Discouragement. It’s like a wet blanket. It’s uncomfortable, slows you down. You want to get rid of it as soon as possible. And I think each of us have to struggle with some level of discouragement. Now I can’t today give you an easy answer to avoid discouragement. Sometimes a negative circumstance in life causes the discouragement. Sometimes we don’t even know why? You work hard. You do your best – things don’t work out. You think? Well, what happened?
All the planning in the world can come to a grinding halt when a huge obstacle comes along. Where did that come from? You’re not prepared. Suddenly you’re fearful. A lack of confidence. You feel alone. The word discouragement literally means without courage.
Somehow we lose that fighting edge to keep going, Unable to face the challenge of each day and we lose heart, we think – is it worth the effort? One thing we do need I think are people we call special encouragers – people who step into our lives and lend a listening ear that can give you what you need. At that time. Let them in to your private world and share how you’re really getting on.
Most people, I think, are only too happy to support you, so don’t let the negativity stay around too long.
Have you taken time to explore why you feel this way? Why you feel discouraged? Why don’t you make a list of the reasons you might feel defeated? And I think it’s important because you can’t take control of something you don’t understand. What is the source of your discouragement?
Have you let yourself down? Try to look at the bigger picture of your life. Circumstance. It’s about gaining perspective. Maybe you’re tired, physically exhausted. Maybe you need a holiday. It was the famous French painter Vincent van Gogh, who said, “in spite of everything, I will rise again. I’ll take up my pencil, which I’ve forsaken in my great discouragement, and I’ll go on with my drawing.”
Now I know that discouragement comes when you try to do all the right things and poor results occur. It’s not what you intended happening. Often during these sad times, we look inwards at the problem and the frustration, but here’s a better solution.
Look upwards to a God who has not abandoned you. He’s with us. He accompanies us in the present tense. God. Now can you imagine the difference it would make to your outlook? If you consciously remember that God is with you, it means no matter what you have to do, your heavenly Father is there. He holds your hand. He gives you courage and tenacity, strength, perseverance and remember to count your blessings. And that means to make a special effort to appreciate all the good things in your life.
One author says man only likes to count his troubles. He doesn’t calculate his happiness, and I think that’s very true. There’s no greater gift in life than to know the God of steadfast love, and that love is never more important than in the changing circumstances that we have. Our health might waver, but God’s steadfast love for us never changes. And the Bible’s got many verses to explain this truth, and we’ve got to be careful in looking at someone else and saying they’re better off than me.
You could well be wrong in your assessment of someone else’s situation.
The good news of God is that you’re not something or someone that’s been forgotten. He remembers you. He knows you.
In our bad times. I think we tend to focus on the one thing that’s bothering us. You know, it’s wrong to overlook the 99 things that are going well. Charles Stanley says that discouragement is a choice. You don’t have to remain discouraged no matter what’s going on in your life, because God’s weaving a tapestry of your life. We can’t see that pattern. But God has a plan for your life. And he won’t allow discouragement to stop his divine plan. In the Old Testament, the Psalmist was quite blunt. In his prayer. Psalm 42 – he’s almost speaking to himself. “Why am I so over wrought and disturbed? Why can’t I just hope in God? Despite all my emotions, I will believe and praise the one who saves me.” Psalm 34. The Bible says the Lord is near to those who are discouraged and saves those who have lost all hope.
And Jesus doesn’t want us to stay discouraged, he says. Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. That’s in John 14:1 – that wasn’t just a suggestion it was actually a command to take seriously. Our limited ability to solve our problems and to think of solutions is eclipsed by God’s ability to help us.
Thank you, heavenly Father. There is new hope for the discouraged. And Lord, when I do get down and discouraged, help me to look at the 99 good things instead of focusing on the one negative. And I ask this in the name of Jesus, Amen.