by LESLIE SPEAS
Are there things happening in your life that are resulting in feelings of discouragement? Do you sometimes feel like you should throw in the towel? I think we have all felt drained and alone at one time or another. I looked up the definition to shed a little more light on the concept of discouragement. It means “to deprive of confidence, hope or spirit; dishearten, daunt.”
If I’m being honest, I have felt discouraged a lot lately. I have felt God leading me to do certain things – and I have taken the leap and done them (after a little bit of pushing back). I published my second book, From Hot Mess to God’s Best. My publisher required me to purchase a lot of them as part of my contract, and I still have a LOT which has been discouraging. In addition, God has led me to start an HR Consulting Firm, and things are moving slower than I’d like. I know that it’s in God’s timing, but I can’t help but feel a little impatient – and yes, discouraged. But, I am going to keep at it, with the hopes that it will grow.
We are in good company as it relates to feeling discouraged. I’m pretty sure that most of the people in the Bible felt discouraged at one time or another. Here are a few examples:
- Job felt discouraged because his wife and friends didn’t get it. Instead of supporting him, they ended up piling shame and blame on him for his afflictions.
- The disciples felt discouraged when Jesus was crucified (before the resurrection) as they had put their hope in him to redeem Israel (Luke 29).
- Peter felt discouraged with himself when he denied Jesus – not once or twice but three times (John 18)!
Here are 3 strategies to help you overcome feelings of discouragement:
- Fill your mind with Scripture.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
“Fear not, I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Feel better? These Scriptures have brought me comfort and encouragement.
- Train yourself to “see” life out of two lenses at the same time.
In Romans 12:2. the apostle, Paul, counsels us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. I believe that Paul is telling us that our mind needs to be trained to think differently than we may have in the past. Part of this training involves seeing both the temporal (life is hard) and the eternal (God has a purpose for this) at the same time.
Paul shares more about the temporal pain when he says he is hard-pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted and struck down. Yet, he does not become crushed, filled with despair, abandoned or destroyed because he firmly fixed the eternal perspective on things above (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). Paul didn’t allow discouragement to win because he knew that God’s purposes were being worked out.
- Have faith in God and his timing
We have to remember to have faith and that things will happen in God’s time. It’s not in our abilities to foresee when and how God will work things out.
Is there anything in your life that is making you feel discouraged?
What will you do to help you overcome these feelings and persevere?