of a melancholy statement, but in order to get up, we must know that things won’t always be easy. I know for me when I really took ownership of my relationship with Christ, I thought things would be easy, I was mistaken. I have been made fun of, I have felt the hurt of addictions from those around me, and I have seen friends get to the lowest depths and pass away. Life is not an easy thing, contrary to those stick figure bumper stickers, life is not always good (Are those even still around?). Once we see where we are being hit from, we can train ourselves to be prepared the next time. Rather than being complacent in our pain, we can choose to get back up and fight. Like a true hero, we know what is right and we know what is better for us, so we fight for what we believe in. I love the character of Spider-Man, and if you want to know a hard life, look at Peter Parker. The identity of this hero went through it all, no parents, his uncle that raised him was shot and killed, he was constantly made fun of in school, has to fight maniacs, and watched his girlfriend die. Talk about a hard life, and the thing is, this fictional character probably has similar struggles as you. Parents not there, loved ones dying, and okay maybe fighting bad guys isn’t a common thing, but we all fight demons that lie to us in our head don’t we? Everyone has battles they face, but Spider-Man never gave up, he saw what he was called to do, and fought for that purpose.
Community will help you get back up.
This is a key element to fighting discouragement. We were not meant to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, that’s never been our job. Building a community of people you trust and people who are wise, will help you grow and step into what God has for you. Spider-Man had Uncle Ben, a man who knew what responsibility was and guided Peter Parker through his walk into being a hero. Want a more real life example? Joshua. Not me, Joshua from the bible. Moses was the leader of the Israelites, and Joshua chose to follow him and learn all that he could from a great leader. Joshua knew that being in the presence of God and having community with people he trusted would benefit his life. Moses chose Joshua to take over leading the people when he was going to die, because he knew that Joshua would be a wise leader. Joshua stepped into his purpose of leading. Find your community, confide in them, and they will help you get back up when you feel down.
Keep the fire burning.
Once we get back up and fight against what brought us down, we cannot stop. The enemy hates wisdom, so when we pursue wisdom, we keep the enemy away. Think about it from our web slinging friend again, do you think Spider-Man stops one villain and says, “New York is safe forever now!” Of course not, he is on guard for what may come next, just like we should be. We are not invincible, so prepare yourself for what comes next. Does your dream require hard work? The answer is always yes because only good things come from hard work, so work hard. Train your skills, take a hold of every opportunity to get better and gain experience that will help you. Know that you may fail and life may throw hardship at you, but remember to keep that fire in your heart burning bright.
I may not know what you’re going through, and it may seem as if you’ll never get back up again. Know that I have been through dark times as well, and I’m still getting through it. I know that it seems like life would be easy if we just quit, I have felt this over and over about my pursuing of being a next generation pastor. I want to quit when it gets hard or when someone tells me what they think of my dream. It’s easy to get angry and depressed, starting to listen to the lie that says maybe I’m not cut out for that dream. No matter how crazy your dream seems or how much discouragement you feel, know that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be. Our dreams for God’s purpose in our lives should be big, because the enemy we all face is complacency. Instead of being discouraged, be determined. Be determined to run after the vision God has placed in your life, understand that life will knock you down sometimes, so rally around a community, and keep the fire burning in your heart. When we do this, nothing can stop us from rising up to your potential. I plan on being determined to run after my dreams no matter what, what will you do?
Choose to be determined and never discouraged.