November 11, 2022
When You Feel Discouraged
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded (Hebrews 10:35 NIV).
Friend to Friend
Have you ever felt the sting of rejection? That’s a silly question. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t.
When I first started writing, I sent off sample chapters to various publishers. Shortly after, rejection letters came creeping into my mailbox.
“Thanks, but no thanks. “Nobody knows you.” “Your manuscript does not meet our needs at this time.” “Blah, blah, blah.” You get the picture.
At that point, I had two choices: quit or keep pressing on. I’ll admit, quitting seemed mighty good about then. But after I moped around for a while, I decided to keep pressing on.
Have you ever gone through a period of discouragement? Perhaps you’re in one right now. Believe me, I’ve hidden in the cave with Elijah (1 Kings 19), under the gourd plant with Jonah (Jonah 4), and in the desert with Moses (Exodus 3-4). If you don’t know those stories, look them up. You will probably be able to relate.
Discouragement comes when there is a gap between what you expect and what you experience—when there is a gap between what you hoped would happen and what actually does happen.
Discouragement can destroy your passion and undermine your purpose. It can take root because of what others say or didn’t say—a mom who said too much or a dad who said too little. Unmet expectations can become the breeding ground for discouragement to multiply and take root.
We certainly see that in Moses’s life. When Moses was forty years old, he expected to be the deliverer of his people. But what he experienced was rejection and regret. Forty years later, when God called him to lead the enslaved Israelites out of Egypt, Moses argued:
Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue” (Exod. 4:10).
This statement that came out of Moses’s stuttering lips was simply not true. As Stephen reminded us: “Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action” (Acts 7:22). Moses had defined himself by his failure and was held hostage by a constant state of discouragement. Oh friend, we need to be so careful to not do the same.
Discouragement causes many a believer to pull up a lawn chair in the cul-de-sac of Christianity and refuse to venture out to the adventurous faith. They mumble the words “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” over their hopes and dreams. They fill the gap between what they hope for and what they experience with the false belief that dreams aren’t worth the effort.
What we tend to see as a permanent condition, God sees as a temporary situation. What you see as one of your greatest setbacks might be one of God’s incredible setups for marvelous miracles to occur. If you are meeting resistance in your hopes and dreams, then you’re most likely on the right track. The devil wouldn’t mess with you if you weren’t a menace to his plans and a valuable asset to God.
What the devil really wants to do is steal your confidence, and the best time to rob you blind is during a season of disappointment. Guard your heart. Don’t be caught unaware and allow him to hold you back, trip you up or slow you down. The circumstances are, well, just circumstantial—collateral damage in the real battle to take away your confidence in Christ.
So don’t let the devil win. You are more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus!
Let go of debilitating discouragement and take hold of your next assignment!
I’m glad I didn’t quit writing when those first rejection letters came. If I had, I would have never known the excitement of seeing one of my books on a bookstore shelf. I wonder what discouragement God wants you to push through to see your dream come to fruition.
Dear God, I’ll admit that sometimes I get so discouraged I feel like I can’t go on. When things don’t go the way I thought they would, I just want to quit. Help me to remember that my greatest setbacks might be one of Your incredible setups for marvelous miracles to occur. Give me the God-confidence that I need to keep moving forward in Your will. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Read 1 Kings 19:1-18 What did God say to Elijah when he was hiding because of discouragement? (Verses 9 and 13). Did you notice that God allowed Elijah to rest for a bit? But then it was time to get up and get going.
Is there some area in your life where you’ve been hunkered down in discouragement, but now God is saying, “Get up and get moving!” If so, leave a comment and say, “I’m going to get up and get moving!” .
More From the Girlfriends
If you are in a period of discouragement, Sharon’s book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go, Move Forward, Live Bold will help you move forward and take the next step. Learn how to dream again. Let go of anything that holds you hostage to a “less than” life and take hold of all that God has for you and already placed in you. The book also comes with a Bible Study Guide for groups or personal study.
© 2022 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.