Recently I discovered a rather brutal review of my practice on Yelp. (You can go read it if you are so inclined.) In this mother's opinion I am a great evil and a threat to children. Her words hurt. I try so hard to love the patients in my practice, especially the children. It was clear that in her case I failed miserably. Discouragement raised its head, as did anger and fear. What could I do?
A key for dealing with and preventing discouragement in Hebrews 12 is found in verse 1. The writer says, “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that clings so closely” (ESV).
Every weight- some things just weight us down in our the race of life. For me, the things that slow me down and discourage me include doubt, fear and past hurts.
Past hurts have been particularly hard for me at times. I have been let down by so many people- parents, friends, an even in the church often frequently by pastors and leaders. To quote those great theologians Simon and Garfunkle, “it's the same old story, everywhere I go, I've been slandered, libeled, I hear words I never hear in the Bible!”.
When I dwell on these things. I feel like quitting. Who wants to keep running when it seems you are just running into pain? But God says that we can't hang on to these things.
We have to lay them aside.
The English term “lay aside” is a little softer than what I think the original Greek word implies. I think “Throw far away” might be better. We need to throw these things far away from us, far enough away that they can't slow us down.
This is not easy. Especially for someone like me who suffers from anxiety disorder. I cling to hurts instead of throwing them away. Worse, my anxiety disorder can make little things hurt a lot.
So what could I do with Yelp! induced pain? I shared it with others, received encouragement, and set it aside. I decided to just do the best I could to keep loving and serving my patients, learn from the mistake and went on.
Where in the past I would have dwelt on it for days or weeks, I moved on. As I did I realized that I was not perfect, and that this is okay with God, and with many of my patients. I focused on the smiles and positive interactions gained hope. By setting the pain aside and focusing on the positive a discouragement that before would have lasted a while faded away.
Is there something you need to lay aside? Do it! Sometimes letting go is the first step in moving on!
This is the third post of a series on Dealing with Discouragement. If you have been touched by these posts, please share them with a friend. If you would like to subscribe to this blog and receive future posts by email, click on the subscribe link. Beneath my photo upper right on a computer screen or scroll to the bottom on your mobile device.