Hope in Times of Discouragement
KJV dictionary definition of discouragement is to extinguish the courage of; depress of spirits; to deject; to deprive of confidence or hope; to attempt to repress or prevent; to dissuade from.
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines discouragement as a feeling of having lost hope or confidence; something (such as failure or difficulty) that discourages someone.
Discouragement refers to a sense of being overwhelmed, weary, and losing hope over circumstances. Other times, discouragement can overtake us when we have just had a spiritual victory, or making progress in our spiritual walk. In any case, discouragement will cause you to feel hopeless, lose heart, and lose confidence.
Discouragement Synonyms: Hopelessness, despair, dishearten, loss of hope, depression
Discouragement Antonyms: Encouragement, hope, and hopeful confidence.
Discouragement is a weapon to prevent our progress, derail us from moving forward, and prevent our destiny and purposes being fulfilled. Rest assured, if you have been discouraged, the enemy wants to stop something from happening in your life. Usually during this attack, your weaknesses get exposed and the enemy bombards your mind with negative thoughts about yourself. If you listen too long to the enemy’s voice, you will end up feeling hopeless, depressed, and feeling like a failure. You will also lose your confidence to move ahead in what God has planned for you. This is where a lot of Christians are derailed; when discouragement invades them. During discouragement you can experience “old issues” coming up again. You may even think,” Didn’t I deal with that issue before? Or Was I not delivered (healed) from this?” The enemy is a master illusionist, so he can make you think you are truly dealing with old issues again, and you were not healed or delivered.
Signs to look for when Discouragement comes:
1. Fatigue: Your defenses are lower when you are fatigued, and you may not feel as spiritually strong.
2. Sickness/Illness: When you are not feeling well it is easy to become discouraged, especially if you have been healed from a certain illness, and it appears like it is coming back, or you are still waiting on healing.
3. Women’s monthly cycle: Hormones change, and so does your emotions. Women are more prone to being sensitive during this time, and discouragement can easily seep in.
4. Failure: You perceive that mistake you made has doomed you, or you can never get passed it. You may feel like you can’t do anything right during this time.
5. Spiritual victory/progress: You have determined to go forward with the things that God has called you to do; you have made progress in your spiritual walk with God. The enemy does not like progress.
6. When you take your eyes off Jesus: You look to your circumstances, and you start to magnify them, ponder them, analyze them, and try and figure them out.
Steps to overcoming discouragement:
1. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to overcome your discouragement. Command, in the name of Jesus that discouragement flee from you if you discern it is a spiritual attack.
2. Count your blessings daily and out loud.
3. Be still and know that God will get you through. Keep a good attitude during this time, and watch what you speak. Don’t allow your words to agree with the enemy’s.
4. Rest, pull back, and take time away from the “crowds.” Renew your time with God and Let His word refresh and restore you. Limit your schedule during this time, and who you are around. Don’t surround yourself when you are discouraged with negative, faith-less, discouraging people.
5. Praise and worship God. Listen to some praise music to lift your spirits.
6. Understand discouragement will pass, don’t give into the lies. Do not repeat, dwell or accept the lies of the enemy. Speak what God says not what the enemy is trying to tell you.
7. During times of discouragement, don’t follow your feelings; wait until the discouragement has passed before making decisions.
Reflect on these scriptures…
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their trouble. The Lord is near the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. Psalm 34:17-19
Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22
But they who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31
Everyone will face discouragement at some point, but we don’t have to entertain or accept discouragement. Don’t give into self-pity, and don’t talk down to yourself. Recognize discouragement comes to all at some point, but we must not let the “seed” of discouragement take root.