Winter is my favorite time of the year. I can watch a plethora of Christmas movies. The majority of the films have the same plot, a successful business person goes to a small town, meets someone, and in two weeks, they are fall in love and save the town’s Christmas program. However, some Christmas movies have the lead facing a challenging personal situation and require a miracle to overcome the adversity. This is the plot of my favorite Christmas movie, The Preacher’s Wife. This movie was released in 1996 and had a star-studded cast, including Whitney Houston, Denzel Washington, and Courtney B Vance. Here’s a quick overview of the movie.
Rev. Henry Biggs (Courtney B. Vance) is the pastor of a small struggling African American Baptist church in a poverty-stricken neighborhood of New York City. Membership is declining, Henry is pulled in a hundred directions by his parishioners’ needs, and the church’s finances are in trouble. Henry is under intense pressure from real estate developer Joe Hamilton (Gregory Hines) to sell the church’s property so that Hamilton can build luxury condominiums on the site. Henry has also become neglectful of his wife, Julia (Whitney Houston), and his son, Jeremiah. Julia worries that her marriage is failing. Unsure that he can make a difference in his parishioners’ lives and beginning to lose his faith, Henry prays to God for help, which comes in the form of Dudley (Denzel Washington), a witty and debonair angel. Dudley tells Henry that he is an angel sent by God to help him, but Henry is deeply suspicious of Dudley. Julia, however, is instantly charmed by the handsome and unflappable angel.
Reverend Biggs was so discouraged, and he couldn’t see exactly how he was even making a difference within his church, community, or family. He was ready to give up on his calling of being a pastor. Have you ever been there before? Feeling discouraged because your life is not exactly where you want it to be. You keep trying different business ventures, but nothing is taking off the way you expected. You are in college, and you can’t decide on your major because you haven’t figured out what you want to do with your life. You have a desire to be married, but there are no suitors present. You believe God has a plan for your life, but you do not see it manifest.
For Reverend Biggs, by the end of the movie, he realized that he needed three things to remain faithful to his dream, hope, love, and a belief that “we” (the congregation) could make a difference. Before this understanding, Reverend Biggs thought he was solely responsible for making the change.
This maybe one of the most challenging seasons of your life. You are trying to do the right thing, but it’s not working. You may not see a breakthrough coming any time soon. You are encompassed with feelings of disappointment, frustration, and discouragement. God has chosen you to fulfill the dream that he has placed inside of you. He knew you were going to struggle, make mistakes, and even want to give up. He loves you and will guide you through these challenging moments. Keep seeking God and allow Him to heal your wounded heart with his love.
2020 has thrown us all for a loop and has left most of us discouraged, frustrated, and disappointed. The question remains, how do you stay faithful to your dream when you are feeling discouraged? Here are four practical steps for remaining faithful to your dream when you are discouraged.
1. Encourage Yourself. When you have lost your confidence, enthusiasm, and you’re disheartened, take the time to affirm who you are, your capabilities, and your purpose. Speak the Word of God over your life when your faith is being tested by disappointment. By encouraging yourself, you remove the negative thoughts introducing positive thoughts of hope, joy, peace, and truth. It is essential to believe in yourself. Believing in yourself and having God’s love on the inside gives you the ability to do impossible things. A song says, “Sometimes you have to encourage yourself, sometimes you have to speak victory during the test. No matter how you feel, speak the Word over your life, and you will be healed. Speak over yourself and encourage yourself in the Lord.” It is ok to be your own cheerleader. Don’t give up; go all the way; you’re almost there.
2. Reorganize your priorities. How much time and energy are you putting into fulfilling your dream? Are you finding yourself spending more time being non-productive or waiting until the last minute to complete tasks? Make a list of all of your responsibilities (family, business, school, and personal). From that list, assign the amount of time you spend on each thing. Reorganize the list from most important to least important. Then use your calendar to create a realistic schedule for fulfilling some of the tasks. When you start completing small tasks relevant to your dream will help increase your confidence. It is also important to make sure you are incorporating time for self-care.
3. Learn from your losses and setbacks. The failures and setbacks we experience can be a leading cause of the disappointment, frustration, or discouragement you feel. Allow yourself enough time to process your feelings. Your emotions are valid and deserve to be validated. I challenge you to change your perspective and see your shortcoming as a lesson. With this new perspective, write down the lessons you learned from the particular failure or setback. Ask yourself, “What would have happened if I had done B instead of A?” Map out every alternative strategy, and follow each possible course of action through hypothetically to see how it could have impacted the outcome. Lastly, create a plan for what you would do differently in each situation. When you learn from your failures or setbacks, you are gaining the courage to try again.
4. Ask for help. You are not called to fulfill your purpose alone. Asking for help allows you to partner with others who have expertise in various areas to help you reach your goal faster and effectively. It also enables you to decrease your stress levels, increases your confidence and gratitude, creates a growth mindset and an opportunity for learning and development. There are people who believe in what you are doing and are waiting to help you. Do not let past disappointments keep you from reaching your full potential. You can do it.
Remaining faithful to your dreams when you are discouraged can seem harsh, but you can navigate that challenging place. I want you to know that you are not alone. Jesus is ordering each one of your steps.
· Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
· Ps. 23: 4-5 AMP says, “Even though I walk through the [sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You have anointed and refreshed my head with oil; My cup overflows.
· Phil. 4:13 AMP says, “I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]
As we embark We can encounter various circumstances that can cause frustration, disappointment, and discouragement in fulfilling our dreams. By remaining faithful to our goals, we empower ourselves to live out our purpose in life. Your dream, purpose, or goals are not too lofty; you can complete them.
I firmly believe that you are capable of being victorious! Keep going; you can do it!