Monday, January 30, 2012
The Anatomy of Discouragement
Last Monday, I shared how I almost quit writing novels. Sadness, frustration, and sheer weariness drove me to the edge of that cliff.
As I struggled to regain my footing, I knew something must have gone awry in my thought processes. What was the trigger that set discouragement in motion? Nothing monumental occurred in the previous weeks.
I prayed, shared with friends, but seemed to get worse instead of better. As I journaled, a pattern emerged. Somehow I'd slipped into a glass-half-empty mentality, as well as getting too self-focused.
Not long ago, I wrote a gratitude list. Reading it made me notice all the blessings God gave me during 2011. Maybe I didn't get an agent or a book contract, but I met an author, who helped me create a proposal and gave me valuable insights. Another author read my manuscript and urged me to keep writing. I found a job that I love, and my Mom's health improved. The list goes on, and a glimmer of light entered my soul.
Another factor provided fertile ground for the despair haunting me. I'd allowed myself to get rundown physically. The intense schedule surrounding the holidays whittled my gym visits down to 2 per week, we were eating more fast food, and I'd come down with a cold that didn't want to yield its grip. Even though I'd simplified my traditions and enjoyed a meaningful Christmas, physical rest eluded me.
Next week, I'll give you a glimpse into the dangers of discouragement.
What are the things that trigger an "I want to give up" feeling in you?