Discouragement 

It’s such a powerful word because we all go through it, but about the only time we ever really talk about it is when we think we have conquered it. Then we feel like the learned professor giving the lesson on overcoming it. We’re not supposed to be discouraged. Some may even think it’s ungodly to be discouraged. Discouragement is closely linked with depression and these are not considered commendable traits. We all feel them at times, but we will do our  best to hide or deny that such feelings exist. In fact, if you’re reading this, I bet you are expecting advice on overcoming this flaw in character. Well you can stop reading it now because it is not going to be one of those posts. And I don’t think its a flaw in character. I think it’s normal. 

The truth is I am feeling discouraged and I just felt like writing about it. There is no need for advice. I’ll get over it; I always do. Then it comes again, I get over again, and round and round it goes. Discouragement is just a part of life, for some more than others I suppose. The last thing I need when I’m feeling down is hearing from some well-meaning person who  quotes some Scripture or recommends some book or speaker that will surely pull me right out of the dumps. Sometimes all I really want to do is share my thoughts to anyone who might even be remotely interested. Weird huh? Well it’s a whole lot cheaper than a psychiatrist and 100 times more effective. 

So why am I feeling discouraged? I mean I wasn’t feeling that discouraged yesterday. So what happened? Well, I’m sure a bad nights rest didn’t help matters. The rest is probably nothing more than failed expectations. My day started with a 5K run. I put a lot of effort into caring for my body. I hit the gym at least 5 times a week and this is not a new thing for me. I do strength training as well as a good amount of cardio. When I leave the gym, I am usually drenched with sweat. So it’s really heartbreaking when I don’t really see much improvement at all. I was really hoping the 5K would reward my efforts. Well, it didn’t. I was very disappointed even though I felt as if I had give maximum effort. 

But fitness is not my only  disappointment. I have been attempting to play guitar now for a number of years. I’m not sure how many, but there are professionals with less time playing. I like music and I have always felt drawn to it, but it wasn’t until I was in my  mid 40’s that I started trying to play. I tried to play drums when I was child, but nobody liked the racket, and that what it was: racket. I was never any good at it. I’ve always liked to make up stupid little song lyrics as far back as I can remember. It’s usually when playing music and making up stupid little songs that I’m happiest. I really just like to goof around with it. But it’s hard too. 

Coming up with chord rhythms and melodies to go with lyrics is time consuming, not to mention highly irritating to those around you who are sick and tired of hearing the same old riff over and over again. My wife hates all my songs for that reason. That and the fact she just doesn’t have much sense of humor; either that or my humor is way out of wack.  With all the time I have spent trying to play guitar, I feel I should be a lot farther along. Even songs that I have learned quite well, I forget them quickly and if dare to play in front of people I mess up about 90% of the time. 

Another hobby of mine is blogging which I have also dedicated a large amount of time to for minimal results. Some have said I’m good at it, but my stats don’t lie. People just are not reading it. I mean there are few, but it’s incredibly rare that anyone even leaves a comment, and I was really hoping for meaningful dialog. With all the time and effort I have put into such things with only minimal improvement, I have to wonder from time to time: Am I just wasting my time? Is there anything at all that I can claim some sense of ability? Probably not. And at this point in my life I’m kind of wondering why bother? 

But I continue. At this point I can’t imagine going long without exercise. I’d feel like I was cheating. Furthermore, to see a guitar and not at least pick it up and strum it for a bit is just cruel. Guitars get lonely ya know? George Harrison even had a guitar that wept. They have feelings. And I don’t always choose to write a goofy song. The urge just happens at the weirdest times. Last Monday my granddaughter and I was playing on the playground and for some reason I said out loud, “Oh No!” And she repeated it just as clear as could be. She’s only 1, and I taught her something. So when I was taking the girls to school that got brought up, and the thought crossed my mine, that would make a neat song. OH NO! But it would have to be some sort of punk rock song. I normally don’t do those. It’s truly amazing how many songs have come about from that van ride to the school. “Oh No” reached a new pinnacle. My wife hates it worse than any other song I’ve done. 

See, now I feel better. No drugs, no therapy, no doctor’s bill. I just wanted to share. I’m not any better at exercising, playing the guitar, or blogging, but somehow I feel better. Weird huh? 

At the race today, I heard a song that I really really liked. When I have a song like that, I usually start researching the song and the artist. Her name is Rachel Platten and the song: “Fight Song” is about the only song she has that charted. That certainly doesn’t mean that she isn’t any good. There are incredible musicians and song writers out there, but we’ll never hear from them. The music business is really tough, and it isn’t always the most talented that get the most notice. 

The song seems to be about the discouragement that comes from song writing and performing. But it applies to every aspect of life. We get discouraged. OWN IT! It happens to the best, the worst and everyone in between. There is no need to be ashamed or pretent like we have overcome it and it doesn’t happen to us anymore. Nor is there any need look down on those going through it. Just take it and go on. I think this is a song about keeping going.

 Here are the Lyrics. The video can be seen by clicking on the title, Fight Song, above and it is worth watching. 


Fight Song by Rachel Platten

Like a small boat on the ocean

Sending big waves into motion

Like how a single word can make a heart open

I might only have one match but I can make an explosion
And all those things I didn’t say wrecking balls inside my brain

I will scream them loud tonight can you hear my voice this time?
This is my fight song

Take back my life song

Prove I’m alright song

My power’s turned on

Starting right now I’ll be strong

I’ll play my fight song

And I don’t really care if nobody else believes

‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me
Losing friends and I’m chasing sleep 

Everybody’s worried about me

In too deep 

Say I’m in too deep (in too deep)

And it’s been two years I miss my home

But there’s a fire burning in my bones

Still believe

Yeah, I still believe

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About Ken Sayers

I'm currently employed by a children's home where my wife and I care for a cottage of girls who have been displaced from their families. I'm a middle age man with two grown children of my own and one grandchild. I have worked as a United States Marine, a youth minister, a preacher, a childcare worker, and a truck driver. My hobbies include photography, horses, playing guitar, writing, and fitness.
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