Normally I am an upbeat, happy-go-lucky, very positive person. But this past holiday season, I battled discouragement something fierce.
I am not sure if you have ever experienced times like these where you felt like you just couldn’t shake that feeling. That icky, I don’t feel like myself, but I don’t know why feeling?
In my case, it made me want to start isolating myself; steering clear of social gatherings. I wanted off social media because watching everyone’s life was only making matters worse. All the while I was praying, reading my Bible, and attending church. But, nothing I was seemed to do could shake off how I was feeling. I was stuck in a battle with discouragement and I could not fight my way out.
It was frustrating. Lonely. And emotionally draining.
So what happened? How did I overcome this overwhelming feeling of discouragement to start being able to be engaged in the world again?
Here are the seven ways I overcame discouragement:
- Tell someone. First of all, I took a leap of faith and confessed my emotional state to someone I trusted.
- Let them share the truth. Sharing how I felt with someone else allowed that individual to speak truth to my situation. As I shared my fears they reminded me my emotions do not determine my actions, nor do they always align with God’s truth.
- Encourage your faith. That, in turn, encouraged me in my faith in a God who was bigger than my circumstances in the moment. In recognizing, God was able to overcome my situation, regardless of my emotional state, it led me to number 4.
- Make gratitude a habit. Discouragement is the exact opposite of encouragement. I knew God had done a lot in the last year, I journal about it all the time. However, when I started keeping a gratitude journal it helped me keep the highlights rather than making me dig. I have praise reports accessible and easy to access for the days that aren’t as rosy as others.
- Speak God’s Word over your circumstance. The Bible says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (Proverbs 18:21, KJV). As I read God’s Word and found promises of who I was or what He was capable of doing, I started speaking God’s Word over me and it caused me to believe God despite my current emotional state.
- Let them pray. A huge turning point for me was when I made a confession of my struggle to my team at work. Once I shared how I had been battling this for some time, and what felt like a very lonely place, they surrounded me and prayed over me. I believe God responded to my humility and brokenness with His love for me through the prayers of His people.
- Learn who God is. I decided at the end of the year to embark on reading the entire Bible in 2018. I have never accomplished this before nor is it a goal I usually set. I like to consume slowly and leisurely rather than for the sake of hitting markers. However, I decided if I was going to take this one it was going to be for one reason, to know God more. When I started reading the Bible to get to know God, my emotional state changed. The way I approached my day and the people around me shifted. I was no longer consumed with thoughts about me, but rather consumed with God.
So there you have it: Seven ways I overcame the battle with discouragement and you can too.
What do you think? Do any of those ways help you in your struggle? Comment below to share which one(s) help you the most.
Check out my last few blog posts:
Want to get updates on when my book, Like Me or Not: Overcoming Approval Addiction (Worthy Publishing, 2018), will be released? Subscribe to my email list.