Lets face it, we all encounter discouragement at some point.
It comes when our hopes are high, we are expecting something good to happen, and then we are disappointed. What we had hoped for, is not what we get.
Disappointment is the beginning of discouragement. We get discouraged when we are disappointed over and over again. And disappointment is something you are very familiar with when you or someone you love in the prison system. Appeals and motions get denied, visits get cancelled, rules change and opportunities to see each other. I consider prison the breeding ground for disappointment!
It's easy to let discouragement to settle in...
If you aren’t actively fighting for a better future, it is easy to let discouragement settle in. You will start to wonder why you even let your hope rise up again. Instead of seeing the possibilities, you tell yourself that you will never get what you hope for, so you might as well stop hoping that something good can happen. You talk yourself into believing that hoping is silly and only opens up the door for you to be hurt, look foolish, and be disappointed again. Discouragement sets in.
These feelings could be a result of the grief and sadness you feel as you walk through the days, weeks, months and years of your husband being in prison. It is OK to feel sad, to miss him, and to grieve the loss of the life you had hoped for. But you cannot let discouragement take over your life or bitterness will come in and steal your joy and your future. Discouragement has a way of sneaking into your heart and blinding you to the good in your life. When you can’t see anything positive, it is so much easier to give up on your dreams.
It is going to be difficult to stay focused on your dreams.
Don’t give up! You may get tired and want to give up. You are in the fight of your life! Do not let discouragement take over. You may be feeling the agony from living through seeing so many of your hopes dashed into a million pieces. You may even be thinking to yourself that it is no use to keep trying. Maybe you are even on the verge of giving up. Don’t lose hope, I have been there and know how to overcome discouragement.
If you are living your life in a constant state of discouragement, you are focusing on all of the disappointments in your life and missing out on all of the good stuff. You are taking all of the blessings in your life for granted. You have a lot of good in your life, too.
Make a list of everything you are grateful for in your life.
In order to move from taking things for granted and being discouraged, to being grateful and full of hope for the future, you must renew the way you think!
So, first, make a list of everything you are grateful for in your life. Everything you can think of should be on this list! People, things, opportunities, values, etc. Next, make a list of places you would find people who do NOT have the things you have on your grateful list. Finally, go encourage someone! For example, if you listed that you are thankful for food, you could have “homeless shelter, food pantry, …” on your list of where to find others who do not have what you have. Your assignment is to go and serve food, or donate food, or cook a meal for someone. If you have “family” on your list, find people who do not have family (maybe a nursing home, or a neighbor) and spend some time pouring into their life on a regular basis.
"You are in the midst of building a legacy for your family."
You will find it really hard to hang onto discouragement when you identify all of your blessings and begin to help others. The real secrets here are 1. Learn to be grateful for what you have 2. Start thinking about others and not just yourself. We all have plenty of trouble in our lives, but the good always outweighs the bad when we can see it and share it!
Be encouraged! You are in the midst of building a legacy for your family. The struggle is real; you are up for the challenge.
I am rooting for you!