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How To Keep Yourself Encouraged In Difficult Times and Seasons
This Kingdom motivational minute provides one truth that helps us to stay encouraged in difficult times and seasons.
Have you ever felt like throwing in the towel? Giving up. Quitting. I have faced times like these in life and ministry. Most of my discouragement centered around disappointment, unachieved goals and the enormity of what needs to be done.
I've discovered that much of my discouragement results from how I view things.
Choosing to look at the events in my life from a God-centered perspective freed me from discouragement. Instead of "throwing in the towel," I want to use it to serve people.
Allow me to share what I'm learning, hoping it will empower you to break off discouragement in your own life.
Looking At The Rubble Instead Of The Wall
Nehemiah's story of rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem serves as an excellent illustration to reveal this one truth.
One can only imagine how those rebuilding the wall must have felt. Rebuilding the wall was a huge uphill battle. The enemies of Israel constantly ridiculed and threatened them, and on top of that, the wall itself was a massive project.
Remarkably, Israel built the wall to half its height (Neh. 4:6) in a short amount of time. Yet, instead of rejoicing, they grew discouraged!
Nehemiah 4:10 "Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, "The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall."
We grow discouraged when the constant stare is at what we have not accomplished or what remains broken.
Instead of looking at the wall they built, Israel looked at the rubble that remained. Instead of focusing on what they had accomplished, they focused on what was yet to be achieved.
Here is the point, we will never stay in a place of encouragement by constantly looking at the "rubble." We find encouragement when looking at the "wall" — what God has accomplished through us. If you cannot see what He is doing, look to what He has done. Find where God is active and make that your focus.
Your focus determines your reality.
We will always have rubble around us, but the wall (the things God has helped us accomplish) keeps us moving forward.
In My Own Life
"Looking at the wall" still does not come naturally for me. I catch myself looking at the enormity of what needs to be achieved rather than what has been accomplished.
I used to think that looking at the wall would lead to pride. Now I understand it leads to thanksgiving.
I used to think that looking at the wall focused on past achievements. Now I understand that it is the key to future accomplishments.
I've now made this a big part of my life with zero regrets. I look for His activity (His fingerprints) in all things, knowing He is good at all times.
As a husband, father, pastor, and leader, every area of my life is impacted by this one truth.
Three Things I Recommend You Do
Here are three habits that need to be formed for you to stay encouraged and full of faith in virtually every area of life and ministry.
1. Get your focus off the rubble. This is difficult for people, but if we are going to live encouraged, we can't stare at the rubble. It does not matter whether you are involved with leading a church, ministry, business, project, your family, or yourself.
If you constantly look at the rubble, you will lose strength and feel like giving up.
2. See what God is doing. Find where God is active, where His fingerprints are, and make that your focus. If you cannot see what He is doing, look to what He has done. Ask the Lord to show you.
You will soon discover that God is doing far more than you think. When we choose to focus here, the list of what He is doing and what He has done grows long. I would recommend placing this list in your written or digital journal. This brings the Lord honor and you strength.
3. Be thankful. I don't care if you only find a few things you see God active in, give Him thanks. Often thanksgiving leads to significant levels of faith, breaking off the discouragement in our lives.
Questions: What do you do, or have done, to keep yourself encouraged?