Author Karen Ball

The Danger of Discouragement

Some days, I have to admit, it feels like I’ve been working and working, doing everything I’m supposed to, and yet, nothing ever changes—unless it’s for the worse. The struggles are still dragging me down. The sense that no matter what I do, nothing will change, weighs on my spirit. It’s days like that when the questions start…

What’s wrong with me that I can’t get anywhere?

How can I be losing ground with everything I’m doing?

What made me think anyone would want to read what I have to say?

Why can’t I do better?

Why do I even try?

And on and on the litany of discouragement goes, chipping away, leaving me off-balance and frustrated.

Have you been there? Are you there even now? If so, know this: you’re not alone. Discouragement is a far-too-frequent companion for writers. One that, no matter how we try to avoid it, sneaks in and weasels its way into our hearts and minds. It’s then, when discouragement crawls through us, undermining our confidence and whispering defeat and surrender, that we fall into the danger of giving up. Of deciding we heard wrong, that God didn’t really ask us to write for him, or that He—dare we even think it?—made a mistake.

But while we may not be able to completely avoid the whispers of discouragement, we can silence them. Not with any weapon of our own, but with the most powerful weapons in our inner arsenal: prayer and Scripture.

The next time discouragement sidles up to you, whispering its poison, stop. I mean it, stop cold. Right then and there, pray. Rip your focus from yourself, from your struggle or failures or whatever is eating at you, and fix it on the One who gave you the task to write. Seek His face. And then draw on His Words. Let them sink deep into your heart. Embrace the truth in them, because those words are your secret weapon. They are so much more than just words on a page, friends. They are “alive and powerful… sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. [They] expose our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

Grace and help to face down and defeat:

Writers Obstacle #4: Discouragement

Deuteronomy 31:8–The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Micah 7:8–Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; Though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is a light for me.

Isaiah 41:17-18–“The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the Lord will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.

Luke 12:24–Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!

Romans 15:4 – Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

1 Corinthians 15:58–So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10–“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Colossians 2:2—I want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself.

1 John 5:18-21—God’s Son holds [you] securely, and the evil one cannot touch [you]. We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life. Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.


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