Hope you are well. My guys started back to school on Tuesday, and I’ve already been to two basketball games, one of which was in Knoxville, and I leave for a swim meet in just a few minutes. It makes the eight days we spent away — just the five of us –all the sweeter. The daily agenda was simple: eat good food, hit the beach and play cards. I snapped the picture above on our last night of vacation and I think we look almost as chilled out as we felt. But we’re back to reality, where the daily agenda tends to be a little more complicated!
One of the things my husband often tells our swimmer is that this or that race is mental. He was not a competitive swimmer but ran track and cross country, and therefore is much more qualified than I am to encourage on the “it’s mental” aspect of racing. But I do believe it. In fact, mindset is vital in all of life.
“There is nothing that so paralyzes effort as discouragement, and nothing that more continually and successfully invites defeat,” wrote Hannah Whitall Smith, who died in 1911.
Don’t you just love that sentence? I feel like it would not be written today. We might say, “Discouragement paralyzes effort. In fact, nothing in the world continually and successfully invites defeat like discouragement.” The ideas are the same, but there’s less punch and pizazz.
Either way, the truth is compelling. Where do you feel like discouragement is hampering your effort? Where is discouragement inviting defeat in your life?
The world is full of pain and uncertainty, and in one sense it’s natural for us to be discouraged. But in another sense, if we are living lives surrendered to Jesus and if we, as His followers, believe what we say we believe, it is unnatural for us to be discouraged. Ponder these words of Jesus:
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33 NIV
Do you find yourself taking heart more or being discouraged more? It’s mental, isn’t it? The next time I feel discouraged, and I bet it’ll be mere hours from now, I’m going to remind myself, that Jesus told me to take heart. He didn’t say, you might just want to take heart, or you could take heart. It’s actually stated as a command. We could even think of it as a commandment: You shall take heart.
So, whatever you are discouraged about right now, take heart and remember that Jesus has overcome the world.