Discouragement is a loss of confidence or enthusiasm resulting from our doubting a certain desired outcome will happen. Discouragement is one of the “giants” we all face. Here are some questions you can ask yourself when you are battling discouragement.
Are you taking care of yourself? – Elijah was more than discouraged; he was suicidal in 1 Kings 19. Part of his remedy was to eat, drink water, and to rest. Often our discouragement will leave when we reprioritize the well-being of our physical body.
Are you highly visionary? – A visionary is a person with original ideas about what the future will or could be like. The visionary often sees what shall be but still only experiences what currently is. As visionaries celebrate progress and “despise not the day of small beginnings” (Zechariah 4:10), they will be less prone to be discouraged.
What are you thinking about when you go to sleep? – If we have the habit of going to sleep worried, disappointed, or angry, then we will most likely wake up discouraged. But if we go to sleep with thankfulness, remembering good things from the day, and receiving more of God’s love, we increase the likelihood of waking up joyful.
What person of faith, compassion, and wisdom can you talk to, pray with, and receive help from? – As we humble ourselves and share our emotional struggle with another person, grace will start to flow to us (1 Peter 5:5-6). And, as we hear the wisdom and perspective of a trusted friend or counselor, we are setting ourselves up for greater victory.
What ministries and messages do you need pouring into you right now? – If we are having more output than input, we will eventually be weakened and discouraged. One of main inputs we are to have is faith and hope messages through books and podcasts. Those who feed on Igniting Hope messages will be less prone to discouragement!
Have you experienced “hope deferred”? – “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12). Hope deferred means a promise or dream we expected to happen has not happened. When this happens to you, express your pain to the Lord, receive ministry from people of faith and compassion, re-engage with God’s manifest presence, and reaffirm or clarify what God is saying to you about this.
What are the lies fueling this discouragement? – Emotions don’t validate truth; they just validate what we believe to be true. Jesus said, “The truth will make you free” (John 8:32). Truth first makes us free in our emotions and then in our circumstances. However, if we believe lies, the opposite will be true. As we identify the lies we believe and then replace them with truth, we will replace discouragement with joy and hope. My book Let’s Just Laugh at That is a good resource helping you do this.
What advice would you give someone who is battling discouragement? – As we reflect on what we would tell someone else, we often will find the key for our own breakthrough. I have personally found it helpful to write blogs and speak messages on what I would tell others in areas I am struggling with. After considering my own message, I gained forward movement in my own life.
Do you know what God is doing in your life regarding what you are discouraged about? – If we can identify areas we can grow in as we consider what we are discouraged about, we will allow the emotional difficulty to work for us. Every long-lasting great influencer has had to become more focused on their own personal development than having good circumstances.
Do you know everyone battles some level of discouragement? – Years ago, I sensed the Lord say, “Steve, you and everyone else, will always have something to be discouraged to be about.” This knowledge helped me. I used to think there was something uniquely wrong with me. I Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has come upon you except what is common to man.”
How can you increase your connection with Jesus? – If we are not maintaining regular prayer, worship, scripture, fellowship with others, and yielding to His leading, then we will be more prone to battle discouragement and other negative emotions.
Who can you encourage today? – “Give and it will be given to you” (Luke 6:38). When we give encouragement away to others, encouragement will then be given to us. It is hard to stay discouraged when we are encouraging others.
Which of these questions most speaks to you?
What are the most important action steps you can take based on this blog?
Who can you encourage today?
“For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (Hebrews 12:3).
“Let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give in” (Galatians 6:9).
““In my distress, I called to the LORD, and he answered me.” (Psalm 120:1).
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Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.