Growing Through Discouragement

“Lord…my hope is in you.” Ps 39:7

discouragementHere are four suggestions to help you survive and grow through upheavals such as an unexpected job loss, the death of a loved one, a failed marriage, or a serious health issue:

(1) Admit how you feel. That doesn’t mean sitting around wallowing in negativity. It means trusting God enough to acknowledge how you really feel. Pretending things are fine when they’re not, makes it harder to get back up. We all have down times. The Psalmist asked God to help him cope with despondency. (See Ps 42-43) And at one point Paul was under so much pressure he “despaired even of life.” (2 Cor 1:8) 

(2) Identify the source. Discouragement often comes on the heels of a setback or disappointment. Did something you set your heart on fall apart? Were your hopes unrealistic to begin with? Did somebody let you down? Or is your dejection coming from a generalized feeling of burnout? 

(3) Talk with a trusted counselor. Solomon said, “For lack of guidance nations fall, but victory is won through many advisers.” (Pr 11:14) Don’t let pride prevent you from opening up to those who will listen empathetically and respond wisely. Talking to the right people can lessen your sense of isolation, and also pave the way for others who are hurting to do the same. 

(4) Be open before God. He, not fate or circumstances, gets to write the last chapter. Maybe He’s trying to teach you something, or redirect your energies. David said, “Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” (Ps 39:7) When your hope is in God, He replaces discouragement with confidence so that what you’re going through can become a path to spiritual growth. 

A popular song, by Laura’s Story, that is on the radio right now, shows God’s hidden blessings in our daily lives. Take a minute to listen to it. 

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