Adventure is Out There: Day 2
Principle 2: FIND JOY IN SMALL VICTORIES
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
Read: Joshua 1:1-9
Everything is about to change for Joshua. Years and years ago God spoke to Abraham, one of Joshua’s ancestors, “Go from your country… to a land that I will show you.” God continues, “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you. I will make your name great and you will be a blessing.” Well, the land that God spoke of over four hundred years prior to this moment with Joshua is THE land, THE Promised Land, that Joshua is about to lead the Israelites to claim.
We tend to focus on the, “be strong and courageous part,” for obvious reasons of course. There are twenty one kings, twenty one cities, that comprise that Promised Land that will have to be conquered in order for it to belong to the Israelites. I’d say Joshua and his men would need some courage. But there is another phrase there that tends to get over looked, “Do not be discouraged.” “Discouraged” – it seems harmless, insignificant even in comparison to something like fear. But I’d argue otherwise.
Fear is to discouragement what Ernie is to Bert, what peanut butter is to jelly. They go together so well in the worst way possible. They are the definition of a dysfunctional relationship.
Discouragement feeds our fear. And fear is fueled by discouragement.
The difference is, there’s something about our fight or flight response that makes fear valuable. When fear kicks it up a notch so does our adrenaline and we often find competency and resolve where we didn’t know it existed. But there is nothing that makes us want to give up and give in more rapidly than discouragement. There’s someone about being discouraged that makes us want to curl up in the fetal position, crawl under the covers, and sleep until we magically wake up in an alternate reality void of human emotion.
When it comes to the territory we are looking to claim in 2016, there is no greater enemy, nothing that will paralyze our efforts more, than being discouraged.
So how do we overcome it?
The answer is right in front of us and yet it frequently slips right through our fingers; joy. When there lies before us a daunting task, a New Years resolution that feels unattainable there is no other way than to conquer it then one step at a time. And the only way to keep moving forward in the face of discouragement is to look back and take joy in the steps already taken. When we allow ourselves to celebrate and revel in victories already won we discover the courage and resolve to keep going, even in the midst of challenging and seemingly impossible circumstances.
As Nehemiah wrote, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:11)
Seek to find joy in all the nooks and crannies of your journey and you will discover a strength that can only come from God through whom we will be sustained and encouraged to keep going.
How can you find joy today?