When You Feel Discouraged

Lately, I have had lots of conversations with people, especially men, who are at a point in their lives where they feel depleted mentally, physically, and spiritually. These difficult times have caused some to lose all hope and, in their estimation, appear to be doomed to a lifetime of misery, disappointment and failure. One person shared how he knows what the Word of God says about what he needs to be doing (and saying), but, “I have to keep things real and am telling you Audwin, I am in a very, very dark place.” It is extremely hurtful to see a strong brother and friend devoid of strength and without any “fight” left in him.

Have you ever been so low where you literally thought God was not there; that He turned His back or had given up on you? Perhaps, you are in this low place now. You have a family to provide for and are out of work. You’ve exhausted every avenue and means at your disposal to find employment (sent countless resumes, filled out applications everywhere – even for positions where you are clearly overqualified, attended networking events and conferences, talked to countless people), and the phone is still not ringing. Maybe you have a job and the stress and the pressure is so great, you are considering walking away even in this grim market. Perchance you are headed into foreclosure or have a notice of eviction on your door; have had or are close to having your car(s) repossessed; have a sick or gravely ill relative(s) or you are physically ill; have accusations being hurled at you (some possibly warranted and others not)? Maybe you are going through one of these scenarios or some combination simultaneously and you pray, cry, scream and surrender all of who you are to God, only to have your prayers seemingly go unanswered; you cannot hear His voice or you cannot get a response then you find yourself sinking to a place where you cannot and do not want to pray. It’s even difficult to listen to people as they try and encourage you with the Word of God. You just do not want to hear it!

You share the urgency and severity of your situation with a few family members and/or friends, especially those you know to be faith-filled Christians (some with the means to help you – at least financially), only to have them turn a deaf ear on your cry for help or they simply act as if they are completely oblivious to the fact that you are hurting, depressed and, in the worst case, having thoughts of ending it all.

I want to express to you, I have been there! I personally know what it is like and fully understand where you are. For those who want to thumb your noses, you keep living. Being a nonconformist is not easy – striving to genuinely live a life pleasing to God, not being ashamed of your faith, and having principles and morals while living and functioning in a crooked and perverted world where right is wrong; where what is bad is considered good; where neither honesty nor integrity are highly regarded; and where the most idiotic, nonsensical foolishness is esteemed, rewarded and praised. When you hit this low point, you are NOT faithless and you are NOT without hope. God is dealing with you! He is cleansing and purifying your heart by exposing and removing bad habits, wrong thinking, and changing your focus from the things and the cares of this world to a focus and dependency on Him. There is a greater responsibility God has for you and you cannot get to the place where He is taking you by remaining as you are!!!

This low place is where you will learn about yourself and those in your circle. You must remove all pride and egotism and be entirely open and honest with God and with yourself (at this point, you have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain)! You will also need to utterly renounce and repent of sin (in your life) and let some things and some people go. This is about you and God’s purpose for your life! He uses times like these to show you the error of your ways revealing how you were walking in idolatry (although you may not have recognized it); how there was no difference in your character and behavior as someone who claims love Yeshua (Jesus) versus those who are in the world (who are NOT living for or acknowledging Him); how you lost sight of your purpose and have been sucked in to conforming to the world’s way of existing (borrowing – not lending; pursuing dreams, aspirations, titles, status, materialism, covetousness, etc., and NOT being relentless in pursuing intimacy with Him and genuine in your love and care for the lost). He will also use this time to reveal His plan and purpose for your life as you take your eyes off of your situation. Change your perspective. Figure out what God is doing in each and every circumstance. Be open to His correction and obedient to His instruction. Find at least 1 Spirit-filled person who you can talk to openly and pray with regularly. If you do not have anyone, contact me and I will walk with you. We need each other and can accomplish more together.

Read the book of Job, Psalm 42, Ephesians 6:12-14, Romans 12:1-2, Matthew 16:24-25, Jeremiah 29:11, 2 Chronicles 7:14-15.

AB

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Being Christian in a Corporate Environment

More than a decade ago, I accepted an offer from a prestigious corporate employer. After going through a lengthy interview process where we discussed literally everything (including faith and what that means), the Executive Vice President extended an offer to me with one condition…  I was not allowed to proselytize while at work. My response was I was there to fulfill my responsibilities and I would apply all of my efforts and energies to take care of all the employees and protect the organization.

Afterward, I pondered the offer and my response sincerely concerned whether or not I compromised my faith and I searched the Scriptures to guide my thinking.  I read Colossians 3:22-24 (KJV) Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; 23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. The Message Bible reads: Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ.

I recognized the fact I was/am required to work vigorously in all things as to the Lord, and not to men. While I was not allowed to walk around the office conversing about religion or religious issues, I was able to “let my walk do the talking.” In that particularly intense, highly demanding environment, I was able to be a calming presence; to treat employees fairly and help them through their problems and issues; provide sound guidance to the leadership; influence positive change; mentor younger Associates; and demonstrate God’s love without quoting scripture or verbally trying to convert anyone. Eventually, employees found out I was a minister and they oftentimes sought me out for help, support and direction for themselves and for others. I respected and complied with my employer’s wishes and never had any of those discussions during office hours or on their premises and I believe God honored my obedience.

In conclusion, follow the rules of your employer! Be the man or woman God created you to be and as the old saying goes, “talk is cheap!” Your best witness is not what you say, it’s how you behave. How do you respond to circumstances (whether they are positive or negative)? Are you a person with integrity? Are you putting forward your very best effort each and every day in the workplace (as unto the Lord)? Do you realize in these tumultuous times, you are extremely fortunate to be employed? I cannot express to you enough how many very qualified and experienced people are not able to find work period, let alone in their areas of expertise, and many would give their right arm to be in your position. Keep everything in its proper perspective and glorify God in all you do!