Discouraged? You’ve Got This!

Cynthia Herron Positive Thinking 10 Comments

Photo Credit: listentothemountains/Creative Commons

Photo Credit: listentothemountains/Creative Commons

Recently, I spoke with a friend who was at a low point. So much so that she said, “I quit. I’m giving up.”

“You can’t.” I told her. “I won’t let you. You’ve got this.”

“But you don’t understand, Cindy. It’s always been so easy for you.”

(I’d been told something similar in college. Didn’t care for it then, and I still don’t now.)

Really? I held up a hand. “Huh uh. You don’t really want to go there.”

“Sorry. It’s just that every time I think I’m about to clear my plate, then life heaps on another helping of turmoil. I’m tired of it. I can’t take it anymore.”

“I know. I’m sorry.” And I was. But I also realized that what my friend needed wasn’t a Placating Polly, but rather, a Tough Love Tilly. It was time to get real in a way my friend would understand. In a way that said Look, you have a right to your feelings, but because I love you I’m gonna tell you just how the pig ate the cabbage.

Here’s the set-up (and for privacy reasons, I’ll use the name “Mel.”):

For the past two decades, Mel’s wanted to pursue a lifelong goal. In her 20’s, Mel went to school, had a career, married, had babies, and became a stay-at-home-mom. She placed her goal on the back-burner, all the while still dreaming what it would be like to one day be a writer.

Her kids grew older. She resumed her career. (And not one she particularly liked.)

She thought about taking some writing courses. Getting involved in a writing organization. Something that would confirm her future as a writer. But then the unthinkable happened. After almost 19 years of marriage, Mel divorced. Now, she felt locked in a career she barely tolerated, but had to have. And her dream of writing all but evaporated–again.

“Look. I’ve never experienced divorce, but I have known heartbreak and a hundred stops and starts during my writing journey. None of them have been fair, kind, or pretty. But here’s the thing–” I told Mel placing an arm around her shoulder, “Without that gunk, we’d never be the writers God intends. It sets the stage. It primes us for victory. It clears a new path.”

My friend’s eyebrows arched upward. “For what?”


Ahhh… Lightbulb moment. I sensed the wheels turning.

“Bu…But what do I do? How do I get started while working a full-time job and raising two teenagers?”

“Baby steps,” I suggested.

I went on to offer some things my friend could do now. Things like join a critique group or writers organization. Set workable writing goals around her busy schedule. Aim for a new goal each month. Shoot for realistic results within a limited, but doable time frame.

Discouragement is such an ugly beast. It rears its awful head just when we’re at our most vulnerable.

Perhaps, you’ve met with disappointment after disappointment. Maybe, you’ve had a huge life change or a more subtle, albeit challenging, personal event. It might not even be something you can pinpoint. It could be a slow, steady progression toward the tunnel of despair.

Wherever you’re at during your journey today, don’t doubt God’s hand upon your life. Understand, however, that while He directs your path, He also grants you free will as you navigate it.

And for every stumbling block, pitfall, or crevice, He’s faithful to deliver. It might not be in the exact way you plan, dream, or hope. It might not be without a floodgate of tears.

It might come at a cost.

For your own good.


That’s hard to swallow sometimes, isn’t it? It sounds superficial even as I type those words. For your own good.  But please know that’s not how I intend it.


Get up. Get going!

You’ve got this.

God’s got this.

And you’re about to rise to new heights!


It’s hard to practice “tough love.” Can you think of a time when you needed a little?

What about an instance when God used you to deliver some tough love?


Has your life journey taken a detour? Encouragement found here! (Click to Tweet)

Sometimes, our tunnel of despair is God’s way of preparing us for the light! (Click to Tweet)

Photo Credit: listentothemountains/Creative Commons

See you Friday!

Blessings Always,

Comments 10

  1. Joy DeKok

    Thank you for this post – it’s hard to see the truth that God really has it all for us. I needed this gentle, but firm reminder today.

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  3. Melissa Tagg

    Wonderful post, Cynthia. I can think of times when those closest to me have dished out some tough love that I really needed…my parents, for instance, are amazing at gentle but firm reminders of truth when I’m slipping into believing lies about myself or life…I can sometimes hear the “listen up, buck up” tones underneath their gentleness. Haha! But you’re right, we do need that firm hand sometimes to convince us it’s time to get moving past what’s holding us back.

  4. Jessica R. Patch

    Such good stuff, Cindy! I am so blessed to have a few intimate friends who know when to tell me how the “pig ate the cabbage” LOL!

    Truth from friends brings healing after a few tiny scabs or big ones are scraped off.

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    Cynthia Herron

    Jess, how true! There are those who I know will placate me, and those who I can count on for the unvarnished truth. Ummm…like you, for instance! Lol

    And I’m all about the cabbage, gal! 😉

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    Cynthia Herron

    Melissa, my parents, too, are great with the “tough love.” Aren’t we blessed?! I’ve always found the truth spoken in love propels me farther than on-the-surface niceties. It’s hard to hear sometimes, but just what we need to challenge us to greater potential!

  7. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    I give myself a bit of tough love every day. Recent events have made some things – some of my long-cherished dreams – seem hopelessly beyond reach.

    I have the benefit of having gone through what most people would consider brutal training, and I can call up the voices of the instructor cadre…

    “Yeah, give up. We knew you would.”

    “It can all end now, and you can go back to your nachos and big-screen TV.”

    “You look so tired. Leave this kind of thing to people who’re stronger.”

    Some of the affectionate statements are, unfortunately, unprintable.

    But it does work. For me.

    I don’t apply it to others. You really had to have been there.

    About as far as I’ll go with someone else is to say, “If you want the prize, you need to put in the time. And even then it’s not guaranteed. Up to you. I’ll help you if you’re willing to fight. Else, I won’t waste my time.”

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    Cynthia Herron

    Andrew, obviously you have a lot of mettle. And since you’ve walked through the fire, I know you have what it takes to keep pressing on. Don’t give up!

    While our experiences differ, I so understand when dreams seem unattainable. Many times I’ve looked back and realized during my most difficult season was when God did His greatest work.

    NOW… something I probably should have covered, too, in this post–don’t overdo it on the tough love when it comes to yourself. It’s possible to let the pendulum swing too far the other way, as well.

    Praying God’s blessings over you as you pursue your dreams!

  9. Beth K. Vogt

    (For some reasons your posts show up in my box a day late. Oh well. Just so long as they keep showing up.)
    I’m filing this one under “To Be Read PRN” — PRN stands for “AS NEEDED” in medical lingo.
    So many good truths in this post. Truths that will help me keep going when the journey isn’t making sense. And there are parts of it that just … aren’t right now.
    I am not going to doubt God’s hand upon my life … and I am remembering I have free will how I navigate all this.

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    Cynthia Herron

    Beth, oh how I can relate to the journey not making sense. Just prayed about that, in fact. I think the only thing that keeps me focused is that God’s in total control of the situation even when I think things are so out of whack. I loved Sarah Sundin’s post on the ACFW blog yesterday. Particularly the part about timing. 😉 (And yes. I confess to be a Pollyanna thinker and having a Cinderella mindset–which happened to be my nickname in HS–because I DO believe in the fairy tale. God’s my Heavenly Father who can change things in a heartbeat all with the mere wave of His mighty hand!)

    So sorry my posts are showing up on your end a day after the fact. I have that problem with some of the blogs I’m subscribed to, as well. I believe it’s a WP issue. Have a super-blessed day!

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