Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in thou God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. Psalm 42:11 KJV
I was scrolling through my Twitter feed today, and all I saw was one horrible news story after the next. Some days it seems like even though I am following as many faith-based accounts as I am news accounts, there seems to be more bad news than good. Trying to stay positive in a world that seems to feed off of negativity can be daunting, overwhelming and down right discouraging. It can leaving you praying prayers like the Psalmist did in Psalm 43.
1. a loss of confidence or enthusiasm; dispiritedness.
Discouragement comes in many forms. From tragic news stories to getting a bad grade on an exam. Have you ever applied for job and weren’t selected? Have you ever auditioned for a role and it was given to some one else? Have you ever sent in a college application only to receive a rejection letter after months of
pulling out your hair and biting all of your nails down to the bone patiently awaiting a response? Has anyone ever hurt you, let you down, or disappointed you? Have you ever prayed for an outcome that didn’t come to pass? Have you ever invested your whole heart, blood, sweat, and tears into something only for it to fail? Then, you have probably been discouraged. And you are not alone.
A discouraged person feels like there is no hope. Every bit of motivation is drained from their very being. Every color shows only grey and every song is a lamentation. Every hope and dream seemingly scattered in unrepairable shards that cut into the soul and heart. The appetite for both natural and spiritual things becomes weaker and weaker until it is all together gone. This person feel trapped in what may seem like a dark prison cell with no way out. I know this because this person was me. And I am living proof that there is a way out.
There are times when it seems like everything is against us and nothing is going as planned. We have all, at times, felt like we didn’t possess the right amount of ability, or charisma, or spiritual depth to be successful at our calling. Sometimes the people around us bring discouragement into our lives. It’s important to surround yourself with people who are encouraging and those will lift you up when you are down. But even choosing your company wisely is not a sure-fire way to avoid discouragement. Even our own relatives are not exempt from being a source of discouragement.
And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. Genesis 37:5
The Bible is very candid about the struggles and difficulties of this life for both believers and unbelievers. In Matthew chapter 5, Jesus says “For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.”(NLT) So, we shouldn’t be surprised when we find ourselves feeling discouraged. However, if you know God and believe on His word, you are not bound to remain walking in the shackles of discouragement.
- Elijah was discouraged. (1Kings 19)
- Job was discouraged. (Job 3)
- Jerimiah was discouraged. (Lamentations 3)
Here are some things you can do to defeat your discouragement.
Encourage yourself to hope in God.
The Psalmist encourages his own soul by reminding himself to hope in God. We can’t always rely on others to encourage us when we are feeling down. There will come a time when we must encourage ourselves in the Lord. Everything turns around when we dare to hope!
I cry out, “My splendor is gone!
Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!”
The thought of my suffering and homelessness
is bitter beyond words.
I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!” Lamentations 3:18-24 NLT
Read the Word of God and remember His promises.
Our feelings can be very deceptive. They change with the wind and are not a reliable in terms of our perception of reality. The only thing that we should look to is the Word. It never changes and it is eternal.
Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. Luke 21:33 KJV
Lift up your eyes.
When discouragement comes, the natural thing to do is focus on ourselves. However, in our lowest moments, we can be the biggest blessing to someone in need. Reach out to someone who may need encouraging and you may find that while pouring yourself out, He fills you with even more strength.
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. II Corinthians 1:4 NLT
The phrase “count your blessings” seems cliché, but it is truly the best way to peace and strength. Giving thanks to God for what you do have will cause what you don’t to pale in comparison. The bible says in EVERY THING to give thanks. Every situation, good or bad, we should thank the Lord Jesus because we know that ALL things work together for our good.
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Thessalonians 5:18
One of my favorite examples of praise in the midst of discouraging situations is found the book of Habakkuk chapter 3.
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength! (NLT)
How do you deal with discouragement? No one is immune from feeling discouraged. From the super spiritual to the atheist, we are all subject to feeling down. The important thing is not how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get back up. Don’t allow discouragement to keep you out of your rightful place in God. He has purpose for you and as long as you have breath in your body, it’s NOT OVER.