A few years ago, I played on a church softball team that ended up winning the league championship. But in the final game—the biggest game of the season—I struck out. Struck out! In softball! I’ve played against senior citizens and legally blind people who didn’t strike out. (There’s an unwritten rule that if you’re good enough to be on a team, you should never strike out in slow pitch softball.)
Do you think I was discouraged? Absolutely! But we won the game and the championship! The discouragement of striking out was nothing compared to the joy of winning the championship. I got my three-inch-high plastic trophy and was voted Most-Likely-to-Improve (or not be asked back).
If I’m honest, most of the discouragement in my life is about me. It’s about my unrealized dreams and expectations. It happens when my needs are not getting met. I’m not getting my way. Someone is hurting me. That opportunity should have been mine, not his. Hearing any common words? Me. Mine. My. And everyone knows that being self-focused causes myopia.
To limit my discouragement, I’m learning (too slowly) to move from a perspective that says, “It’s all about me” to one that realizes, “It’s all about Jesus.” When I fix my eyes on Jesus, it causes me to think about the bigger picture—it’s about kingdom living now with eternity on the radar. Perspective is remembering “Christ in me…the hope of glory”… “Immanuel–God with us”… Jesus is her, now. That perspective is a game-changer… or, life-changerr! Discouraging stuff—like striking out in a big game—seems so insignificant with that perspective.
With that perspective, the overwhelming clutter in my life isn’t that overwhelming. With that perspective, the arguments in the backseat are noises of opportunity. With that perspective, the people I let down or who let me down… those are just windows for God’s grace to shine. When my focus is Jesus, discouragement loses its power!
“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Hebrews 12:2 (NLT)