An Antidote to Discouragement and Clouded Vision

We all know the feeling: summer is drawing to a close. Texas heat is sweltering. Back to school is looming. Q3 is halfway over. Nonprofit programs are finishing for summer and gearing up for fall. It’s the perfect storm for a leader to feel that annual nagging sense: discouragement.

Our August monthly theme is clouded vision. Leaders like you, especially leaders in the nonprofit space, face an ever-present challenge to maintain clear vision for your cause while managing the day-to-day needs that keep your organization afloat. Sometimes, when the day-to-day needs become overwhelming and life gets in the way, this vision gets muddled. We forget who we’re trying to serve. We forget the goals we’re trying to accomplish. We forget our why. This clouded vision can lead to overwhelming discouragement as we see all the tasks ahead and cannot remember why on earth we signed up for this.

I have found gratitude to be the perfect antidote for discouragement. Gratitude lists are my bread and butter. As simplistic as it sounds, when faced with overwhelming and disheartening circumstances, I’ve learned to reach for my journal and begin writing an exhaustive list of all that I am thankful for. The list contains big things – my community, my family, ample food and clean water, a fulfilling career. The list also contains little things – a morning cup of coffee, my new favorite book, a much-needed conversation, a newfound solution to a problem.

As Mother Teresa put it, “The best way to show my gratitude is to accept everything, even my problems, with joy.” It is important to acknowledge that gratitude does not negate the discouraging parts of life, nor does it offer a perfect solution. Gratitude is a mindset, where you are able to gain perspective and rejuvenation to face your difficulties head on.

This month, our prayer is that you are able to let gratitude lead you into a time of clarifying your vision and reorienting yourself to the cause that Christ has called you to. As Paul writes in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Let us know what you’re grateful for this season in the comments below.

“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”

  • Maya Angelou