Don’t Get Discouraged!

Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued a Public Health Advisory stating that more Americans should be prepared to help victims suffering from opioid overdose by routinely carrying the drug Naloxone, a drug known to reverse the affects of opioids. In 2016, 42,249 people died from opioid overdose. That represents 119 people dying a very preventable death each day. What a heart breaking reality we are facing in America.

This opioid epidemic brings to my mind how powerful these drugs are at discouraging the human spirit to live and overcome obstacles. Addiction overrides our natural instinct to avoid things that will harm us. More of the drug is taken knowing that it may even cause death. Addicts can get to the place where their desire for the drug is so strong they get discouraged and give up hope to ever be freed. In this state of mind many just resign themselves to being lifetime addicts. And some may indeed intentionally overdose in exhaustion from the struggle.

The temptation to give up a difficult struggle is real. Whether it is a difficult marriage, a challenging class, a disabling illness, an impossible child – the temptation to quit and give up is an obvious option. When you are bombarded with heavy expectations that continue to be unmet there is always a temptation to give up and quit in an effort to remove the stress caused by the expectation.

The temptation to quit when things are hard and difficult is really a natural response to pain. Pain is a sensation that lets you know something is not right and may possibly be harmful for you. Homeostasis is that stable state all organisms and systems tend to seek that is self-preserving and safe. It is that normal relaxed status quo that makes up our comfort zone. When this comfort is disturbed all systems are activated to get things back to normal. This is why it is so hard to go to the gym and to keep exercising when it starts to hurt. That is why criticism often leads to defensiveness. The temptation to quit is often unbearable and irresistible because it feels like you are going to die. In order to keep from quitting one must overcome the urge with contrasting thoughts that say you are not going to die.

The old adage “no pain, no gain!” brings to my mind the picture of someone struggling to lift that last rep on the bench press. You’re not going to die but it sure feels like it. In these situations you must push through through the pain to reach your goals. In this sense, ignoring the pain is mostly a good thing.

But to avoid personal damage, that “you’re not going to die” thought should be truth based. It is very easy for us to slip into denial to convince

ourselves that what we are doing is not going to cause us harm when in actuality it will. Engaging in a forbidden relationship is an example of fooling oneself to think what they are doing will cause no harm. It is painful to resist lustful and infatuated feelings. But the truth that not resisting these emotions will ultimately cause you more harm must prevail. The truth, unfortunately, is often misaligned by popular opinion and behavior. Ignoring it though, leads to the demise of many.

Opioid overdose, the most popular preventable cause of death today, is often an example of being in denial about the truth that this thing will kill you. The pain of withdrawal really is the best option. Instead of the addict saying to themselves “I’ll be alright!”, “I can handle it.” or in despair “This is overwhelming me!”, they should say “No matter how strong my desire for this drug it is not necessary for my survival. This is dangerous behavior that I must stop. I must avoid this behavior no matter how difficult in order to avoid more pain and pain to my loved ones.”

If you are going through a tough time right now let me encourage you to consider the source of that pain and whether the pain means quit doing what you are doing or keep pushing through it. It is very important to get wise counsel when facing this decision. Your counsel can make the difference between failure or success.

Whatever difficulties you are facing, setbacks you have experienced or mistakes you have made, don’t forget that God is with you. He will help you make it through this challenge. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t give up. Keep trying! You may be just one strike away till the tree you have been banging on falls. Remember Thomas Edison’s light bulb worked on the one thousand and first attempt. You can do it!


Are you doing the right things in your marriage? Sizzle Mindset: Seven Secrets to Keep the Passion Alive in Your Marriage has been written to encourage couples to focus on what really matters to keep things sizzling hot in their marriage.

Ready to take your marriage to the next level? The How to Stop Arguing and Build a Happy Marriage Course will take you there.

Planning a Wedding or Planning a Marriage?

A good friend of mine is getting married and told his fiance in the midst of their wedding planning to be careful in all of her wedding planning to not forget about the marriage planning. It is true that so much money is spent and attention given to the wedding but very little money is spent and attention given to the developing marriage. Couples who take the time to invest in their marital relationship are very wise. You invest in your marriage by getting premarital counseling, reading books, and being sure that the lines of communication stay open. You also invest in your marriage by being mindful of how your relationship is developing before you get married. When two homes are coming together there are so many variables that are a part of the equation that must be considered. Being careful to ensure that you are in agreement at every stage is essential. Many times one individual may begin to feel like he/she is making all the concessions and giving in to the other. The pressures that arise in preparing for a wedding can be intense and very confusing. Take the time to step back to discuss what’s happening along the way. Discuss your relationships with family and friends, finances, sexual expectations, religion, children and parenting, social expectations, personality differences, time together, love languages, anger management, infidelity, diet and exercise, dress, travel, careers, political, favorite interests, habits, character, and dreams to name a few. Being able to talk through these issues before you actually tie the knot is very helpful to planning a marriage.

A big mistake couples make is making too many marital commitments prior to the marriage. Many couples get involved financially and sexually prior to tying the knot. This is like giving the contractor money without a contract and paying for the job before he finishes. It may work out OK but it is not a best practice. You are taking a BIG risk. Take the time to get to know your potential suitor before you make such a major commitment like marriage. Get to know their family and friends. If you get involved in marital affairs prematurely it may become very difficult to back out when you realize this is not good for you. Patience is a virtue in any contractual deal. Especially one that is so involving like a lifelong commitment as marriage.

Neil Clark Warren wrote a book entitled Two Dates or Less where he describes the process of determining if someone is good for you within two dates. This is a phenomenal concept because it keeps you from making commitments to the wrong one. Too many people marry someone they really aren’t in love with. They settle simply because they have been together so long. Don’t wast your time dating someone who is not a perfect fit for you. No I didn’t say is perfect. Because nobody is perfect. But perfect for you. We share a lot in common and disagree about very little. We are attracted to each other and enjoy being together. We are not entangled in other things that would take away from our harmony with one another. This is a great time for us to get together. All of these are considerations when determining a perfect fit.

I love to compare selecting a mate to picking out a pair of shoes. Make sure they fit and you pay for them before you leave the store. Make sure before you make marital commitments that you have done your homework and made preparation before you jump into marriage. If you don’t you may find yourself having a wonderful wedding but a miserable marriage.