“When we yield to discouragement, it is usually because we give too much thought to the past or to the future.”
St. Therese of Lisieux
Discouragement enters through many doors, leaving us feeling “disheartened, deprived of courage or confidence, dejected or depressed in spirits.” Unfulfilled expectations, disappointment, failure and loss can cause discouragement to penetrate our hearts. We spiral down into the pit of discouragement when we listen to lies from Satan. Joyce Meyer says, “Depression begins with disappointment. When disappointment festers in our soul, it leads to discouragement.”
What we tell ourselves can have huge consequences. If we believe our relationship with a loved one will never change for the better, we may become hopeless. We’ve given up when we write the end of their story before it’s been played out. However, health issues, marriages, careers, and prodigal children can all change.
I remember one time feeling disheartened because I assumed things would always be a certain way. I thought I had read the last chapter in their book of life. Hopelessness became my response to that kind of thinking. The Holy Spirit in His kindness spoke truth to my heart. “This is only a chapter in their life. The rest of their story hasn’t been written yet.” A flicker of hope sparked within my heart. That took place over ten years ago. The Holy Spirit was right. New chapters have been written and they have been “above and beyond what I could ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20)
We only have grace for today. Not for tomorrow and not for yesterday. Please don’t look down the road at the ‘what ifs’ in life. Likewise, don’t look behind at yesterday and focus on the ‘if onlys.’ Your past does not define your future, nor does it determine where you are going. Learn from the past and then: Let. It. Go. If your focus is on yesterday or tomorrow, you will miss out on the gift or present of today.
Tell yourself the truth. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” (Jeremiah 29:11) When discouragement begins to pull you down, look up. See that “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” ((II Corinthians 9:8)
“Adversity can be our greatest motivation for spiritual growth or our deadliest means of discouragement.”
1. Are you feeling discouraged? If so, name what is causing you to feel disheartened.
2. What are you telling yourself? Replace the enemy’s lies with God’s truth.
3. Have you written the end of a loved one’s story before it’s finished?
4. Where is your focus? Is it on today, tomorrow or yesterday?