I think discouragement is a deadly disease that's not only universal, but also highly contagious. Have you ever noticed that when you hang around with someone who's discouraged, then you get discouraged yourself?
But discouragement is also curable!
I once spoke to the Los Angeles Dodgers before a game. Veteran Dodger Bill Russell made a statement I'll never forget. He said, "Winners – pros – never give up in a slump. They just keep on, and they ride it out."
So one of the keys to curing discouragement is patience – just ride it out!
But there's something else you can do right now to help ward off this disease.
You can take a nap.
Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is just go to bed. That's because when you're physically down, it's hard to be emotionally and spiritually up. The legendary football coach Vince Lombardi said, "Fatigue makes cowards of us all." That's true. It's amazing how much better things look after a good night's sleep.
If you're discouraged right now, it might be you don't need to change a thing in your ministry; maybe you just need some rest.
Even soil needs rest. Farmers know this; so they rotate their crops and systematically leave a portion of their land fallow. They do this because land that has rested produces a greater harvest.
In 1898 Frederick W. Taylor did a scientific study on the workplace and productivity. Do you know what his study proved? That people will produce more if they have periodic breaks, and thus, the coffee break was born.
Resting is spiritual: "God wants his loved ones to get their proper rest." (Psalm 127:2, LB) Some of you need to underline that and put it on your refrigerator. The Bible says it's vain for you to rise up early and stay up late.
Here's one more: "You made my body, Lord, now give me sense to heed your laws." (Psalm 119:73, LB) What are his laws for the body? Eat right, get your sleep, exercise, and relax. Rest is so important, in fact, that God put it in the Ten Commandments. He said, "Every seventh day you are to rest."
Don't ignore what God established: it's the first key to warding off discouragement. A good night's sleep makes a big difference. And you never know how different your mood might be even after a quick nap.
This article is used by permission from From Rick Warren's Ministry ToolBox, a free weekly e-newsletter for those in ministry. www.pastors.com.
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