By Del Duduit
Have you ever wondered if you make a difference? Are there times when you feel useless? Times when you think you just take up space?
These feelings, though real, are always an attack from the enemy.
“Do you matter?” Have you ever heard that one whispered in your ear?
I have heard and fought these questions from time to time myself over the years, weeks and even days.
Fanfare and applause are not what I seek or strive to hear. I just want to know that what I do matters in the grand scheme of life. For me, I know when God has allowed me to do something really cool and meaningful. That is when I am satisfied. It’s internal.
But just when that moment hits, the devil knows and counter punches.
Over the past year, I have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams and have gone down a path I didn’t know existed. I am working hard to do His will in this ministry and wonderful doors continue to open, but at the same time, I battle discouragement. I count my blessings and am thankful for the magnificent opportunities in front of me. I am thankful for my marriage, my home and family, my job and my health and my church. And of course, the new friends I have made.
But lately, I have been bombarded with dejection and a melancholy attitude that I am not doing anything worthwhile.
I am aware where these attacks originate. They come at me in the darkness of night, and I hear a murmur in my mind that tells me, “nobody cares what you write about.” “No one reads your articles.” “You are worthless and wasting your time.”
Follow my blog here.
Have these words ever rustled through your thoughts?
But often after a post, I receive so many responses from people I don’t know, and they lift me up.
I blogged about how God saved a marriage and received a message from a person I’ve never met. Wow, I thought. That had an impact. (see the next message.)
Imagine that – something I wrote stirred up emotions in a person that made them respond to me. Then I feel it must have had an impact. “Liar,” I tell the devil. “Take that. Someone did read it.”
Does inner pride or the fear of failure keep you from doing something significant for the Lord?
Toss that aside. Those feelings are real, because I entertained them for years.They are traps set by the enemy. I was a decorated athlete and have achieved success in my occupation and in writing. So why did I wait so long to work for God? Perhaps I was afraid or I wasn’t where I should have been spiritually on my journey.
You will become a target when you begin to glorify the Lord. Accept that as a compliment. The devil wants to keep you right where you are if you are a slug.
Over the past year, I have been enlightened on ways to stomp out discouragement and get onto a brighter path. I have discovered the way to do this is to try some of the following suggestions.
- Value your relationship with God: Psalm 39 will take any doubt you have in your mind away. Read it once in a while — maybe even once a month. I also love the song by Francesca Battistelli called He Knows My Name. Take a listen when you can, because it tells you the Lord is aware of who you are in this world. You are important to Christ.
- Value your time with God: I find myself on occasion missing my parents. I think Dad would love to have known my boys now, and my Mom would have become close with my daughter-in-law. I don’t want the Lord to miss me and wonder how I am. I want Him to experience everything I do – especially with my blogs, magazine articles, and my soon-to-be-released book. Invest in quality time with the Master. Share everything with Him.
- Value and help your friends: I have made it a point to like and share posts from my writing friends on a consistent basis. I don’t do this so they will return the favor – though I am happy when they do. I have found I feel better when I support them. “Let every one of us please his neighbor, for his good to edification.” ROMANS 15:2. When I lift up others, I feel good about myself.
- Value your praise: When you worship, you feel closer to God. You don’t have to scream and shout and run the aisles and be seen (unless ordered by the Holy Spirit). I have found private and personal praise makes me stronger. When I am alone, that is when the enemy strikes. That is also when I lean on the Lord more and thank Him. That’s my style. I know I praise God in my unique way. Find yours.
- Value yourself: I have peppered notes I have received throughout this blog for a reason. These are responses I have received from people I don’t know and have not met. These messages aim to encourage. I love them, and they do a lot for me. When I read them, I feel what God is letting me do really makes an impact. I am thankful for these positive messages I receive from readers. They are the encouragement I need to continue. They are unsolicited but highly desired. “The Lord is on my side: I will not fear: what can man do unto me.” Psalm 118:6.
Oddly enough, that has become one of my favorite scriptures. When I am barraged with attacks from the devil, I pull out my go-to verse in Psalms.
Follow me on Twitter here.
Another one I urge you to take note of is:
“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” JEREMIAH 1:5
To think He knew me before I was born is a comfort. The verse sends a tremendous message of hope.
But you have to accept His call and live for Him in order to receive any benefit from the Master.
What verse do you lean on in times of trouble and discouragement?
Can you relate? I hope this has helped you. But if it hasn’t, it has sure helped me.
Let me know your thoughts. And try to encourage someone today.
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.