Every so often I find myself battling discouragement in one form or another. Sometimes it comes from disappointment in another person’s response or behavior. Sometimes it comes from feeling I am not achieving as much as I would like to. Sometimes it is a result of the worldwide atrocities taking place. Sometimes it comes from facing tragedy. Sometimes it comes when I open another incorrect Hydro bill after multiple calls to have the situation rectified! 😉 It can happen for any number of reasons.
I don’t think it is possible to walk this earth without feeling discouragement from time to time. I know that there are multiple examples in the word of God of people who went through times of discouragement. Just for a few we have Moses, Elijah, David, Rachel and Nehemiah. Though we all will probably experience it from time to time, how we choose to deal with our discouragement is very important. If we embrace it, it can eventually lead to depression. If we ignore it, it will usually rear it’s ugly head later on. If we lash out at others because of it, we can damage relationships and trust. If we look to others to remove it, we will likely be disappointed yet again.
Though receiving kind words of appreciation do wonders to encourage us, we can’t become addicted to them to get us out of discouragement. Otherwise we can become dependent on others for our joy or happiness. I am finding that when I get discouraged I need to refocus on the big picture. I need to put my current situation in perspective. In most cases discouragement comes as a result of some unfulfilled expectation. Perhaps my expectations of another person’s appreciation of something I did didn’t quite hit the mark or my expectations of a job, situation or circumstances fell below what I was hoping for. Regardless of the cause, in order to move past the discouragement and move forward in our walk with Christ, we must first see it for what it is and then make a decision as to whether to change the situation or use it as an opportunity for spiritual growth. In some cases, we are not able to change the situation. In those cases our attitude becomes critical. It will determine whether we move past the discouragement or allow it to eventually result in depression.
In order to put the situation in perspective, we need to get into the word of God where we will see that God works ALL things together for our good. Some of those things may be difficult to deal with or cause temporary discouragement but they too shall pass. We cannot allow ourselves to slide down the slope of self pity while we wait on the change. We must guard our hearts from resting in a place of discouragement. The following scriptures have been given to us for times like this…
Philippians 4:12-13 NKJV 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Isaiah 40:28-31 NKJV 28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the Lord shall walk and not faint.
Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Romans 12:9-18 NKJV 9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
Joshua 1:9 NKJV 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Luke 18:1-8 NKJV 18 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’”6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.
Galatians 6:9 NKJV 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Discouragement, like any other negative emotion we experience, will pass as long as we don’t embrace it. If you are battling it now, take heart and know that many soldiers in God’s army have battled it before you. The key to victory is leaning into Christ and allowing the truth of the word of God to comfort you. As you turn your focus from your disappointments to Christ and His plans for you, you will begin to walk out of discouragement and walk into the purposes of your calling.
“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.” ~Corrie ten Boom