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Job got a heavy dose of it. Teresa of Avila struggled with it for years. Even Jesus knew it at times. Discouragement seems to be an intrinsic part of the human condition. Though it comes in different shapes and sizes, it touches us all, regardless of age or status.

In preparing to write this book, we looked again at the discouragement we ourselves have known:

As we pondered these experiences, we asked ourselves: What exactly is discouragement? How does it come about? What resources help us deal with it? We invite you to walk with us as we explore these questions.

We begin with the meaning of the term itself, and then consider some of the individual and communal circumstances that leave us feeling discouraged. Along the way, we share ideas drawn from both the spiritual and therapeutic traditions for coming to terms with it.

We found ourselves returning often to the love and compassion of God, the care we offer one another, and the love we give ourselves as the foundation of any success in moving through discouragement, no matter how it arises.

We hope you come away from these reflections more able to face the discouraging times in your own life, and better equipped to assist others who struggle.

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