“Discouragement is not the absence of adequacy but the absence of courage.”
- Pastor Neal A. Maxwell (1926-2004)
Have you ever been really excited about a new opportunity, only to have a family member, friend, or even a manager, poo-poo on the idea and make you believe that it’s not such a good idea or opportunity after all?
Discouragement comes when a situation has robbed us of confidence. It can be the product of many things: anger, hurt, resentment, frustration, failure or a myriad of other circumstances.
Sometimes a single event can affect us so deeply that we become fragile, unmotivated, and/or anxious. Feelings of isolation and weariness may dog our spirit. Discouragement can send us into hiding and render us helpless or cause us to be angry and resentful. Discouragement tears at our faith and hampers our ability to believe in ourselves and God. It leaves us vulnerable to personal and spiritual attacks.
Disappointments will come and discouragement is likely not far behind. During a time of discouragement, it is sometimes difficult to remember that God’s “grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Cor. 12:9). Although God did many wondrous works though him, the prophet Elijah became discouraged and fearful when Jezebel threatened his life.
Do not be a slave to your circumstance and wallow in negativity. Instead, recall His faithfulness and ask God to guide you through the situation. Find the humor in the absurdity of the situation and laugh about it. Although it may not negate your pain and frustration, Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart doeth good like medicine.”
God can turn our weakness into strength and bring clarity to our confusion. Others may not understand or agree, but go has a vision and plan for our life—a future brighter than anything we can comprehend.
Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA believes you can combat discouragement by resting your body (“if you need a break, take one”); reorganizing your life (“you may be doing the right thing in the wrong way, so shake things up and try a new approach”); remembering that God will help you; and fighting back (“discouragement is a choice, no one is forcing you to feel bad”).
Think back to a time when you were discouraged. What caused it and how did you overcome it?
The God Knows Project Team encourages you to look into your own life and join the conversation on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/godknowsproject