Not sure how you process decisions or results, but I analyze. Too often I over-analyze. It’s true. It is probably not the healthiest thing to do. I go over every detail, moment, conversation, word and more. I am constantly trying to tweak everything to make it better, but that comes at a price. I often find when things did not go “as planned” I can easily get discouraged. As a pastor, I find some of my most discouraging moments are Sunday afternoon. I review the attendances, giving, guests & decisions for Christ – when they don’t reach my hopes I feel down. I know, I know – we are supposed to trust God to build his church – but I am a results driven purpose. So I am often overwhelmed with wanting to be further than we are, always!
Even during incredible moments I can struggle to stay high on hope. The Bible declares, “he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike” (Matthew 5:45). In other words, everyone faces the good and the bad. No one is immune to times or moments of discouragement. Whether you are a preacher, barista, teacher or businessperson you can face the lows of your emotions.
I have learned that if the enemy can keep you down he will stop you from your destiny. That’s why must fight off the feelings of defeat. Push through it. They only last a season. Here are some principles I have to apply on a regular basis to fight off personal discouragement.
No matter how challenging the season you are in always remain faithful. Be consistent. It is one of the most challenging things to do, but one of the most important. Speak faith when you feel weak. Stay focused when you seem distracted. Stay humble when you experience success. Simply put – be consistent.
Never forget what God already said.
This is often a tough thing for us to do, because we live in the now. But if God gave you a promise hold on to that promise. No matter how it looks on the outside stay focused on the vision for your life He gave you. If God has given you a dream, vision for your life – treasure those words. Remind yourself often what GOD whispered in your ear.
Focus on the solutions – not the problems.
When you are down it is usually because your vision is on the problem. It became your focus. In a recent staff meeting I told our team, “Let’s not chat about what went wrong – let’s just celebrate every win.” It changed our conversation. You can see the excitement rise. If you are looking for the negative you will find it.
Keep your joy high.
Choose to smile. Get your spirit high on hope. Eventually your emotions will catch up. Make the decision I am going to smile no matter what. Keep your joy high. Focus on all that God is doing right, how He is moving in your life and where He has brought you so far. You are doing better than you give yourself credit for.
Make sure positive voices are louder than the negative.
This is huge. I have had to change some of my relationships because they became voices of negativity. Every conversation I felt like I was drained and exhausted. I made the choice to surround Mary and I with “Yes, we can people.” There are probably people you are thinking of right now. Reduce your time with them. Make room for the right people.
Never give up.
This is critical. Choose to keep going no matter what. Scripture teaches, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9). Stay strong. Keep pushing. You will get where God promised you would be.
“The enemy fights the hardest those who God wants to take the highest.”
One of the enemy’s greatest tactics is to get you discouraged. It is ok to have moments of feeling down, but you cannot stay down. Get up. Trust God. He has a plan and purpose for your life. Scripture promises, “… God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished …” (Philippians 1:6).