James 5:17 starts out by saying "Elijah was as human as we are..." in context the writer is saying that even though Elijah was an average, everyday guy, he still got to fight for God. He knew that God had his back because he had been filled with the Spirit, he had heard God's voice, and he had seen miracles performed. Yet Elijah still got discouraged. And that's where I come in. Because when I read "Elijah was as human as we are..." all I can think is that it's saying even though all these amazing God-things happened to him... that doesn't mean he's going to turn around and be worry-free.
Pastor Craig went over the four reasons why Elijah was discouraged and I made sure to take each point and really apply it to the things happening in my life right now. Why have I been so discouraged the past few weeks?
-Fatigue: I have been mentally and physically exhausted. I haven't taken any time for myself even when I've told others that I would. I haven't spent time reading. I haven't spent nearly as much time lately praying. I haven't taken time to rest because I didn't want to let anyone down. Resolution: To start saying "no" and really stick with it. Spend lots of time in prayer about what I should and shouldn't be involved in. Go to bed earlier!
-No friends: I miss my friends at home but this is really the one area that I didn't feel applied to me. I have an awesome group of friends who pray for me, support me, and encourage me. I prayed a few weeks ago that God would remove any toxic relationships in my life and all the people that had been the main sources of distress, worry, and discontent seemed to just fall off the grid. People that had been in the background really started to emerge and relationships I had already built became stronger. Resolution: Keep praying and spend quality time with the board of directors of my life.
-Fear: I'm not one to be negative, but I am very sensitive to negativity around me. I easily pick up other people's tension and stress and carry it myself. I can hold onto hope the rest of my life but when I hear others complain about not having faith, or God being unfair, or even just heavily venting it really takes a toll. I start to fall into the same rabbit hole. Resolution: Lessen the time I spend around people who drain me. Stay in God's word. Increase the time I spend with God and people who aren't wavered by their circumstances.
-Perceived Failure: I'm so scared that I won't get this nonprofit up and running God's way. Just because I can't see His entire plan I get freaked out when it seems that something I thought should've happened already hasn't happened on my time. I can be a failure to my family, to my old friends, and to the world... I'm okay with that. If I'm a failure in God's eyes... that would break my heart. Resolution: Be patient. Understand that my schedule is not the same as God's. Understand that the way I think things will play out is not necessarily how God wants it to happen. Persevere. No. Matter. What.
Pastor Tommy's sermon that same night really reiterated everything to me. So often lately I'm the mentor to everyone and I'm the shoulder to lean on. But I've felt like I had nobody to guide and mentor me. So I'll continue to pray for that. But at one point he was saying "God has chosen you. God is about to do amazing things through you to change this city and to change this world. God has filled you with His spirit. You have to have faith that your obedience will pay off." And even though I know he was speaking to the entire congregation I couldn't hold in the tears. I've been needing to hear that for so long. I've been so discouraged from being obedient and not seeing MY expectations met of what I thought was supposed to be done by now. As we listened to Benjah perform later that night I really just allowed myself to get lost in the music for a minute and stop worrying about everything going on around me. I had spent different pockets of my day with Ilene, Darla, Mario, Megan, Amy, Jamie, and the Davila crew and really just realized how blessed I was to have these people in my life on such a hectic Sunday. God has sent me the people I need and who need me, and taken away the people who were eating away at my peace.
Resolution: Don't commit to anything until January. Spend the next two months with God, family, and friends. Take a good look at myself and what I hope to accomplish for God in 2012. Love on the children in my life. Tidy up. Lean on God. Realize that I am only human and I will get discouraged too. But know that when I do start feeling like that, I have people to talk to and God to listen.