A thought from Mother Teresa’s No Greater Love was a life changer for me: “If you want to pray better, you must pray more. God allows the failure,but He does not want the discouragement.”
I wondered, why is God OK with failure, but not with discouragement? And I realized – failure is an assessment of outcomes, which is an outward focus. (And isn’t ours to assess, by the way. Spirit shrugs Her shoulders at our judgments. We surely cannot see the big picture.) But discouragement results when we focus inward, and set our eyes on ourselves.
Put another way: God doesn’t focus on our outcomes, and neither should we. They are always and ever ONLY in Her hands, anyway. We only despair if we choose to believe WE are responsible for outcomes – in other words, if we elevate ourselves to God status.
I don’t think God is threatened, but I think she sorrows to see us so damage ourselves. Imagine a toddler trying to lift a table. It falls and injures him. As parents, we don’t feel threatened “Oh, the child tried to usurp our position.” No, we feel great sorrow that our beloved child attempted something beyond his abilities. Now suppose the child goes about for the next two decades feeling discouraged and depressed, because he ‘should have’ been able to lift the table. It’s ludicrous. But that’s what we do when we succumb to discouragement.
Antidotes to discouragement: Look outward. Help others. Pray. Be thankful. Be thankful. Did I mention, be thankful? 🙂 Don’t worry about outcomes – they aren’t ours to see or to judge.
And the way to pray better is to pray more. Thanks, Mother Teresa!