Discouraged? Detox and Drink Living Water
By Stacie Ruth Stoelting
Ugh. As an inspirational Christian speaker, author, and recording artist, I felt like pasting a “hypocrite” sticker on my forehead: Why? I was discouraged.
I felt like recording “What next?” and pushing “repeat track” as troubles hit in a tiny timespan: I flew from one city to another, lost my credit card, contracted a terrible virus, endured great physical pain, was betrayed by a “friend,” and grieved with a loved one fighting cancer.
Slowed by sickness, I gasped: My “to do” list expanded exponentially! My normally almost-omnipresent smile faded. I sighed. I wondered, “How will I get everything done? What has happened to me, the ‘motivational’ speaker?” I felt drugged by discouragement.
Are you drugged?
The devil drugs us with spiritual sedatives and poisons such as fear, anxiety, self-centeredness, and worry.
Here’s a quick assessment to see whether you’re drugged:
1. Are you working hard but feel like you’re running on fumes?
2. Do you find yourself analyzing instead of praying?
3. Have you lost your zest for loving God and others?
4. Do compromise and change seem more appealing than ever?
If you answered “yes” to one or more, you’re drugged.
Wake up! Let’s change attitudes and actions (repent) of whatever “drug” we’ve been taking. But overdoses of good activities (like those at church) sometimes discourage us, too.
Remember: To live is Christ – not church. If we’re honest, church activities pile up because of pride. We think thoughts like:
If so-and-so can do it and show up, then so can I!
No one else has the abilities that I have, so I must go.
I don’t want to disappoint my ________. (Fill in the blank with friends, parents, pastor, etc.)
We run, run, run to youth group, small group, nursing home ministry, choir, concerts, etc. Yet we spend little one-on-one time with Jesus.
The Good Shepherd desires to gently lead you into a place of peace and rest – a place where prayer and Christ-centered activity come naturally. After all, even “…Jesus often slipped away to be alone so he could pray.” (Luke 5:16, NIV)
Yes, we need to retreat with the Lord. But don’t go extreme on me. I’m not talking about “forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some” (excerpt from Hebrews 10:25, NKJV). I’m not talking about morphing into a hermit in a hut. I’m talking about common sense, folks. (Folks? I believe my Iowan roots surfaced just then.)
Simplify. Return to the basics of belief: loving God and loving others while living in Jesus. (Check out Jesus’ greatest commandment.) He empowers and energizes us with life –not energy drinks, tablets, or exercise alone. Not even coffee substitutes. (Uh-oh. I heard you choke on that java. I’d pass you a napkin, but I can’t.)
It’s Jesus – not we…us. In Jane Rubietta’s beautiful book, Come Closer, she reminds us how Jesus strengthens us:
“Our obedience comes from loving Jesus so much, from loving his loving of us, that we don’t want to do anything to separate ourselves from him or rupture that relationship. But keeping the rules doesn’t mean you’re following Jesus. Obedience is good and not sinning is important, but the source of our obedience is our love for Jesus, and the source of our strength is Jesus.”
Want the ultimate solution to discouragement? It’s a 3-step: Review, repent, and refresh in the presence of King Jesus.
1. Review the Ten Commandments and re-read John. Utilize God’s instruction manual for life and let Him instruct us into a life of beautiful light. “… pay close attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dismal (squalid and dark) place until the day breaks through [the gloom] and the Morning Star rises (comes into being ) in your hearts.”(Boldface added; II Peter 1:19, AMP.)
2. Repent. Highlight the bad habits in daily life and push “delete.” Repent (change your attitude and actions) of anti-God ways (sins).
We airbrush sin, don’t we? We find sugar to coat our sins. Often, discouragement happens because we shift our eyes off of Jesus and onto ourselves. (I hate it when I do this.) When we focus on ourselves, discouragement always descends.
3. Refresh in the presence of Jesus Himself. We need to refresh and arm ourselves with the armor of God. (See Ephesians 6:10-17) Most of all, we need to heed Jesus’ invitation.
Listen to Jesus’ invitation in Mark 6:31: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’" (If you don’t know Jesus personally, let me introduce you.)
Like oblivious little tikes chugging household cleaners, we consume the devil’s drugs of distrusting God, worrying, being afraid, being too prideful to rest, etc. But we “detox” from the devil’s drugs when we fill up on living Water: Jesus Christ. With Jesus, we always defeat the devil. Jesus always wins!
Stacie Ruth's passion for Jesus combines with professionalism to propel events to higher levels! Why? She steps aside and points people to God Most High. Discover why she's sung/spoken for a former President, been pictured in major media (The New York Times and USA Today), written a book at age 15, and keynoted conferences since she was a teenager. Today, she offers a new conference for those hurting from job losses, financial troubles, depression, grief, diseases (like Alzheimer’s), and other heartaches through her national conference, The Heart Hospital. Her new album, Heavenly, will release nationally in April. To watch video clips, listen to music, view and download photos for articles, and other features, visit www.stacieruth.com or www.brightlightministry.com.
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