Discouragement is par for the course as a leader and a parent. There are times when those under our care (yes, even our own children) will not live up to our expectations or hopes and things may not go according to our original plan.
It's in these moments of discouragement that we are our most fragile. The heightened sense of emotional angst often causes us to do or to say things we may have done or said differently in a more stable moment of thought. It's also critical to have a plan of action in order to navigate these moments of discouragement.
Here are three practical steps that aide me in the battle during seasons or moments of discouragement.
1. Remember where you've been. When a moment doesn't turn out the way I had hoped or expected, it's always great for me to remember where I've come from and the growth that has happened in the past in order to get me to the present. This is especially critical as a leader when you might be campaigning for change. Discipleship is a process. It takes time for children to grow into adulthood. It takes time for character to develop. It's always important to remember the journey and where you've come from in order to help you continue to be filled with hope for the future.
2. It's only temporary. Seasons of discouragement don't last forever. Yes, there may be some more significant elements of mental illness that this idea of temporary doesn't really apply to, but in light of the long-term future of the world, heaven and God's plan of restoration, the struggle of discouragement we face is really only temporary. Imagine a different future, celebrate the past growth and learn from the present experiences.
3. Shoulder to shoulder. Do not fall into the temptation to embrace isolation in seasons of discouragement. Talk to those who care about you. Share with them how you are feeling, what you are experiencing and what is going on. Sometimes an outside perspective will help to bring clarity into your current struggle. There's nothing like a helping hand to pull you up when you might be feeling down.
What else might you add to this three part strategy?