Changing Your Focus Overcomes Discouragement

… fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. –Hebrews 12:2a

A couple of years ago, I played on a church softball team that ended up winning the league championship. But in the final game–the biggest game of the season–I struck out. Struck out! In softball! I’ve played against senior citizens and legally blind people who didn’t strike out. (There’s an unwritten rule that men should never strike out in slow pitch softball.)

Do you think I was discouraged? Absolutely! But we won the game and the championship! The discouragement of striking out was nothing compared to the joy of winning the championship. I got my three-inch-high plastic trophy and was voted MVP–Most Vanilla-like Player. It was awesome.

Most of my discouragement is about me. It’s about my unrealized dreams and expectations. It happens when my needs are not getting met. I’m not getting my way. Someone is hurting me. That opportunity should have been mine, not his. Do you hear any common words? Me. Mine. My. And everyone knows that being self-focused causes myopia.

To limit discouragement, we must move from a perspective that says, “It’s all about me” to one that realizes, “It’s all about God.” When we fix our eyes on Him, it causes us to think about the bigger picture–it’s living life with eternity on the radar. In the end, God always wins. And we’re on His team. That’s the perspective! When we’re thinking eternally, the stuff that discourages us (like striking out in a big game) seems so insignificant.

You’re going to get discouraged in life. It happens. But if you’re on God’s team, the final game has already been won. You’re part of the championship team. And life gets a lot better when you learn to live in light of the ultimate celebration.

In light of eternity, the clutter of life is meaningless. In light of eternity, the arguments in the backseat are noises of opportunity. In light of eternity, the people I let down or who have let me down… those are just windows for God’s grace to shine. In light of eternity, I’m a child of the Creator of the universe. He knitted me in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13), and He knows my name and totally loves me. When our focus becomes eternal, discouragement can become the seedbed for a harvest of spiritual renewal–and the launch pad for a fresh start!

1. How has focusing on yourself resulted in experiencing discouragement in your life?

2. How could focusing on God have made a difference in the most recent time you experienced discouragement?

2 Corinthians 4:17-18; 1 Peter 5:7

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Doug Fields

Doug Fields is the senior director of HomeWord. He speaks to thousands of leaders, teenagers and parents each year. He’s also the author/co-author of 50+ books including: Parenting in a Screen Saturated Culture; Intentional Parenting; 7 Ways to be Her Hero – the One Your Wife Has Been Waiting For; and To Have and To Hold. In addition to Doug’s speaking and writing, he is also the co-founder of and the youth pastor at Mariners Church. Doug has been married for more than 35 years to his wonderful wife Cathy, and they live near their 3 married children and 3 grandchildren in Southern California.

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