“And the sons of Israel who returned from exile and all those who had separated themselves from the impurity of the nations of the land to join them, to seek the Lord God of Israel, at the the Passover. And they observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the Lord had caused them to rejoice, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them to encourage them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.” (Ezra 6:21-22 – NASB)
I am sitting here this morning hovering very slowly over my hot cup of coffee and I just cannot escape this feeling that has been going through my mind for the last week. Like the coffee in my cup, I tend to need time to cool down…and usually in that cool down there seems to be a thought process that takes place…Oh boy, are you ready for this?
The 4 steps of Discouragement
- Denial and Depression… Humor me just a moment. We are hard-working women in every area of our lives…we are busy everyday all day…and we never quit. Then there are days when it is hard to get out of bed and when we do it just feels like we are going through the motions. Anyone know that feeling?? The feeling you can’t quite put your finger on but know it is there nonetheless.
- Realization… After a few days of phase one, you enter phase two…usually thanks to a friend (thank you Lord, for friends!) they point out what you have so obviously missed… “no wonder you’re feeling this way…you’re discouraged.” – Light bulbs anyone?
- Process it…Once that amazing friend sheds some light, we wonder why we never saw it…and usually we add about five or six other things to the list that have left us discouraged. Friend…it’s past time to pray about what has left us feeling discouraged.
- Shake it off…Whether we are discouraged in ministry, friendships, family, what’s happening in the world around us, or just because we do a good job of discouraging ourselves…we have to be reminded that God has a plan and a purpose. We have to lay it at His feet…turn away and let God handle the problems we are facing.
Now don’t run off just yet…hear me out.
When we are discouraged, we can let it defeat us or we can let it strengthen our calling.
In the book of Ezra so much happened to the Israelites who had been exiled…in all of that time they had seen so much. Do you think they felt a little discouraged at times? No matter whose fault it is that we are in this place, whether by our own doing or the words of someone else that has left us discouraged – God knows the needs of our hearts.
Just like the exiles in the book of Ezra in verses 21-22 of chapter 6, the Lord did something that would encourage them. He turned the heart of the King…to encourage His people…to show in fact He really did have it all under control.
Oh Friend, if you are feeling discouraged today…I know how you feel. But, it is time to shake it off…it is time to lay it at God’s feet and trust His plan. It is time to stop letting others have control over the calling that God has given us. It is time for us to allow God to work and move regardless of the circumstances or our feelings.
Being discouraged will happen…but let’s not let it change the calling on our lives.
“And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” (Galatians 6:9-10, NASB)