Overcoming Discouragement


I’ve learned from a very dear friend, (you know who you are DC) that often “borrowed wisdom” is the most profound. Therefore, it is with great joy that I share a bit of Rick Warren’s wisdom with you today. I hope you enjoy!

“Then the people of Judah said, ‘The work crews are worn out, and there is too much rubble. We can’t continue to rebuild the wall.’” (Nehemiah 4:10 GWT)

Discouragement is curable. Whenever I get discouraged, I head straight to Nehemiah. This great leader of ancient Israel understood there were four reasons for discouragement.

First, you get fatigued. You simply get tired as the laborers did in Nehemiah 4:10. We’re human beings, and we wear out. You cannot burn the candle at both ends. So if you’re discouraged, it may be you don’t have to change anything. You just need a vacation! Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is go to bed.

Second, you get frustrated. Nehemiah says there was rubble all around, so much that it was getting in the way of rebuilding the wall. Do you have rubble in your life? Have you noticed that anytime you start doing something new, the trash starts piling up?

If you don’t clean it out periodically, it’s going to stop your progress. You can’t avoid it, so you need to learn to recognize it and dispose of it quickly so you don’t lose focus on your original intention.

Third, you think you’ve failed. Nehemiah’s people were unable to finish their task as quickly as originally planned and, as a result, their confidence collapsed. They were thinking, “We were stupid to think we could ever rebuild this wall.”

But you know what I do when I don’t reach a goal on time? I just set a new goal. I don’t give up. Everybody fails. Everybody does foolish things. So the issue is not that you failed; it’s how you respond to your failure.

Do you give in to self-pity? Do you start blaming other people? Do you start complaining that it’s impossible? Or, do you refocus on God’s intentions and start moving again?

Finally, when you give in to fear, you get discouraged. Nehemiah 4 suggests the people most affected by fear are those who hang around negative people. If you’re going to control the negative thoughts in your life, you’ve got to get away from negative people as much as you can.

Maybe you’re discouraged because of fear. You’re dealing with fears like, “I can’t handle this. It’s too much responsibility.” Maybe it’s the fear that you don’t deserve it or the fear of criticism. Fear will destroy your life if you let it. But you can choose to resist the discouragement. Say, “God, help me get my eyes off the problem and the circumstance and keep my eyes on you.”

Talk It Over

  • Rubble is the trivial things that waste your time and energy and prevent you from accomplishing what God has called you to do. What is the rubble in your life?
  • How can you reduce negativity in your life that is keeping you discouraged?
  • On what abandoned goal do you need to refocus so that you can accomplish something God has called you to do?
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2 thoughts on “Overcoming Discouragement

  1. Thanks for borrowing and sharing wisdom Abby !
    I believe every wise person wants their wisdom to be shared. Also, I also believe that God very often speaks to us through other people. If we only listen for a “direct line”, we risk missing so much.

    I remember the brilliant Nehemiah story from Rick’s book “God’s Answers To Life’s Difficult Questions” and this sums it up really well. I think you will help a lot of people by having shared this. The enemy uses Fear and/or Distraction to stop or delay our tasks and we have to keep focussed on God in order to keep going. If we do, from my experience, the task mysteriously becomes straightforward and we get it done.

    As pilots know, the peripheral vision can often pick up things that we miss in our direct vision. Similarly if we focus too hard and too directly on a something, we risk screwing up as we may miss something important. Focussing on God with the task in our peripheral vision is the answer. He has certainly rescued me from making some potentially big mistakes !
    Having said that, I’m still in the process of trying to de-clutter my life and still have a way to go, but Rick also said : “Remember how far you’ve come, not just how far you have to go. You are not where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be” and I found that very encouraging. What do you think ?

    Do you remember that I borrowed and shared some of your Abby-wisdom too ?
    For example I found this on your site on 03 Oct 2012 :
    – “Sometimes it takes pain for us to hear the already God-given permission to rest.”

    You are right : often we do need to step back, take a break and reassess the situation. God doesn’t tend to rush things and if we feel under huge pressure, it’s usually not from God.

  2. DC, I am forever indebted to you for opening my eyes to more and more wisdom 🙂 Mostly because I don’t have any idea where you find time to read and the presence of mind to retain all the wonderful things you’ve read 🙂
    You broaden my understanding my proxy! Thank you so much! And rest assured too, that I have begun reading more and different authors than I had before–thanks to you!
    I agree about remembering to look at where we’ve come from, not merely where we are going. I don’t recall where, but Paul says at one point “such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified….”
    The recollection of all that God has done for us strengthens our trust that He will continue to work for and in us!

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