“…do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you always.” Joshua 1:9
As I was driving down the highway a few years ago feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, I quickly became aware I had another problem when I saw the policeman’s flashing lights in my rearview mirror. “Oh no! Not a speeding ticket on top of everything else.” You see, I’d just moved into town and was feeling so discouraged that apparently my thoughts drifted away just long enough for me to miss the changing Speed Limit sign.
I immediately started to cry. Pulling over on the side of the road, I respectfully gave the policeman my ID and told him I was sorry. As he took my license he asked, “Are you alright?” Still crying, I nodded yes and he went back to his car to check on my driving record. I’d like to tell you I stopped crying but that was not the case. I continued to cry and as I sat there waiting inside my car, I became more and more discouraged. Can anyone relate?
Wasn’t God paying attention? Hello God! I’m already fighting discouragement and adding an expensive speeding ticket isn’t going to help my situation.
In just a few minutes the policeman returned and said, “You have a clean record Mrs. Hull, so I’m giving you a warning today. May I suggest Ma’am you drive to the nearest coffee shop, buy a cup of coffee and pull yourself together.”
When you and I are discouraged and in a deep pit of despair, grabbing a cup of coffee may help for a moment but deep inside if we are wiling to admit it, we know we need something else. How did I get so discouraged? More importantly how do I get out of this pit I’m in?
Things used to be really good. What changed? Was it our circumstances? Our relationships? We can relate to the office poster that says:
A prayer to be said when the world has gotten you down,
And you feel rotten,
And you’re too doggone tired,
And you’re in a big hurry,
And you’re mad at everybody . . .
Before we know it we slowly allow the discouragement to take over and we give up. Soon isolation sets in and all we can see is the discouragement. Now what? How do we put life in neutral long enough to change our direction?
When I’m willing to stop being stubborn and actually slow down long enough to ask God for help, my attitude begins to change. What does slowing down and asking for help look like?
From friend to friend, let me share three things I do to help me change my attitude of discouragement to a heart of lasting joy.
First, I slow down, ease back and admit I need help. Now its time to dig into the truth of the matter. God’s Word tells us that the truth will set us free and it does. Setting my heart on the truth will help heal and change my mindset. I talk to God as if He and I are having a cup of coffee together at my kitchen table. I’m brutally honest and I expect Him to do the same. I say I’m sorry and He always forgives and heals. Because Jesus Christ is my best friend and Savior the conversation is very personal and healing.
Secondly, I refocus my energy from me to helping someone else. I start small and simple. Maybe reaching out to a friend or neighbor and immediately as I help others I feel my joy restored.
My third action is to intentionally read God’s promises in His Word and believe God with a humble heart. I’ve probably been running crazy or too busy to sit down and read the Bible and it shows. No wonder I’m discouraged! I’ve been trying to do life all on my own and failing miserably. All of this happens while I’m still sitting at the kitchen table with my coffee and just finished my conversational prayer with God.
The healing time is a process, but this strategy works 100% of the time. God is Faithful.
Now is a perfect time to try these three steps and see how it works. Test it!
Your joy can be restored. Your discouragement doesn’t have to be permanent.
Pray. Read your Bible. Help others.
Refuse to be stuck in a state of discouragement any longer.
It all begins with you. Asking God for help is smart! You can get started as long as you are willing to say to God “HELP!”
HERE ARE A FEW ENCOURAGING SCRIPTURES TO GET STARTED:
Galatians 6:9 “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest, if we don’t give up.”
Luke 18:1 “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”
1 Chronicles 28:20”…Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”