Opposition and Discouragement

Not to sound weird or overly suspicious of coincidences, but I feel like I’m in a constant struggle to accomplish the work I’m here to do. In a way, life is always like that, but it’s particularly noticeable during summer marathons such as camp last year and my Miami internship this year. I always feel like I’m fighting something much bigger, much deeper, and much darker than mere coincidence.

I haven’t really blogged much of this internship, in part because I rarely have the time, but also because the first half of it was a huge struggle for me. I didn’t want to tell anyone that, because everyone is much happier seeing excited facebook statuses about the beach and pictures of big smiles. And it’s true, I have had a lot of fun. I have been to the beach, and there have been far more big smiles off-screen. But I feel like I can’t honestly share with you about my internship unless I first confess that it hasn’t been all fun and games. At times, I’ve been fighting just to hold on and make it to the next day.

I encountered some obstacles in the first couple of weeks that left me feeling confused, discouraged, completely alone, and a host of other negative emotions that did everything they could to hinder my work. So for a few weeks I was on an intense roller coaster of emotion, and I felt so discouraged that sometimes I would come home from church and collapse on my bed sobbing, feeling like I wanted to die. Or at least give up.

Last week was when things finally took a definite turn for the better. It was Miami Work Camp, and who doesn’t love the sense of community that camp brings? There were hugs and encouragement and love and support and laughter and silliness. I felt like I was actually making a difference. I got closer to some of the Spanish students, which made me super happy. Some very sweet and encouraging people told me that others had spoken very highly of me.

And so as soon as I determined that I was done being discouraged, that I wasn’t going to let these silly obstacles bring me down, Satan switched his tactics on me.

I’m getting sick.

And I leave for a North Carolina camping trip the day after tomorrow.

I would call it coincidence or a product of the exhaustion leftover from Miami Work Camp, except that the same thing happened to me last summer. I specifically remember writing in my journal that I was done letting insecurity weigh me down, and I woke up the next day with a head cold, smashed my finger in the door pretty grossly, and somehow injured myself like 5 more times that day. It was too much to be coincidence.

In class yesterday we were talking about dealing with discouragement. First we looked at the catalysts of discouragement, following our study of Nehemiah. What were they? Rumors, ridicule, and resistance. When the first two didn’t successfully discourage Nehemiah from building the wall, the enemy decided to bring in physical resistance rather than emotional. I found that so beautifully ironic, because that seems to be exactly the case here.

And I tell you this simply to ask for your prayers. I have 3 weeks left here, and more than anything I want to finish strong, to make the most of this amazing opportunity I’ve been blessed with. It may have taken me a while to really get in the game, but I’m determined to leave here knowing that I made a difference, that I poured out everything I had when the going got tough. I love this city, I love this church, and I love these kids, and for the next three weeks I belong to them, not to Satan’s agenda.

One of the ways we talked about that Nehemiah dealt with opposition was to consolidate his forces on the wall, rather than having the workers spread out. As we discussed the spiritual implications of that, I realized that maybe this is something I shouldn’t fight alone. And although a head cold may seem like a small thing, I feel that it represents far more, especially when I have camping and white water rafting in my very near future. So please stand with me and pray for physical and emotional healing, for strength and perseverance to finish this summer strong.

Published in: on July 22, 2013 at 10:53 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. You can do it. Thanks for being so honest here. Your church and kids are blessed to have someone who asks God for the strength to finish the race.
    -Peter from The Bridge

    • Thank you so much for your kind comments, Peter! It means so much!

  2. “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
    “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

    The road must be trod, but it will be very hard… Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere. ~ Elrond

    Melody Kelly

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