October 26, 2011

Dealing With Discouragement

What do you do with discouragement?

I guess you have several options. Like the most commonly chosen coping method: pretending that "Everything's fine". We tell ourselves to just not think about it and - for heaven's sake - don't let anyone else know that we're feeling beaten down and weary. Of course there's also the classic "If my day (week...month...) is going to suck, then your's is going to suck, too!" mentality. There's the tendency from some to evidently believe that their misery really does need some company. LOTS of company! We all handle it differently. There's no right-or-wrong textbook blueprint: What To Do When You're Discouraged. [If there is, please pass it along!] That said, I see God's Word give us some very clear instruction and encouragement of how we're to handle times like this - and some evidence as to why we wind up feeling the way we do when discouragement appears to be eating away at our soul. So here are a few words I've reminded myself of today (as I've felt this way for a few days) that might encourage you as well:

We aren't created to face it ALONE.
In Galatians 6:2, the Apostle Paul says, "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." (ESV) The NLT puts it this way: "Share each other's troubles and problems...." Again, even though you don't want to "bother anyone else with your problems", that's exactly what you're supposed to do! We are called to carry the weight with each other. To pray for each other. To listen. Don't think you can lock it away. Discouragement knows how to pick the lock! [For more, see Romans 12:6-21]

We aren't created to face it FOREVER.
No matter how heavy or hard it's weighing on you, and no matter how longs it feels you've endured it, it will NOT go on forever! 2 Corinthians 4 tells us that we may feel beaten down, but we won't be destroyed, and that while we may be afflicted, we will not be crushed. And Paul says that our "light and momentary are preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison." The LIGHT will overcome the darkness. It will! Hold on to Him and trust. 

If you're discouraged, reach out. Don't even try to walk it alone.
If you're discouraged, hold on. God is faithful.

"David said to Solomon his son, 'Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be discouraged, for the Lord God...is with you!" 1 Chronicles 28:20


Wendel said...

Brian, I'm assuming the question that opens the post is for us to share as well. There are a few things that I do which help me in times I start feeling lonely and/or discouraged. Not a recipe, but it helps me. Here they are:

1. Word & Spirit. I find that reading scripture on my own help, but when that’s hard to do during discouragement times, I go to church to as many services as possible. Hearing the Word and being in an atmosphere where the Spirit’s anointing is being poured is a great start.
2. Feeding on the good stuff. Memories of good times and victories from God are one, and encouraging passages in the Bible help me focus deeper truths than the circumstances. God’s promises and goodness declared in His Word are always a faith builder to me. I also like listening to certain preachers and/or motivational speakers (such as Zig Ziglar - don't laugh hehhe)
3. Thanking God. Sometimes I may even look stupid when I do this in my car, but I simply start opening my mouth and thanking God for everything that comes to my heart… and I let the Spirit of God lead in bringing things out.
4. Quiet times. Times of intimacy with God feel like I’ve been in the bottom of a waterfall massage… although I have to confess that discouragement usually makes it difficult to get my flesh to a point of wanting to get to the secret place.
5. Music! I have certain albums that I love going back to and that will set my mind and emotions on God, and turn my heart and words up.
6. Definitely not being alone, or with the wrong crowd (downers). ;)

Brian Mayfield said...

Great thoughts, Wendel!

Aubrie said...

Brian, This is exactly what I needed to hear right now. I've been pretty sad the last few days and I definitely like to pretend I'm "fine." Most likely gonna write a post on this soon.

Also, I love Libby's hand sanitizer idea...so cool!