July 16, 2017
The Trap of Discouragement
"O Lord, how
long shall I cry for help,
and you will not hear?
Or cry to you “Violence!”
and you will not save?”
Do you feel stuck in discouragement? If so, you are not alone.
At some point everyone experiences dashed hopes. Disappointment--an emotional response to a failed expectation--is the normal initial reaction. But allowed to linger, it can turn into discouragement, which hovers like a dense cloud. When that’s the case, there is no sense of joy or contentment, no matter what you do.
The circumstances that trigger these emotions may be unavoidable, but the way we respond is a choice. We can either let sadness overwhelm our souls or face the situation with courage and bring it before the One who can help us.
Living in discouragement will divide the mind, making it hard to focus on anything besides our pain. Then as anger becomes habitual, we’ll look for someone to blame--whether God, people around us, or ourself.
Frustration that isn’t handled well may develop into depression, which in turn can estrange us from others--people do not enjoy the company of someone who’s bitter and defeated. This isolation leads to a low self-esteem. Finally, in a fog of discouragement, we can make poor decisions based on crushed emotions instead of truth. Obviously, choosing this self-destructive path is not God’s best for our lives.
Though we’ll all face disappointment from time to time, believers are not to wallow in it. Instead, God wants us to trust Him with everything--even our unmet expectations and deepest sadnesses. Remember, there is divine purpose for everything He allows to touch His children’s lives (Rom. 8:28).