Monday, March 27, 2017

5 Ways to Overcome Discouragement

{Art by Jenna Kutcher}

As human beings, we are all prone to discouragement. Sometimes we are discouraged because we are in the midst of a difficult season. Other times we are burdened for the lives of dear friends and family. And further still, there are times where we are discouraged and just don't know why.

There have been seasons in my life where discouragement seemed unshakeable. I wondered if I would be able to genuinely enjoy life again because of the load that seemed to be so heavy and impossible to bear. And yet in those seasons, God has met me time and time again. Because that's what He does. He is the lifter of our heads, and He catches all of our tears. Not one tear we cry is ignored by Him. He sees us, He knows us, and He cares for us.

When seasons of discouragement come, what do we do? Do we despair and give in to the feelings? Do we allow ourselves to be consumed by negativity? Do we "fake it till we make it?" Today I want to share with you five action steps that have helped encourage my once discouraged heart.

1. Pray

This seems so basic and elementary, but just do it. God knows your heart already. Pray and talk to Him about what you're dealing with. If at all possible, talk out loud! Tell Him what is on your heart and ask Him to help you.

2. Preach

...the Gospel to yourself. Oftentimes I think of "the Gospel" as this story that I tell people who I want to know Jesus, but it is life-giving truth that I need to remind myself of every single day. I can't do anything in this life that's worthwhile in my own strength. So I've got to remind myself of the truth of God's word and let that soak in so that I'll be strong in Him.

3. Ask

Talk to a friend and ask for help! It is far too easy to get prideful and think that no one will understand your situation if you were to come to them. This my friends, is false. We are not meant to live life alone. Shoot someone a text or pick up the phone and ask them to pray with and for you. Ask for advice and ask for support.

4. Listen

Pull up your favorite worship station on Pandora or Spotify and go to town! Have yourself a little praise party in your car, office, or on your run, and just praise and thank God for who He is, even if you don't feel like it. He honors our sacrifices of praise.

Current Favorite Worship Albums

Kari Jobe: The Garden
Brian and Jenn Johnson: After All These Years
Bryan and Katie Torwalt: Champion
Watkinsville Worship: Hymns Volume I
Bethany Barnard: A Better Word
Ellie Holcomb: Red Sea Road

5. Rest

Give yourself some grace, my friend. When you're in the middle of a discouraging season, it can be easy to try to make yourself more and more busy to try to run away or distract yourself from your problems. Don't do this. Don't dwell on them and allow them to control you, but don't run away. Face your problems head on, give them over to God, and then rest in His grace. He knows exactly what He's doing.

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