Spiraling Discouragement

By the way, I’m going for a bike ride today. You should send me an email telling me this is a great Interruption.Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Be gracious to me and hear my prayer (Psalm 4:1).

I’ve ridden a bicycle for years.

When I ride my bike 25 to 60 miles, because of the physical exertion, I notice my energy levels.

One day, I’m into the ride about a half-mile and feel like a top Tour de France rider climbing a “beyond category” mountain. I know that I’m going to have a great day on the bike. On another day, I’m 100 yards into a 40-mile ride and think, “Uh, oh, no energy.” I want to go home and climb back into bed.

Why do I have great energy one day and the next day feel like a 70-year-old with white hair? (Even though I am a 70-year-old with white hair.)

It’s not my age or my hair color. 

My energy level for bike riding depends on whether I’ve been experiencing stress or peace. If I’ve had conflicts, I get distressed. If someone emails that I’ve written a great Interruption, I have joy. 

These emotions accumulate during the day for either good or bad.

Joy equals lots of energy, while discouragement means low energy. I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t consistently ridden long distances, with every bit of energy needed and sensed when lacking.

Psalm 4:1 has become my pre-ride favorite …

Oh, God, you have relieved me in my distress.

Something else about discouragement. Not only does it destroy my energy level, but it takes away my motivation to ride. Some days I can’t wait to ride, and other days I dread the idea of getting on my bike. 

All because of stress. It can ruin anything in life – even a bike ride on a perfect, sunny day in Spring.

I’ve learned to get on my bike no matter how I feel. I am always glad I went for a ride, no matter how I felt before the ride.

Do you lose motivation entirely from discouragement? Do you stop getting on the bike and just about everything else? 

Discouragement is a slow spiral downward, becoming less and less motivated – impacting exercise, morning devotions, and even going to dinner with friends.

Getting on my bike, even if it’s raining, has become a parable for my soul. 

I know that I must ride or face the consequences of letting discouragement win. 

Perhaps I’m making too much of a simple bike ride (and I don’t want to minimize the suffering of those with chronic depression), it’s just that cycling has been my go-to place for discerning my discouragement and finding peace again. 

I find myself quoting Psalm 4:7 on bad days of cycling … 

You have put gladness in my heart, more than when their grain and new wine abound. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *