Have you ever started getting discouraged saying...
My food's never going to be any good.
What am I doing here?
This isn't really a ministry - I want to be involved with a real ministry.
Why can't I ever get a better position than where I am?
You may even be thinking right now "If God doesn't confirm to me soon that this is what's for me, I'm out of here!"
Well, it seems like everybody has been in that position one time or another -- at least I know I have.
So what do you do when you get to this point?
Just stick with what's going on even if it kills you?
Push it deep inside yourself pretending to forget about it?
You probably could've guessed my answer -- which is to give it up to God. Easily said, but how in the world does a person actually do that? And isn't that something pastors say to avoid the problem rather than working on the root of it?
Actually, that is the root of it, and although it's not easy, it is something we can all do. Many Christians preach Christianity as something to do to make life easy, but nowhere in the Bible does it tell us that Christianity is easy. The non-Christian life is the easy one -- you do whatever you want and don't worry about it. The Christian life, on the other hand, requires a great deal of responsibility and God promises us that our entire lives will be full of trials and tribulations.
Just look at Paul's life. In Acts chapter 8, Paul was persecuting the Christian church, killing many disciples, but God called him one day, convicted him, blinded him, and the rest of his life was spent going through many trials, including:
"labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness-- besides the other things, what comes upon me daily"
2 Cor. 11:23-28 (NKJV)
Paul is considered to be one of the strongest Christians there has ever been, and yet, after God saved him, did his life get easier? Then how is it that most Christians think that if life isn't super easy that they must be doing something wrong?
OK, so how does this relate to a person's discouragement? Because we should rather see God's truth to encourage us through difficult situations in life rather than letting the situations themselves discourage us. God has made it clear to us that He will help us out of any problems in our lives, which in all truth makes them not really problems in the first place. It makes them CHALLENGES.
The difference between a problem and a challenge is that a problem is like running into a wall, making you get discouraged because you ran into it and there's no door to easily get through it. And in that situation the only thing that can really be done is to keep running into it or turn around and run away from it. Either way the problem is still there.
A challenge, on the other hand, includes the same situation, but makes you look at it in a completely different way. When you think of a person trying to challenge you at something, for example at a race, you think of ways you can overcome the other racers and reach the goal. You don't think about how hard the course is, or how big the wall I was telling you about is as something to run into, but something to work your hardest at to overcome so that you can reach the goal. And with Jesus being our goal, and Jesus also by our side, there is no challenge too big for you to overcome by His strength while working to reach the goal.
And remember, how quickly you get promoted, get the raise, or even if you keep your job really isn't the most important thing in life. The important thing is that you are and always will be a Christian. You may not always be in this industry and you may even get hit by a bus and killed tomorrow, and at that point being a cook really isn't what's important. And after your life is over on this world, how would you prefer people to remember you -- as being a Christian or being a good cook? It's your choice.
I'm sure most of us have been in this situation... You're working along in the kitchen and a couple of your staff call in sick. You then find out that either you forgot to order a couple of ingredients or the purveyor ran out of something you really need. Then to top it off you're informed that you either have a lot more customers than planned or the party you're serving needs to eat their next meal 45 minutes earlier than you had thought. What do you do? Do you get discouraged and throw your apron on the floor and quit? No! You say a quick prayer while starting to change the menu to fit the needs of the group and you get to work to overcome the challenge set in front of you. God knew everything that was going to happen that day, and He knew how it would be resolved, too. The only question in the situation is your reaction, and that's up to you...
You may be thinking at this point that "if only that was my problem -- you don't know what I'm going through". Well, you're right, I don't. BUT I do know the One who does, and I know without a doubt that He can and will help you overcome the challenges set in front of you if only you will let Him.
God bless, and I pray you continuously strive towards the goal set in front of you.
Your Brother in Christ,
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Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. -1 Cor 10:31 ESV