Discouraged vs Determined: How to Stop Striving and Start Enjoying Your Life
Updated: 4 days ago
“Of course. That’s it!”
I found myself repeating this phrase recently while getting ready for work. It was as if an ‘aha moment’ instantly transformed how I viewed my life. Something I’d wrestled for years was about to be put to an end.
If you’re anything like me, sometimes you feel like what you’re accomplishing is just not enough. You’re striving, and working, but the fruit you hoped to see is not there. You’re genuinely happy for others in their success, yet secretly wonder why yours seems out of reach.
But in that moment of getting ready for work, I realized that though my intentions felt pure, I had been bowing to the idol of success. And this idol with its false promises was leaving me discouraged….frustrated.
But then it hit me.
God has not called me to define my own success, or pursue success by the world’s terms. Rather, God has called me to something far different... and honestly a little unexpected.
God has called me to stewardship.
When I consider stewardship, I immediately think of the parable of three men who were given talents by their master (Matthew 25:14-30). Each of the three men received DIFFERENT amounts, and the expectation was the men would make the most with what they had been given. The master wasn’t concerned with numerical totals, as much as he was with their faith-filled stewardship.
Simply stated, God has called me to do the very best with what I’ve been given. And even within the context of that pursuit, sometimes God gives and sometimes He takes away. But constant is the rhythm of grace where I’m leaning into His presence and making the most of every opportunity and resource.
It’s a JOYFUL living in the NOW.
It’s a mindset that breaks free from the trap of comparison and into the freedom of gratitude and contentment.
It’s the life that no longer believes the lie that says, “I’m not good enough. I’m a failure, or I’ve wasted too much time.” It embraces the fact that God is behind the scenes, working ALL things together for my good and His glory (Romans 8:28).
It’s a life that turns discouragement into a holy determination to make that most of what I have.
So as we move forward, let’s consider these four things:
Our call is to abide in Him: To abide in Him is to truly prioritize our relationship with Jesus: where His Word reigns supremely, where sin is confessed quickly, and where love is expressed selflessly (John 14-16).
Life’s greatest joy is a relationship with Jesus: When the disciples returned to Jesus after a successful day of ministry, Jesus gave this surprising response, “Rejoice NOT that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Our greatest source of joy should be Jesus and the hope of heaven, not in ourselves and our accomplishments in this world (Luke 10).
Resist the urge to equate achievement with identity: Our value and worth is measured by the cross of Jesus and our right standing before Him, not by our accomplishments. Nothing can be added to the value of our identity in Christ.
Live life with open eyes and open hands: Take a moment to step back and consider the relationships and opportunities you have in THIS moment: your family, your friendships, your local church, your neighbors. Ask yourself, how is God calling me to love others in His name? Don’t let tomorrow’s dreams blind you to today’s treasures.
God’s not looking for superstars, rockstars, or earthshakers. He’s looking for those whose hearts are loyal to Him… who take what they have been given, and humbly use it for the glory of His name.
Join me in this freedom and joy.