where a woman can build her strength and freedom

Are you feeling discouraged today?

The photo shows a leafless tree at dusk and represents the emptiness of feeling discouraged. The tree is surrounded by a soft purple sky, with a luminous glow coming through the branches.

We all get discouraged sometimes. Is today your day?
If it is, I’m sorry.
I wish we could just go sit in a sunny place and talk about it.

Do you have a friend to do that with you today?
If not, maybe you and I can just imagine the sun is shining
right here on us as we speak.

It is very hard to be a young person right now.
There are so many challenges to discourage you.
And yet, I believe the forces of life in you are stronger.
We are blessed to live here in America,
where we get to pursue our happiness
with our own free mind and spirit.

If you are discouraged today,
I pray your free mind and spirit will lift you up.
I will do my best to encourage you.

Shall we explore this territory together?
Let’s DO this!

My insides

I have a phrase to describe what happens when I feel discouraged.
I say that “my insides turn to water.”
This doesn’t happen often, but when it does I lose my sense of capability.

I no longer feel that I can actually DO
whatever it is that I am trying to do.
I feel like I have lost my guts.

This caving-in causes me to feel hesitant and doubtful.
I feel I am over my head.
That what I am attempting to do is impossible.

Haha like right now, as I am writing this post.
How am I going to accomplish what I have set out to do? I have no idea.

Every week when I sit down to write my post, I have no idea.
No idea how I am going to do it, and usually no idea of my topic.

And yet I have written a post every week since September 11, 2020.
Except for a few weeks when I was recovering from eye surgery.

Evidently discouragement doesn’t stop me.
But it’s still painful.

Now what?

So maybe we’re BOTH feeling kinda discouraged today!
Ha ha the blind leading the blind.

Well, what do you say we walk through this together?
“I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours”
as Dylan sang in Talkin’ World War III Blues.
So what do we do now?

Let’s take a ride through the “fun” house

The “fun” house is full of popular attractions. Flashy and inviting!
Unfortunately they are also half baked and useless
as remedies for discouragement (or anything else.)

Here’s a list of phony attractions:
junk food
drinking and driving/speeding
rage (road rage/relationship rage/political rage)
casual sex without love

Does this stuff sound familiar?
Can you add to this list of our favorite techniques
for avoiding dealing with whatever challenge is currently discouraging us?

These “remedies” are easy to grab, but they never work.
Any we have tried have only ended up making us feel worse.
And maybe even gotten us into serious trouble.

We also over-use many less damaging, but just as mind-numbing,
false remedies for discouragement:
social media

Why don’t any of these false remedies work?

They don’t work because they all come from outside.
They attempt to solve an inner problem
by introducing a substance or experience from the outside.
Though these substances or experiences may temporarily distract us,
they don’t develop our insides.In fact they harm our insides.

Discouragement is an inner problem.
It requires a constructive inner solution.

Discouragement comes from emptiness within us: a lack of life spirit.
Only the renewal of our life spirit can fill the void
and lift us back up where we belong.

A different path

First of all, we will need to stop falling for all those phony “remedies.”
We need to look carefully at each one.
Begin to recognize that each is a self destructive trap.
Remind ourselves that we have walked into these traps before.
Some of them, many times.
We already know how badly we will suffer if we do that again.

Little by little, we can begin to recognize that when we feel attracted to it,
when we move toward it, we are falling into a trap.
We can slow ourselves down and think it over.

We can challenge ourselves:
Why do I want to fall into this same old trap?”

“Why do I keep falling for the lie that eating junk food, drinking, taking drugs, etc.,
will help me overcome my discouragement?
It never has yet!

Once we see through the lie, and begin to challenge it every day,
it will eventually begin to lose its power over us.
The lie will begin to die of its own absurdity.

Sources of genuine strength

Letting go of false remedies makes room for real solutions.
The only things that will actually help us when we are feeling discouraged
are those things which strengthen our insides,
and fill our emptiness from within.

They don’t just temporarily fill the void,
only to leave us even emptier than we were before.
They call us to our stronger and better natures.
They nurture and edify us.
Remedies that can actually make things better
are those that build us up.

And what are they?
They come in all dimensions: psychological, physical, spiritual, political.
I could give you my list, but yours will be different.

How about making a list of your favorite activities
that build your mind, your body and your soul?

Rest, music, exercise, worship, humor, friendship, caring for animals,
caring for your community, caring for the planet?
You know what you love! You know what you believe in!
You know what is good for you and gives you joy!
Give yourself permission to lift yourself up and enjoy all the goodness in the world!

And as for me…

The first thing I’ve learned to do is laugh at myself.
I’m waaaay too ambitious ( read: grandiose 🙂 )
Plus I’m a perfectionist.

This post is supposed to be perfect 🙂
Of course I feel discouraged.

All I’m trying to do is save the world!!!
Do I stop trying?
No. I go take a nap.

I wake up, read the Bible, sing, feel refreshed,
then continue going after my impossible dreams.

That’s how I got my PhD,
survived a ton of losses and setbacks,
found my fine husband,
and ended up creating these websites.

We Americans are stubborn.
We refuse to quit no matter HOW discouraged we feel!
If I at least gave you a smile today, I’ll be glad.

Am feeling much better myself, now.
Now that I’m done!


What gives you the most strength when you’re discouraged?

I hope you will write and tell me!

Dr. Hall