Discouragement and ministry go hand in hand. I say this after almost 40 years in ministry. Maybe just reading these words discourage you. I hope not because you can defeat discouragement.
So, a while back I was at a large gathering of pastors and church leaders. It was a good day. I learned some things, caught up with some old friends, and left feeling encouraged.
But, I left bothered by one thing.
Two of my friends, within minutes of each other, told me that they were discouraged. I understood because I’ve been there, too. Discouragement comes to all of us. Dan Rockwell wrote, “People who don’t get discouraged aren’t human. That’s probably true. I know that people who don’t get discouraged aren’t pastors.
The good news is that you can defeat discouragement.
Answering these six questions might help you.
Why is this bothering me so much?
Be honest with yourself and get to the root cause. Often it really isn’t what you think at first. But, you are unlikely to defeat your discouragement until you really understand why you are experiencing it.
What is God teaching me?
Discouragement is painful. But, God is at work in your life in spite of the pain. He doesn’t waste it. Speak a simple prayer and wait for His answer. Mine goes something like “God, what are you teaching me about my discouragement?”
Who can I talk to about my discouragement?
You don’t have to be alone. Reach out to a trusted friend or mentor and tell them what you are feeling. Ask them to pray with you. They will help.
Help carry each other’s burdens. – Galatians 6:2 (GW)
Starting now, what will you do that makes a change in your mood?
Change up your routine. Do something fun. Get out of town for a day. It’s amazing what a small shift in our outer environment can give new perspective.
When will I quit stewing over this?
I remember that someone once said to set a time limit hen we are depressed. The same idea can work for discouragement.
I like what Jon Bloom wrote about lingering in discouragement:
“If we linger in discouragement it can be costly. Its sense of defeat and hopelessness saps us of energy and vision. It can consume a lot of time. It can keep us from doing what we need to do because we don’t want to face it. And it can even be contagious, weakening others’ faith.”
What can I say to myself that will shift my thinking?
Self-talk is powerful. Writing and repeating a short mantra can help you redirect your thoughts from discouragement.
Robert H. Schuller was a master at this. Maybe this one can help you overcome your mountain of discouragement.
“When faced with a mountain, I WILL NOT QUIT! I will keep on striving until I climb over, find a pass through, tunnel underneath, or simply stay and turn the mountain into a gold mine with God’s help!”
I hope these six questions help you defeat discouragement. I’m sure you have some good ideas that would help all of us. Would you post a comment here or in The Go Commission Facebook Group?
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