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Overcoming Discouragement


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Dean Forrest was 33 years old and had five children when the accident happened. He would later become my father-in-law.

In 1963, Dean was involved in a very serious accident at work involving liquid ammonia. He saved two of his co-workers, but was badly burned. He spent the next two years in and out of the hospital and contracted pneumonia 18 times.

Finally, in 1965, he was told to move to a dryer climate, but the Doctor warned my future mother-in-law to be prepared. He told her that Dean would only last about 6 months, maybe a year at the most.

So in 1965, the family moved from Columbus, Ohio to Roswell, New Mexico - Dean, his wife Nancy, and five children, ages twelve and under. He had lost his job and his income. He had lost his house. His insurance was canceled. The company he worked for, Borden's Ice Cream, did agree to pay all related medical costs. However, the compensation they decided to give Dean was less $200 a month, and they never increased it.

He had lost 70% of his lung capacity and was hanging on for dear life! But, he had a determined mindset and said, “God is not going to allow me to die; I need to raise these five kids. " He did indeed raise those five kids, and in fact had two more! The doctors gave Dean six more months to live. God gave him 42 more years!

Those 42 years were not easy. During that time he got pneumonia over 60 times. He had a heart attack. He broke some bones in an accident. And, of course, he had to deal with all the other sickness stuff that everyone deals with from time to time.

When most men would have given up and quit, he never did. And the remarkable thing about Dean is that he never whined and complained or wanted people to feel sorry for him. Instead, over time, he gradually increased his physical strength and supported his family the best that he could.

Despite all the obstacles against him, and despite being tempted to give up and quit, which many would say that he had every right to do, he did not quit or give up.

For many years, I used to say that if someone is complaining about how tough things are in their life, they should go talk to my father-in-law. He was sure a great example of not complaining, but finding a way to move forward despite any obstacles.

Dean just refused to complain. And every time I visited him, he just amazed me. Once he told me, “You know, I think they're running out of ways to kill me. " Several months before he died, he told me, “You know, all things considered, I've had a good life. " Dean chose to live life.

We all get discouraged from time to time. Things are just not going right; we feel like we've tried and tried and still we cannot see a breakthrough, and so we get discouraged. And when you are discouraged, it is very, very easy to complain.

The biggest key I know in overcoming discouragement is to stop complaining. Now I know that can be difficult in those trying times, but have you ever considered that complaining is a total waste of your valuable time? It will never change your circumstances. Complaining just keeps you right where you are.

What you focus on is what you will attract into your life. This truth has been written about for centuries. It is the way the Creator designed our brains to function. A number of different names describe it. But, whatever you decide to call it, don't ignore it!

When someone complains they are focusing their thoughts and attention on what they either don't like or don't want in their life. In doing so, they may many times get sympathy from others. But how does sympathy from others help to change your situation? It doesn't! So stop throwing a “pity party!"

Have you ever noticed that for people who complain all the time, their circumstances and situations never improve? That's because all their time, energy and mental focus is on their problems. And they will continue attracting into their lives what they are focusing on.

The verse from the Bible that so many have quoted over the years states it quite clearly: “As he thinks in his heart, so is he. "

Try this simple exercise. Sit down with pen and paper and write out all the things you are thankful for. You can start by being thankful you are alive!

You woke up this morning! My father-in-law was at a point where it took all his strength and energy to just move from one chair to the next, but he was thankful that he was alive!

We all have so much to be grateful for. Make some time and just start listing all the things you have to be thankful for today! And I'm not talking about the guilt method. You know the drill; well, my life is a lot better than other people in the world, so I guess I better be thankful. No!

I'm talking about looking at your life and seeing all the things you have right now that you can be grateful for.

And then remember that complaining is just a waste of your time. It will never bring a solution, only more problems. Why? Because the Creator designed your brain so that what you focus on is what you will bring into your life.

Instead of focusing on how bad the problems are, focus your mind and attention on getting to the solutions! Isn't that what you want to bring into your life? Focus you mind and attention on finding those solutions!

Listen to one of Michael A. Verdicchio's Pep Talks at
Michael has a free newsletter called, THE PEP LETTER, at Michael is a husband, father, minister, author, and broadcaster. He has been the voice on numerous productions over the years.


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