Discouragement has been trying to sneak into my heart lately. I bar the doors and it makes faces at me through the windows. I shut the curtains and it sticks out its tongue on the news reports. I flip through Netflix and see it dressed up as reason or compassion or as humour – in black of course. I shut the TV off and discouragement pops up on my phone. Even in-person conversations take a sudden tilt toward you-think-that’s-bad.
Here’s the thing. You can’t escape discouragement when you’ve allowed it to have a camping spot in your head.
We had a problem with mice in the house once. While we were on vacation they got into the pantry. Screaming may have been involved when I opened the doors. I set traps, cleaned up and stored everything in plastic bins after that, but they would still show up. (More screaming.) We called for help.
The exterminator searched all around and found we had a spilled bag of grass seed in the garden shed near the back door.
“There’s your problem,” he said. “They eat in your garden restaurant then come into the house to keep warm. They only need an opening as big as their nose to squeeze through. Get rid of what they are feeding on and they will go away.”
It was one of those moments when I heard God speaking with the accent of a pest control expert.
Get rid of what they are feeding on and they will go away.
I said this to someone else yesterday and heard God’s voice in my own.
Get rid of what discouragement is feeding on and it will go away.
What’s it feeding on? Words that don’t include His perspective. I call them Helena Handbasket speeches. Sometimes I listen to them and sometimes I make them myself.
“But the situation looks dire, Lord.”
“Come up here and see the big picture,” He says.
“How? I mean really. HOW?”
This morning I woke from a dream about friends who were were shutting down a coffee shop kind of place. Business was too slow. A handicapped person came in looking for someone to talk to, then a shy older woman, then a child who offered to share her candy with the lady. All the while the shop was being readied for closure with chairs stacked on tables being pushed against the wall.
They made one more pot of free coffee for the people who had wandered in. While they set a couple of chairs back at a table more people showed up. They needed more tables and opened another section. More and more people were suddenly there. The thing they all seemed to have in common was loneliness and feeling like they didn’t belong anywhere and were out of place in time. Some even wore clothes from earlier decades.
The child sharing her candy had only meant to give it to one person, but it was passed around in a bowl and like the fish and barley loaves the disciples saw multiply as they passed baskets around, the candy in the dollar store crystal dish never ran out.
I woke up with a song in my head that I never paid much attention to before. I didn’t know more words than I needed to google it. A Buddy Holly song? Seriously?
“Why this one, Lord?”
“You asked for my perspective.”
These Helena Handbasket voices that make dire predictions? Well yes, there is a right and left perspective, neither of which can offer solutions, but there is also an up and down axis. And that is a game changer.
At one point in the dream a man who had been a addict ran out into the street from the now busy cafe and said, “People say change is not possible. I tell you it is! I am free and more people are being set free every day!”