Keep Going: How To Get Up When You’re Down

dont-give-up

It’s easy to start. First, define your project. Next, break it into steps. Finally, face your fear and begin to take those steps. But what happens when, after a few faltering steps, you fall down?

It’s easy to start. Finishing is hard.

dont-give-up

Times of downheartedness are inescapable. Perhaps, like me, you experience a regular rhythm of high-energy output followed by discouragement. This cycle is not always caused by failure, it can be as familiar as a biorhythm. Sometimes disappointment arrives at my doorstep when I don’t perform as well as I hoped. But no matter what leads us to discouragement, the problem is the same. How can we keep going despite a heavy heart?

Life on this planet is never perfect, so my search for encouragement drives me to God. He is my source of strength when my own runs out. I ask Him for direction when my vision no longer seems clear. I read the Bible asking God for guidance. I ask Him to give me His strength when I have no energy to try another tactic. I ask Him to redirect me towards things I’ve not yet considered. Then I look for my next step.

If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you. — Steve Jobs

Vision is a fragile thing. It is often fleeting, and especially when we are discouraged. To recapture it,  I ask myself why I’ve chosen this path. Why did I care about this project? Why am I discouraged now? “Why?” is a powerful question. At the start, my vision was clear and motivating. Asking “Why?” can clear away the debris and let us find our vision once more.

Vision located, it may be time to adjust the plan. The best plans allow for correction along the way. If a particular tactic does not work, try another approach. The vision does not need to change just because I’ve met resistance to one initiative.

Perhaps it is time to move on to something else. Revisiting the vision, I can often discover a new project or new tactics that reignite my energy. Sometimes it takes time for perspective to return, but I won’t wait around for its return. I want to keep moving so that I am open to new ideas and opportunities.

Discouragement is common to everyone, and learning to cope is critical to our success. Those who take risks and start things are prone to discouragement. Perhaps knowing this will help you take courage when you are tempted to give up.

Do something big. Finish strong.

Now. How Will I Invest It?

Now, How Will You Invest It-

I am still young, but I’m old enough to remember a time when my future stretched out in front of me like a vast wilderness. I was sure I would find great treasures there, and I couldn’t wait to arrive. Now, my future is coming so fast that it sometimes passes me before I notice it. Every year is shorter; every day compressed. Time is passing, and I’m grasping to hold on to the intangible.

What will I do with this fleeting thing called time? I cannot hold it. I cannot control it. It passes. What do I control?

Now.

I have one moment, and it is always under my control. My now will determine my income, my impact, and my legacy. Now, how will I invest it?

Featured Image: Álvaro Suárez Ruibal, Speed

My Top 5 Posts in 2014

My Top 5 Posts in 2014

My most read blog posts in 2014 were an eclectic mix. Walk with me down memory lane as we learn to see our circumstances the way God sees them. Consider the amazing low-cost WordPress hosting offered by BlueHost. Discover how waking up early has made a difference in my life and how you can begin to get up earlier. Realize that what is often sold as Agnosticism is Atheism in a not-so-clever disguise. And, though we don’t talk about it much, Christians must acknowledge that we serve a crucified Savior; suffering is part of the job description.

Help me create even better content in 2015. Take a few short moments to complete my 2014 Reader Survey.

Christmas: Pain and Comfort

Christmas

Quieting my mind enough to reflect on what is important is not easy this time of year. The Christmas season is filled with distractions. Christmas plays, Christmas parties, and Christmas shopping demand attention. But what is this season really about?

Recently, I spent a few minutes in a friend’s hospital room where he is recovering from surgery. Seeing his pain brought to mind the suffering of another. A young woman, barely a teenager, suffered in Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago as she brought our Comforter into this world. Her child was God in the flesh: Jesus Christ. God entered this world as a baby to experience our frailties, pain, and temptations—everything human, except sin.

Jesus was limited, but by his own choice. Not only did he feel our normal pains and difficulties. He experienced agony on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. The sinless God-man bore our sin. On our behalf, He took the wrath of his Father. He did it all for us.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
—2 Corinthians 5:21

Our word excruciating is taken from Latin. Ex cruciatus means, literally, out of the cross. Jesus knew pain.

But His agony began something wonderful. Three days after His death, He rose from the grave to show us that death is not the end. He has sent his Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to indwell those who trust in Him. Let Him be your Comforter this Christmas.

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, it is my prayer that you will begin that relationship this Christmas.

* Post image: Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerard van Honthorst

The Christmas Family

The Last Supper, Fritz von Udhe

Family roots us. Each of us has an identity based on our place of origin, the choices of our ancestors, and the reputation of our parents and siblings. As Christmas brings us together, let’s be thankful for our heritage. Let’s celebrate our unique place in this world. But there is a family that transcends biology and its roots go deeper.

At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ—God becoming man. The infinite, all-powerful, eternal one laid aside those attributes and limited Himself. The Infinite One located Himself in a baby, Jesus of Nazareth. The All-Powerful One came to be born in a stable surrounded by the smell of animals. The Eternal One came to die for sinners who would reject Him.

He did all of this to create a family. This family is made up of redeemed sinners who have trusted in Jesus Christ. None of us deserve a place in the family of God, and that is why Jesus came to take away our guilt and shame and bring us in from the cold. He welcomes everyone who comes to him by faith. If you are not yet a part of God’s family, Jesus has an empty chair waiting for you. Join us at the table.

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.
—John 1:12 (New Living Translation)

Post image: The Last Supper (1886) by Fritz von Uhde