Now is the time to...
... let go of discouragement. I mean, actively let it go. Don't just make a feeble mental note that you will try to not give into discouragement. I mean, drop discouraging thoughts like they are hot potatoes, and back off from gloom like it is a bomb. Run. Flee! Do not take the poison of discouragement into your mind and soul and heart and spirit... and body. That's what discouragement is: POISON. It not only makes us unhappy in and of itself, it also causes us to sin by weakening our trust in God's complete and utter goodness, by tempting us to doubt that He will bring about plans for our good. Poison! Poison! Poison! Don't take it! It's literally suicide to give into discouraging thoughts.
Now is the time to...
... let go of self-imposed false guilt/wrongfully high expectations of ourselves. I mean actively let it go! Drop it! Drop it! Drop it! It's another time bomb from the enemy. Stop punishing yourself for all the things you think you're screwing up on/not measuring up to. Have you talked to God about what HE thinks of you, instead of listening to the devil's internal podcasts? Do you realize that NO ONE has anything - talents, gifts, etc. to give anyone unless God gives those talents and gifts, and do you realize that God's love doesn't depend on whether you have all those talents and gifts? Do you realize that even if you were comatose and unable to "do things", God would still love you - in fact, He would love you all the more tenderly because you were little and helpless and in need of His love? Do you realize that maybe God isn't calling you to do the gazillion and twelve things that you think you should be doing to serve Him/others and which you stress out over? Do you realize that God is not a hard taskmaster? That He delights in simplicity and childlikeness? That His love is not based on the Achievement-Meter?
I pray for all of us today that we will generously, appropriately, immediately respond to God's grace to accept His free gift of love. That we may bask in His total acceptance of us despite our sins. That we may realize and embrace more and more and MORE how much He loves us for who we are - His children. And that, as it says in the Old Testament, He holds us up to His cheek as a beloved infant.
Be gone, Satan, you hard taskmaster who lies and tells us we're never good enough for God or others. You are a liar. Get out of here.
Come, Holy Spirit of Truth, and reveal to each of us individually that You and the Father and Jesus see EVERYTHING we do - every tiny, even feeble movement towards obeying and loving You, and that Abba, like the true loving Daddy that He is - DELIGHTS in us, in our little baby steps toward holiness. That He delights in who we are. That He sees and understands and knows how hard it is sometimes to do His will, but that He recognizes that what seems like a tiny step toward holiness is really a giant step.
Abba, let us feel you holding us up to Your cheek like a beloved infant. Love on us, Lord. Help us to soak in Your love so much that there won't be a snowball's chance in Hades of our giving into discouragement.
Jesus, we know that "faith without works is about as useless as a screendoor on a submarine" (to quote Rich Mullins), but help us to remember that our works are a response to You loving us first.
(preaching to myself here, gang!)