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This was the scouts’ report to Moses: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak! But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”
Several years ago, I bought my first power tool – a circular saw. When the man at the hardware store asked me if I’d ever used one before I said, “Nope! But I can figure it out.”
And I did. I went home, watched a couple YouTube videos, and built four benches for the youth room.
If you’ll allow me to toot my own horn for a second, I’d say that I have all the qualities of a good DIY-er. I’m resourceful, determined (a.k.a. stubborn), thrifty, and I love a good challenge. I’ve painted my own house (and most of the church), changed out light fixtures, patched holes, repaired broken plumbing, hung curtains, etc. Countless times I have heard myself say, “I bet I could do that!” or “Sure, I can figure that out.”
This was Caleb’s reaction when he heard about the land God had promised the Israelites: “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”
Over the past few months I’ve been battling some pretty serious discouragement. I felt that God had put a beautiful vision in my heart…but I faced some unexpected obstacles and a few set-backs that really took the wind out of my sails and made me feel defeated. I began to see all the ways my plans were failing and the vision began to look unlikely to succeed.
I felt my “I can do it” attitude weaken. Instead of feeling confident, I began to feel confused. Instead of feeling independent or self-sufficient, I just began to feel alone. Instead of feeling inspired and passionate, I began to feel tired and deflated. I felt myself allowing certain things to slide. Giving up before I started. Becoming part of the problem.
I felt like the Israelite scouts.
The beautiful vision that I wanted to see was so close…and yet there were giants – my own discouragement being one of them.
At our Saturday night service we set out a couch in our lounge area for people to sit on. Several weeks ago one of the legs on the couch broke off, causing the couch to wobble and tip on one side.
Normally, I would look at the broken couch and say, “I can fix that!”
But I didn’t.
Rather, I set the couch out in the lounge for 3 weeks in its broken state. I let people sit (or try to sit) on a broken couch for 3 weeks! The worst part was that I knew I should fix it. I wanted to fix it. But I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
It’s silly right? It’s just a couch. But I realized that the couch was a symptom of the wider problem. The couch became a symbol of my defeated spirit.
The worst thing about discouragement is the way it spreads. The Israelite scouts didn’t just allow themselves to become discouraged, they spread it through the camp.
My attitude of defeat doesn’t just affect me. It affects my family, my team, my disciples, and those who would benefit from my vision.
But when you’re feeling discouraged, it’s hard to just shake yourself off and do what needs to be done. It’s heavy and difficult. It sucks motivation and suffocates inspiration.
I knew that I needed to break free from the cycle, but how?
“Fix the couch”, I heard God say.
“There are many things you can’t control right now. But you can fix the couch. That is something you know how to do. Start with that.”
And so I fixed the couch.
There are so many things in life that we can’t control. There are giants and walls and enemies. There is fear and discouragement and obstacles.
But there is always something we can do.
Instead of giving up, find your “couch”.
Start with that.
Galatians 6:9 “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
– Pastor Jessie Knight