Day 22/365 – Overcoming Discouragement

Becoming discouraged is something that plagues everyone. No one is immune and all sorts of things bring on discouragement. You know that feeling when you are in the middle of a project at work and things just don’t go right? How about just when you think you are on the path to some financial peace, some disaster hits and you find yourself right back into debt? Then there are the dreaded family and marriage problems…..I don’t think anything can discourage us like having major marriage or kid problems. Finally, poor health can bring on tons of discouragement.
Well friend, this has been a problem throughout the history of mankind. Pastor Rick Warren, the author of A Purpose-Driven Life, wrote about overcoming discouragement. These simple words have helped me and I wanted to share them with you.
Then the people of Judah said, “The work crews are worn out, and there is too much rubble. We can’t continue to rebuild the wall.” Nehemiah 4:10 (GWT). Discouragement is curable. Whenever I get discouraged, I head straight to Nehemiah. This great leader of ancient Israel understood there were four reasons for discouragement.
First, you get fatigued. You simply get tired as the laborers did in Nehemiah 4:10. We’re human beings and we wear out. You cannot burn the candle at both ends. So if you’re discouraged, it may be you don’t have to change anything. You just need a vacation! Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is go to bed.
Second, you get frustrated. Nehemiah says there was rubble all around, so much that it was getting in the way of rebuilding the wall. Do you have rubble in your life? Have you noticed that anytime you start doing something new, the trash starts piling up?
If you don’t clean it out periodically, it’s going to stop your progress. You can’t avoid it, so you need to learn to recognize it and dispose of it quickly so you don’t lose focus on your original intention.
What is the rubble in your life? I think rubble is the trivial things that waste your time and energy and prevent you from accomplishing what God has called you to do.
Third, you think you’ve failed. Nehemiah’s people were unable to finish their task as quickly as originally planned and, as a result, their confidence collapsed. They were thinking, “We were stupid to think we could ever rebuild this wall.”
But you know what I do when I don’t reach a goal on time? I just set a new goal. I don’t give up. Everybody fails. Everybody does dumb things. So the issue is not that you failed – it’s how you respond to your failure.
Do you give in to self-pity? Do you start blaming other people? Do you start complaining that it’s impossible? Or, do you refocus on God’s intentions and start moving again?
Finally, when you give in to fear, you get discouraged. Nehemiah 4 suggests the people most affected by fear are those who hang around negative people. If you’re going to control the negative thoughts in your life, you’ve got to get away from negative people as much as you can.
Maybe you’re discouraged because of fear. You’re dealing with fears like, “I can’t handle this. It’s too much responsibility.” Maybe it’s the fear that you don’t deserve it. It’s the fear of criticism. Fear will destroy your life if you let it. But you can choose to resist the discouragement. Say, “God help me get my eyes off the problem – off the circumstance – and keep my eyes on You.”

Be encouraged today friends for the Lord is near!

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