The Struggle: Discouragement by Sam R Bartee

   Have you ever had to deal with discouragement ? I have . I remember one particular moment when I was so discouraged that I could barely hold my head up. It was during those awkward years of middle school, and my whole identity was in my academic achievements. I believed I was destined to win the science award . I had a grade of 102, and I just knew it was the highest grade in the class. I had been invited to the end of the year awards ceremony and boy, did I know why! I was ready to receive a wooden plaque with my name on it . I very confidently knew my dad was coming to be proud. One by one ,names were called and mine too - to receive a very generic paper certificate for having a decent GPA . I knew though that a paper certificate was just the beginning , anxiously I waited for the wood. I was going to be leaving with wood. I waited and waited ,then finally, - the science award.I straightened my posture and ironed out my clothes and waited for my name except it wasn't my name they called. It wasn't my name! I couldn't believe it! It wasn't fair! I had made certain that MY name would be called. My world erupted in panic not winning the science award meant I wasn't winning anything that night . I was about to leave with a generic paper certificate , and I did . My dad didn't leave proud that night. In fact, he verbally told me that I had wasted his time and yelled at me for not winning a single piece of wood. A night of celebration turned into disaster . I felt like a loser. I was the loser with a grade of a 102. I wasn't good enough. I could have- would have - should have done better. That night I could have earned my father's love. The girl who won the award that night probably doesn't even remember winning it ,but I will never forget losing . I'm 30 years old and I still remember an award I didn't win in middle school ! The reality is it’s not the award I remember , but the discouragement- that lingering feeling of losing . I didn't just lose. I saw myself as a loser . For me, Losing changed my identity-wow. So here I am ,30 years old , and I'm still affected by discouragement ,and still it’s affecting my identity . For instance , I believed I was an author until my book was denied publication. I believed I was a counselor until I was asked to leave the graduate program. Now I find myself telling myself who I am rather than letting God speak into Who I am. I let what I physically have define my identity. A publication makes me an author.A degree gives me the ability to counsel. A science award makes me lovable and someone to be proud of. The funny thing is that the identity that Christ gives us isn't linked to anything physical. I get to rejoice in knowing that I'm a writer because God says I am . I'm a counselor because that’s He’s calling upon my life. I'm lovable because I am His creation. While my earthly dad was filled with disappointment , my Heavenly father was applauding, and every day he’s applauding saying I'm proud of my daughter for exactly who she is.

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