Nothing is more maddening than feeling you like need to accomplish something, but feeling like thereís no way for you to do it. You have to do it, but you canít. Or you donít know how. Or youíve been trying and failing for quite some time and you donít know what to do. Discouragement doesnít begin to describe the frustration you are feeling.
I was there once. I needed to figure out how to support a family. I had left engineering and was trying to build a business. I NEEDED to earn money. And I worked my tail off. I was awkward at first, but I kept learning. I kept going back failure after failure. I was in sales, and I needed to make some sales. Over a three year period I went on literally over a hundred sales appointments in three years and closed only 2 small pieces of business. I found a way to sabotage every sale in some way. And I had heard that if I kept getting up off the ground and kept going after I was failing, that I would soon find a way to be successful.
But three years? Thousands of hours spent? Hundreds of appointments? Thousands of dollars? No money? In three years? I felt insane. How was I ever going to be successful? Those were my darkest days. Those were the days I had no hope. It was in those days I began writing encouragement poems -- mostly to myself. Motivational phrases and sayings hardly motivated me. I would hear love words from people and receive their support. It helped me maintain my sanity while I moved through that time.
Words of encouragement will always remind you of the truth, no matter how much feelings of despair swirl around you. No matter how much impossibility looms. No matter how hopeless you feel or how empty you soul remains. Encouragement reminds you that there is always hope. Encouragement is the spirit of God whispering to your heart to hold on just a bit longer. Encouragement reminds you that everything is already OK and will be OK. Encouragement helps you to pull through when you donít think you can. Encouragement doesnít leave you hanging. Encouragement doesnít leave you without at least the first step you can take to pull yourself out of the hole. Encouragement reminds you to open your heart and be willing one more time because your willingness is the key.
Even if you canít believe, all you need is a desire to believe, only as big as a mustard seed. That desires is all you need because it will take root inside you and begin to grow bit by bit. And with that desire you will make your way out. It may not happen over night. It didnít for me, but I found my way out. And it didnít even involve earning that much more money for a while.
Here is a poem I wrote mostly for myself during my darkest times. I wrote it to inspire others who were feeling similarly discouraged.
I was enjoying a glorious bright sunny day
Strolling along a nice tropical beach
I was taking in natureís beauty and relaxing my mind
When, WHAM! A wave hit me and knocked me right down
I felt a tugging sensation as I slowly came to
While the undertow was dragging me straight out to sea
Irritated and determined, I quickly got up
Right as another wave came and knocked me back down
So I decided to fight even harder than before
Only to be beaten and battered quite a bit more
I realized the ocean was winning an unfair fight
A fight I didnít want, a fight I didnít start
I pleaded and begged with my unrelenting foe
What did I ever do to deserve such a chore?
Can I please just return to where I was before
Back on that beautiful faraway shore?
The ocean, not caring, went in for the kill
And I slowly, but surely, lost all my will
I began to tread water, hoping not to drown
And I noticed people relaxing on that faraway shore
I flailed my arms, I hoped they would notice
But my faith soon left me as time quickly passed by
Why canít they see me? Why donít they help?
Do I not matter? Is my predicament unreal?
I continued to struggle in quiet desperation
Knowing I had no way back to the beach
Why had I been given such unbeatable problems?
So hard and unfair, so difficult to bear
When I could not possibly take any more
Something brushed my leg and wrapped around tight
Slimy seaweed was enjoying its prey
Clamped on like handcuffs, latched on like a noose
The seawater trickled into my unwilling nose
Invading my lungs as I slowly sank down
I tasted the salt, and I angrily thought
Who could design such a cruel series of events?
My body went limp, and my mind went numb
I closed my eyes and gave up in defeat
I sent out one last plea before I would die
Lord, please save me, youíre the only One left
Something then brushed my leg once again
I said, "Thanks a lot, more kelp like before"
But this time I felt a lifting sensation
I was bewildered and shocked, and I shot a glance down
A gliding dolphin had come to save me from death
And it carried me all the way back to the shore
Holding on for dear life was all I could do
But He asked no more, and it was enough
Even though my life can seem overwhelming at times
And I might not be ready for those giant pounding waves
I may not even see any possible way out
Yet a divine hand is still there, steady and sure
Always pulling me through when Iím at my witís end
He finds the way when it seems I do nothing
And all that He fairly asks in return
Is for all that I can do, and Heíll do the rest