Your Perfect Discouragement

A wise friend reminded me last week about spiritual battle and how the devil (1 Peter 5:8–I’m not making this up) often devises profoundly personal attacks against us. Something about the phrase “profoundly personal” made me ask the question of how the enemy of my soul might best discourage me.

I reasoned it might be subtle but just enough to ruin a day, set off a chain reaction of negative behaviors, or cause me to stop a certain ministry.

I thought about what discourages me most. Was it illness? Canceled plans? Any kind of bad news? What subtle thing would it be?

And then I realized that I find myself so nervous and overwhelmed by two things:

Car trouble or if things go wrong in the house.

Car trouble! One of my greatest fears!

In the space of an hour, my garage door crashed down in a crushing, broken thud. Next, the alarm lights came on in my car that something was wrong with my tires. I sat in the car and thought of the day stretching out. I thought of my impossibly tight schedule, all the errands, and all the meetings. I didn’t even have an Uber app. I didn’t even know what to do with our one car kind of life.

It was my perfect discouragement.

So I prayed. I prayed against anything sent to discourage me. And I fortified my heart against the very thing that could discourage me. I reasoned–carefully and slowly, with deep breaths–that I could call a dozen friends for a ride; I could figure out the Uber app or even call a taxi or take the bus; I could cancel my meeting and classes and everyone would survive; I could walk if I needed to.

I prayed. I prayed that this discouragement–my perfect, subtle discouragement–would end.

I pull into Tire Town, and in less than 10 minutes, they fix my problem. I arrive 30 minutes early to my first class. The garage door repairman will come later.

All is well.

I realized it’s wise to think ahead about what might discourage me and fortify my heart, make my plan, and know that nothing escapes the watchful care and provision of the Lord.

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