Finding Joy When We Feel Discouraged


Finding Joy When We feel Discouraged

 

Life can be so disappointing, can’t it? Life can throw some real curve balls we we’re never expecting. Like many of you, I experience times of discouragement. How do we deal with it? I have found eating that whole bag of potato chips was not a good idea! Or spending money on new “stuff” that I didn’t need. Sitting around and having a pity-party with me, myself and I is not a great idea either—makes for lousy company!

I really like this definition of discouragement from William Ward.

“Discouragement is dissatisfaction with the past, distaste for the present, and distrust of the future. It is ingratitude for the blessings of yesterday, indifference to the opportunities of today, and insecurity regarding strength for tomorrow. It is unawareness of the presence of beauty, unconcern for the needs of our fellowman, and unbelief in the promises of old. It is impatience with time, immaturity of thought, and impoliteness to God”.

That definition right there should cause us to “snap out of it!” When I read that definition, I thought “wow… Lord, forgive me for being so ungrateful for all you’ve done, are doing and will do for me.

During these times, I fight it by engaging in self-talk. I like this version of Psalm 42:5-6a from the Message translation:  “Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God—soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God. When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you…”

Then I read these words from Titus 3. 

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.(Titus 3:5-7)

What encouragement these verses are.

This is the redemptive power of God’s good news. When we receive good news it should make us happy. If the Gospel doesn’t make us happy, perhaps what we’ve accepted isn’t good news (and is therefore not the Gospel), but a burdensome bad-news religion. Or maybe we haven’t truly embraced it and experienced its implications in our hearts. We need to daily remind ourselves of what the gospel means, and cheer ourselves daily with God’s good news that should never get old for us.

Few of us will experience in our lifetimes as much utter desolation as Jeremiah faced. In a book written at a time in Israel’s history so sad that it is called Lamentations, there is still a transcendent happiness:

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

This defies explanation. It is a joy that flows from being immersed in who God is and what He has done for us. It’s the new, fresh, daily experience and contemplation of the unceasing steadfast love of God, and His great faithfulness to us. What else can this do but make us happy and give us strength for the day ahead?

Don’t let the enemy rob you of the joy of the day. He would love nothing more than for you to have a down in the dumps day, week, month. It’s easy to slide down that slop and go from discouragement to depression.

I hope and pray that this has encouraged you today! Try and remember to do some self-talk to yourself. It really does help. Remind yourself of what God has done for you in the past. Meditate on verses that lift you up. Listen to worship music. When you worship, it’s kinda hard to stay discouraged!

I’d love to hear from you and what you do to encourage yourself when discouragment comes your way.  I am praying for you as we journey together on this road of life.

Love you my friend,

Jeannine