overcoming discouragment

How to Overcome Discouragement

About 4 years ago I hit a wall. I was in way over my head. Everything was going horribly wrong and I was emotionally spent. So I thought I would reach out to a pastor friend to console me. I was feeling sorry for myself, and I was hoping he would join me in my misery and feel sorry for me, too. But his response was, "welcome to the ministry, this is what we do."

Have you ever felt discouraged? Have you ever been close to calling it quits?

My friends response was definitely not the one I was hoping for, and I was angry at first, but then I began to search the scriptures for answers on how to overcome discouragement.

Luckily, the Bible gives us insight in how to climb out of the pit of discouragement. One of my favorites is in 1 Samuel 30 where King David finds himself in quite a predicament. He faced circumstances, in a one day period, that made my circumstances look like a walk in the park.

While he was out with his army fighting a battle, another army came in behind him and raided their camp, taking all of their possessions and families. As you can imagine, David and his men were greatly upset. It was a circumstance that had thrown them into a deep pit of despair. To make matters worse, the men turned on David and talked of killing him. Look at verse 6.

“Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters..."

This verse says that David was greatly distressed. No kidding! His entire world had been turned upside down. He had just lost everything. And now his own team focused their anger and blame at him. How could it get any worse? What could he do? How should he respond? The next phrase in the verse is very insightful.

"But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.”

This response is amazing! It's certainly one that causes me to pause and reflect, "would I have responded in the same way?" It also begs a question be asked. How did David strengthen himself in the Lord? What did he do?

I think we get a little glimpse into how David strengthened himself in the Lord in Psalms 103. The Psalm begins with this statement:

"Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits;"

David seems to be talking to himself and telling his own soul to praise God and to remember all the things God has done for him. Whatever circumstance he was in when he wrote these words left him feeling unwilling to worship God. So instead of giving into his feelings, he tells himself to do it anyway, and continues by listing all of the things God had done for him in the past. By the end of the Psalm he's not talking to himself anymore and he ends with what seems to be a strong shout of adoration. Look at verse 22.

"Bless the LORD, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the LORD, O my soul!"

What did he just do? He praised himself out of a deep pit of despair! And this is a huge lesson for you and I. One of the best ways to overcome discouragement and to rise above our feelings of despair is to use Praise and Worship as a weapon.

What Can We Learn from David?

  1. Worship is not just a response, based on feelings.
  2. Worship is a weapon that gives me confidence to fight.
  3. Sometimes I must force myself to use this weapon.
  4. It is often most effective when I least feel like it.

And the result? Look at verse 18-19.

"So David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and rescued his two wives. But nothing of theirs was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that they had taken for themselves; David brought it all back." 

Question: Do you sometimes wish that God would simply rescue you from your trouble? Or, do you think he might want us to learn how to access the strength we need to overcome discouragement ourselves? Let me know your thoughts by commenting in the "Leave a Reply" box below.