After you've given yourself some time to de-emotionalize the funk you're in, you might be in a better place. But if you're like me, you're probably still pretty discouraged and honestly, a bit wounded. The images of discouragement and the voices that cut might be a bit dimmer than their immediate circumstances, but you can still see and hear them clearly. Maybe they've been there for a while, but you're trying to give yourself some space to process, but it's hard.
- If it was an e-mail you got that tipped the scales, then you probably haven't mustered the courage to just deleted it forever yet.
- If it was an angry coworker, friend, parent, boss, etc.. you can still hear their tone, voice, and words.
- If it was a small thing a long list of things that haven't gone right, the long list is still long and the small thing still feels monstrous and like one more person you can't please.
- If it was an event or talk or a program that that bombed so bad you wanted to just call it quits, then you still can relive the moment if you let yourself go there.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH THE GOOD. This might seem impossible, but there is good going on around you and you need to find it. Look for small things to celebrate. No, don't make stuff up or try and talk yourself out of your funk. Just go looking for the good. It's in there. I promise. The next 3 thoughts are ways to do this.
ASK OTHERS TO HELP. Don't say one word to your critics. Don't go searching for a better day or to see if they really don't feel the way you do or if you've blown the thing way out of proportion. Not yet. Right now just go to your biggest fans- the 2 people in the world you know love you unconditionally, even if one is your mom- and ask them what they think is going right. Tell them you're wounded and you need to spend some time in the good. I confessed my funk to a few people on Sunday and found 3 e-mails in my inbox reminding me that it's going to be ok. It doesn't always happen like that; in fact, it rarely does. But it reminded me that when you're discouraged, we all need some encouragement. And if it isn't coming accidentally, we need to go searching for it.
MAKE A LIST OR PRAY OR JOURNAL OR WHATEVER. Take some time to thank God for things that you have to be thankful for. We all know we could make a rant. And maybe you should make a rant list, but only so it can lead you to a thankful list. It's the promise of Philippians 4:6-7. It's the road to true inner peace. You've told students to do it before. Now it's your turn to practice what you preach. Think about a friend who stuck by you in the funk, the breath in your lungs, the computer you're reading this on, anything. Think about the situation or circumstances that have brought you to the place you're in and ask God to show you where He's at in it. Look for small things somebody said, the little changes for the better, or the places you can see a glimpse of God.
TAKE A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE. This is easier to do if you have a few habits from the good days. I have a file and now an e-mail inbox that I stick encouraging e-mails and notes in. After a really good youth ministry event, write down a praise and save it. Compile the best pictures and moments of your life and keep them in a shoebox or a slideshow on your computer. Then sit your butt down and flip through them. There's some great things God has done in and through you. Let God remind you of that. Remember, he's not the God of discouragement.
Ok.. tomorrow is part 3. I really want to give it now, but tomorrow will do. If it's a mountain of discouragement you're trying to conquer, Part 3 takes us to the summit. It's the last climb before we start making some amends. It's epic. I can't wait.