Discouragement is a part of life.
As long as we are alive and breathing we will all struggle with discouragement from time to time. We all get discouraged. Even me.
Even you? But you are a Pastor. Yes and Moses was a great deliverer. David was a King. And Jesus (see the Garden of Gethsemane) was the sinless Son of God? Even the Apostle Paul struggled with it…He wrote to the church at Corinth: “We were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.” (2 Cor 1:8). Do you see where I am going with this? It doesn’t matter who we are. We all go through it.
It was only recently that I passed through a time of intense discouragement. I had just turned 40 and instead of celebrating a great milestone and being grateful to God for my family and the gift of life, all I could do was think about what I haven’t accomplished or all of the mistakes that I made in the past.
And it didn’t stop there. I questioned God. I compared myself to others who were the same age as me. I moped around the house and snapped at my family. I felt like a failure. It started as a small seed that grew to choke out my joy.
Discouragement basically means to be disheartened. The dictionary describes discouragement as a loss of confidence, enthusiasm, or even hope. And it sets in for a number of reasons…disapproval, rejection, guilt, regret, financial struggle, missed opportunities, a lengthy wait, a sense of failure or underachievement…and the list could go on and on.
What we must understand is that discouragement is one of the enemy’s favorite weapons to use against us. And unfortunately at times it can be his most effective. This is because giving into discouragement hurts our hearts and in turn prevents us from moving forward in boldness and confidence. Discouragement is a very real threat to our potential.
But there is hope! Discouragement doesn’t have to get the best of us. Because while the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy, there is one greater than the enemy who promises to give us life more abundantly. (John 10:10)
So what did I eventually do to get past my recent bout with discouragement? What I should’ve have done from the very start of it . The same thing that King David did when he started to get depressed. In Psalms 42:6 King David writes these words “My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you” (Psalms 42:6) That’s right. The best defense that we have against discouragement? Remembering God.
So here are a few quick things to remember about God that will help you overcome discouragement when it shows up:
- Remember that God is always with you: This may be hard to believe when all hell is breaking loose. But He guarantees us in His word that he will always be with us. (Deut. 31:8). You can be confident that He is right there for you to turn to when things get difficult. When discouragement sets in make it a point to just stop and focus on Him.
- Remember what God has already done. We too often fail to realize that as bad as it seems, that God is the one responsible for bringing us this far. Everyday is a gift from Him. Whenever you are tempted to feel sorry about yourself or your situation remember that it was God whose hand was on you all along…and it could have turned out worse if He wasn’t there.
- Remember that God’s peace is available to you: One of my favorite passages in the Bible is this one: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27). Wow…here is an open invitation by God to trade your discouragement for His peace. Discouragement is of this world. But God’s peace comes directly from Him. Discouragement is NO match! So no need to hold onto it at all!
- Remember that God has a purpose for your life: Do you realize that God has a plan for your life? It was only when I came understand that God wasn’t finished with me yet, that age 40 didn’t look so bad after all. In my mind I was not where I wanted to be. But I failed to realize that it was exactly where God knew I would be. As a matter of fact, He promises in Philippians 1:6..….“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” …“But you don’t know what I’ve done”..you are right, I may not know what you’ve done, but it doesn’t matter. Even if your past has been one of pain and disappointment, God can turn that past into purpose and use you mightily for His Kingdom. Do you realize how much of a difference you can make in the lives of others just by sharing your story? God never wastes our pain.
So be encouraged today! God is with you and He holds your future in his hands. Look forward to what He has in store for your life. trust Him enough to know that your success is guaranteed!