Life Can Be So Discouraging

Author Steven Cribbs    Category Life     Tags

Have you ever had one of those weeks? Unmotivated. Discouraged. Responsibilities weigh heavy. Everything seems to be fighting against you.  Defeated. Happiness and joy seem like distant allusive memories. You are left wondering how to get everything done, how to get out of that pit, how to get back to the life you desire…how to get through the day.


You will want to read this story…

The monastery seemed to be almost bereft of priests, and those who were in evidence were elderly and gloomy.

On the office door was posted a long list of events to be conducted by Father George. Late one night, Fr. George and [I] sat down for a visit. [I] commented that the monastery seemed almost empty and that nearly the entire list of events were conducted by Fr. George. Fr. George leaned back in his chair and began to reminisce.

For many years the monastery flourished. The number of men in the house grew to a large number. Facilities were often expanded to meet the needs of the growing community. Then, after many years, no new persons sought entrance into the community. As years passed, those who were there grew old and tired. Some died; many left for residence in another house in Europe. Finally, all that remained were eight or ten old men and Fr. George (in his forties).

From its inception the community was organized around a spirituality requiring the priests to pray together three times a day. As the number of able-bodied persons declined, the community reduced its prayer and worship discipline, complaining that with the added responsibilities each remaining person had to assume, there wasn’t time for so much prayer.

Finally the few remaining older men decided to give up the daily prayer routine altogether. They were old; they had prayed enough.

By now Fr. George was carrying the weight of the maintenance of the properties and the necessities of the older men. In order to meet the financial needs, began scheduling more and more retreats and seminars, which he led for outside groups.

For a while Fr. George maintained a daily prayer discipline, but it was not the same, for the other brothers were no longer praying with him. Finally, he stopped his daily prayers and gave himself entirely to his work.

After a couple of years, he found himself tired, lonely, and bitter. Only his commitment to the care of the older men kept him going. But now he was too tired to spend the many long hours each day conducting events, and his mind had grown dull; study was difficult and fruitless.

Everything turned from bad to worse. He worried about complete collapse of the entire operation.

Then he recalled the joy and strength he used to receive from the times of prayer with his brothers. Though there were none who would now pray with him, he would begin to spend a half hour each morning in prayer. Once again he would contemplate the beauty of the sanctuary.

After some time, it seemed that the recall of materials studied previously was clearer, and new ideas came with less effort. He decided to increase his prayer time to include a half hour after the evening meal. Again, after some time, it seemed he was more able to lead his many events and care for the house with fewer hours of preparation. He decided to increase his daily prayer time to two hours a day. His entire life and work took on a new meaning and vitality. He now knew God was working with him.

The conversation ended with Fr. George saying, “What you see me doing in my long days and nights is only possible because I have returned to the discipline.” Then he quoted a statement accorded to Martin Luther, at the height of the Reformation: “I am so busy that unless I pray more hours every day I won’t get my work done.”

–excerpt from “Leading the Congregation” by Shawchuch and Heuser

What would happen if we intentionally put God at the top of our priority list.  What if we spent more time intentionally focused on seeking God – not just asking for help; but seeking to know the Creator?  God can create something out of nothing.  God created us and knows exactly how we work and what we need.  Seeking the eternal can impact the temporal.

I know the thought seems easy and the implementation seems difficult.  But, do we trust God enough to follow Father George’s example?

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

–2 Corinthians 4:18

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

–Philippians 4:6-8

For those that have read this far, know that I have prayed for you.  May God bless you in an unexpected way today.



Question:  When you are down, what brings you encouragement, what brings you hope, what reminds you of God’s promises?  You can leave a comment below.

5 Comments to “Life Can Be So Discouraging”

  • Brandon April 8, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    This was good! I have had a very stressful, and this is just what I needed!

    • Steven Cribbs April 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm

      I have had a few days like that too… And sometimes I find myself so busy, at least by my thinking, that I let the necessary things begin to slip. I really like the phrase, “I am so busy that unless I pray more hours every day I won’t get my work done.”

      • Brandon April 8, 2011 at 5:41 pm

        Same here. I’ve been so busy some days that I don’t know where to begin. I sometimes find myself just in a “busy shock”.

        I’m just so glad it’s the weekend! 🙂

  • Bernadette Ramsey April 18, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    I have felt very defeated and discouraged lately. God reminded me that no matter what I am going through to keep praising him. I felt better knowing that God understood and cared.

    • Steven Cribbs April 18, 2011 at 4:06 pm

      There are so many things in life that drag us down. It seems much more difficult to stay on top – to stay encouraged. It’s true – it makes a difference in how we see ourselves and our own struggles when we get our eyes off of ourselves, praise God, remember that God is in control (even when it seems like he is not), know that God has a plan for me (see this post – https://stevencribbs.com/does-god-really-have-a-plan-for-me/) and even when we find ways to help others in need.

      May God continue to bless you, Bernadette, with the peace of God that transcends all understanding (Phil. 4:6-7).

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