Discouragement is part of the human experience. The Bible is full of real people who battled discouragement – Job, Elijah, David, Jeremiah and Peter just to name a few. It’s good to know we are not alone.
We all face discouragement. The enemy wields it to diminish us and rob us of the abundant life Jesus came to bring. But we don’t have to let discouragement keep us down.
Here are 8 steps to overcoming discouragement:
Be Honest – It doesn’t do you any good to pretend you don’t feel what you feel. And you can’t take action against negative feelings until you first admit that you have them. Admitting to yourself that you feel discouraged is the first step to overcoming.
Go to God – The Bible tells us exactly what to do with discouraging circumstances and the anxiety that often accompanies them.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NLT
Let Others In – The Bible is clear about the importance of relationships. Everything Jesus did, he did in the context of relationships. When it comes to overcoming bad habits the only statistical common denominator is relationships.
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 NLT
Pay Attention to Your Thought Life – We all attempt to make sense of the things that happen in our lives. We try to figure out why they happen and what it all means. It’s important that we pay attention the the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, the stories we tell ourselves about God and the stories we tell ourselves about our circumstances.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8 NLT
Take Care of Your Body – When you’re facing discouraging circumstances be extra vigilant about your body. Eat the right stuff. Exercise. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Value yourself by taking care of your body especially when you don’t feel like it.
Harness the Power of Vision and Goal Setting – Vision will help you get up when all you want to to is stay in bed. So set a goal and then do it. It could be as simple as going for a walk around the block, weeding the garden or spending time with Jesus. There is something energizing about achieving even the smallest goal.
Keep an Eternal Perspective – The apostle Paul faced some really difficult circumstances and yet he was not crushed by them. He learned to fix his eyes on eternity.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV
Fight Feelings with Feelings – The best way to fight a feeling is with a feeling. The greatest antidote for the feeling of discouragement is gratitude. We may not be able to be grateful FOR the circumstances we are facing, but we can be grateful IN the circumstances. The next time you feel discouraged start making a list of all thing things you are grateful for. You’ll be amazed at the power of gratitude to lift you above discouragement.