Personal Notes from Brett – 1st quarter 2024

Personal Notes from Brett – 1st quarter 2024

by Brett Martin

Can you think of the last time you felt discouraged or hopeless?  These emotions are real and can feel overwhelming.  As Christians, we don’t like to admit it when we experience these feelings. 

Recently I surprisingly found myself easily discouraged while engaged in an ongoing board game marathon playing Catan with one of my best friends.  After every turn, it seemed as if my friend was gaining ground towards victory, and for me, no roll of the dice produced any valuable resource to obtain or advance. To make matters worse, the robber would land on any remaining hope to pull out of my dire circumstances.  Some discouraging thoughts that ran through my head were “What’s the point of even continuing?”  “I might as well just give up!”  And “Playing this game is no fun and I am a Catan failure!” Even though this is supposed to be just a fun game, it did produce feelings and emotions of discouragement and hopelessness.  There was no vision or desire to fight through.   

This is a simple illustration, but God spoke to my heart, that this is exactly how we act in real life.  Aren’t these some of the emotions we can experience in life?  We find ourselves in sin patterns, addictions and dysfunctions and can easily surround ourselves with those who are also stuck. We justify and make all sorts of excuses. It’s easy to give up and actually settle into spiritual and emotional places of apathy, and complacency.  What’s the point of fighting and believing for anything better? We find ourselves living in these emotional and spiritual places of despair.  

I think this may be some of the excitement for starting a new year!  We actually experience hope and have a breath of fresh air to reset, set some new goals, and try with everything we have to break old habits and start new habits.  Unfortunately, often, a month into the new year, we find ourselves in the same places. When we try in our own efforts and strength, it fails. The Bible says in Psalms that “Unless the LORD builds the house, those that labor, labor in vain.” The exciting thing about faith in Christ and desiring to live for Him is that He provides us hope every day!!  The Bible says in Lamentations 3:22-23 that God’s mercies are new every day!  We have an opportunity to start fresh everyday with Him. He patiently works with us all the while drawing us to His heart, and revealing more of His purposes and plans for our lives.  

As we go into this new year with hopes, dreams, goals and aspirations, let’s remember to keep our eyes and hearts fixed and focused on God! Jesus is where joy and hope is found! And let us be encouraged and challenged that the most important thing in life is the attitudes of our hearts. 

Having a humble, thankful, and appreciative heart makes a way for God’s spirit to dwell in our lives. It not only is medicine for our souls, but it is the very salt and light that this dark world needs and searching hearts are crying out for! 

Holly and Brett Martin