I am done and I quit.
Things have been quiet over here lately, largely because I had no creativity left. Life has been busy and if you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I’ve been desperately getting through some books.
I lost my creativity and got busy. I also walked through a season of discouragement which took its toll.
We all find ourselves discouraged from time to time. Unfortunately, it’s normal. However, paired with a prolonged sense of circumstantial isolation, it becomes harder to intercept discouragement. One minute I was enthusiastically running towards all things social justice, faith and travel, and the next? You guessed it. I felt like my small impact just wasn’t making any change. I also found myself being confronted by heavy faith questions I didn’t have answers to.
It took me a while to recognise all of this as discouragement. In the moment, confusion wins and disguises the discouragement as something ordinary or acceptable. Yet when we label it, it becomes easier to intercept. Naming discouragement as discouragement frees us to reject it and press onwards.
Hence, I took some time to have healthy conversations with friends and mentors. I read books and found some good encouraging answers to my questions. I travelled to see some of my dearest friends who showered me with joy and strengthened me with encouragement.
Looking back, I can easily see so much good in the past season. Life has been so full! However, continuous discouragement can lead to a cycle of negative thinking and cynicism. I became so cynical.
Cynicism is the dangerous cycle of doubt and expectation of disappointment. It’s believing that everyone and everything is unfair or just out to get you.
I stopped looking forward to things. Suddenly I refused make plans and believe that restrictions would really be lifted. I became a negative thinker. Thoughts such as, ‘I don’t deserve this,’ or, ‘life wasn’t supposed to be like this,’ often revolve in a cynical thought cycle.
Cynicism, based on disillusionment, is draining and toxic. I quit.
Jennie Allen, wrote a brilliant book on interrupting various negative thinking cycles including cynicism. This is one of the books I’ve been busy reading and I recommend it to anyone looking for a practical yet biblical book on negative thought spirals! Find it here.
Cynicism causes us to look for things to complain about. “The opposite of cynicism is looking for reasons to give thanks.” (Jennie Allen)
I quit believing that I am a victim. I quit being discouraged. It’s time to believe that every circumstance contains an opportunity to experience goodness. I choose to rejoice. I choose to be encouraged.
Life is so full of blessings. Every day gives us chance to experience joy, wonder and fun. If we allow ourselves to stay curious and optimistic, we can truly make the most of our circumstances.
Choosing to think, ‘my circumstances are an opportunity to experience goodness’ in place of self-pity, positions us to be more thankful, more forgiving and ultimately joyful.
So, here I am, choosing to share some light today. Having worked through the cynicism and found myself in a joyful place once more, I encourage you all to remain thankful. I encourage you to quit discouragement by reaching out to others.
I had been believing for a long time, that everything was against me and the only way to thrive, was to forcefully survive. The truth? People, places and institutions often want to elevate, come alongside and help us!
There is however one disclaimer. Circumstances can be hard and I’m not saying that anyone in hardship is cynical or should just ‘get over it with some positive mantras.’ Nor am I saying that you have to settle with your circumstance.
If you’re having a hard time, reach out for help and do something about it whether that means seeking professional help or taking action.
However, as Jennie Allen so wonderfully puts it, ‘we don’t have to like our circumstances, but we can choose to look for the unexpected gifts they may bring.’ Reach out but also be open minded to the unexpected blessings.
For more book reviews, head to the Coffee Time tag. I’m hoping to start this back up, especially now that I’ve been reading more.