Some Secrets for Staying Encouraged (Boot Camp for Creators & Dreamers 20.4)

A “Ziklag” (as previously discussed) is an overwhelming challenge or problem, a daunting set of circumstances, an impossible situation, or any major storm we may face in life. “Ziklag” events also include slow-burn situations that have been building for months or years — like the proverbial “last straw that breaks the camel’s back.” We creators and dreamers may eventually face just such a crisis: another rejection, a closed door, a setback, a betrayal, or simply a lack of support and encouragement from the people we were counting on the most.

As discussed in our last session, we should respond to these events the way David did, who “encouraged himself in the Lord” and came through his “Ziklag” victorious (1 Samuel 30:6)

Here are some practical, Biblically-based and time-tested tips to help creators and dreamers stay encouraged while they’re waiting upon the Lord for the answer to a prayer; for a divine connection; for a door to open; for a “Barnabas” (a friend and facilitator, as in Acts 9:26-31); for their breakthrough; and ultimately, the realization of their hopes and dreams. Most of these were previously discussed in other Boot Camp sessions, but because staying encouraged is so important, we want to review them and admonish readers to implement them.

  • Be a “first responder” (like King David), and always run to God in the midst of a storm — not away from Him. Immediately connect with the source of strength and inspiration. Don’t panic and disconnect.

We can also minimize the slow-burn items before they explode into Ziklag events:

  • When it comes to the pursuit of goals and dreams, don’t overdo it. Stop once in awhile to smell the roses! (We mean this both literally and figuratively!) Continue to pursue your dreams but make frequent stops to take in all the wonderful sights, sounds, and people you encounter along the journey! Don’t let life pass you by as one big blur!

When you find yourself getting down and mopey, it’s time to refocus:

  • Get outdoors and enjoy God’s creation. Go for a walk in the park or on the beach. Find a nature trail. Take in a sunset (or a sunrise)! “A walk a day keeps the gloomies away!” (Norman Vincent Peale)

  • When you find yourself constantly in “fight mode” — then you’re ready for some much needed R&R.  Get out and do something fun. Change your routine! Give your goals a rest and go shopping. Have an ice cream cone — with sprinkles!  Curl up with a good book or magazine and even take a nap!
  • Think about how far you’ve come, not how far you’ve still to go; what you’ve accomplished, not what you’ve yet to achieve. Above all, start focusing on what you have, not what you want. Count your blessings:  if you enjoy good health, have running hot water, a roof over your head, something good to eat, eyes and ears to take in all the beauty in life, and loved ones with whom you can share these things, then you are indeed successful and blessed.

Here are the most important spiritual steps:

  • Train your mind to think like a “giant-killer” and a history-maker. “For as [a person] thinks within himself, so he is [in attitude and behavior].” (Proverbs 23:7 NASB) In other words, you are what you think. In fact, our thoughts affect everything. They shape our attitude (how we view life) and determine how our day will go — and how we’ll handle any challenging situations that arise (including those daunting “Ziklag” events).

Will you be a victor or victim? Well, what do you think? No, literally, what’s in your head?

Our thoughts and resultant attitudes will determine our quality of life. They are the deciding factors between success and failure, between reaching our goals and realizing our dreams … or NOT!

So, make up your mind! (Pun intended.) Decide whether you will live in victory or defeat. This is easier said than done, of course. Living in fear and defeat comes natural to most people, because they never do anything to change their faithless, hopeless, uninspired, negative, pessimistic, “what-can-go-wrong-will-go-wrong” way of thinking.

On the other hand, having the right mindset — a faith-filled, positive, optimistic, “I-can-do-all-things-through-Christ” attitude (Philippians 4:13) — requires training, discipline, and a “proper diet”! Remember the saying, “Garbage in, garbage out”? We must be careful (and mindful) of what we feed our brains, which is why the Apostle Paul states, “Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above….” (Colossians 3:2 AMP)

  • It’s essential for creators and dreamers (that’s everyone, really) to learn to replace any naturally-occurring negative and discouraging thoughts with positive and uplifting ones. The best way to do this is to get into God’s Word, the Handbook for Life, the Instruction Manual for Overcomers, the greatest source of inspiration and encouragement on the entire planet! (See Boot Camp sessions 8 and 9.)

Hyperbole? King David, the quintessential giant-killer and history-maker frequently speaks of the inherent power of God’s Word. In the longest psalm in the Bible, David describes the miracle-working wonders of God’s principles, precepts, and wisdom:

“Your word is like a lamp that guides my steps, a light that shows the path I should take.” (Psalm 119:105 ERV)

“Establish my footsteps in [the way of] Your Word; Do not let any human weakness have power over me….” (Psalm 119:133 AMP)

“You are my hiding place and my shield. My hope is based on Your Word.” (Psalm 119:114 NOG)

“How I love your instruction! It is my meditation all day long.” (Psalm 119:97 CSB)

“I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have revived me and given me life.” (Psalm 119:93 AMP)

Wow! Precious stuff, right? Which is why the psalmist also declares, “Your word I have treasured and stored in my heart, That I may not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11 AMP)

Of course, David didn’t have the full resources to which we have access. He had only a large portion of the Old Testament, the writings that foreshadow the coming of the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus). We’re blessed with an extra helping of God’s Word, the New Testament. And for
the record, it’s all one complete narrative about the nature of God and His creation and ultimate salvation of humankind. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness….” (2 Timothy 3:16 KJ21)

  • In order to stay encouraged, read and study God’s Word, the Bible, each and everyday. Meditate on it. Memorize it. Quote it and claim its promises. “Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s Word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].” (Philippians 4:8 AMP)

Doing this is how we flush out the negative, stinking thinking of failure and defeat. It’s also the surest way to develop the mind of a winner, and be victorious in any “Ziklag” event. It’s the key to pursuing and realizing your dreams, and sticking to your creative endeavors — even when the going gets rough!

“This Book of the Law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein. For then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Joshua 1:8 KJ21)

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