I posted about the “Top 5 Sources of Discouragement” and I discovered many of you resonated with the same sources that I deal with myself. So here are some ways in which I work on overcoming discouragement (these are not in an order of importance) …
1. Have a person, or small group with which to share and pray. Currently I meet every other week with 5 other men who are in ministry. We share, pray, guide and encourage one another. We pray for each other throughout the week and we laugh together a lot. This group is vital for my spiritual, emotional and mental health.
2. Do something for someone else. When I begin to feel sorry for myself one of the surest ways to begin climbing out of that pit is to serve someone else. The serving takes the focus off of me and I focus on someone else. Often as I do something for someone else I am reminded of how blessed I am. Discouragement can lead to self-pity which causes me to focus only me and when I focus only on me I magnify my discouragement.
3. Have some other interests. Having something else to do that engages my mind helps shift my focus for a while. When I come back from whatever it is I feel refreshed and that helps with the discouragement. For me it could be going fishing, reading just for fun, going golfing or exercising. I can head off discouragement by scheduling some time for these other interests before I am discouraged.
4. Prayer. Remember, I said these were not in order of importance. What I am speaking of here is to pray specifically against the discouragement. Also, when I pray for others I once again take the focus off of me and onto others. Part of my praying must include a time of praise which also moves me from “navel gazing” into my own issues and gets my eyes up where they should be.
5. Evaluating the reason(s) I am discouraged. When I am discouraged I need to take some time and evaluate how I got to this point and see if there is something I need to change in me. Just like when I am criticized I need to find the truth in the criticism and make changes. I have to be careful and fall into the trap of just blaming someone, or something, else for my discouragement. It is rarely that simple.
What have you found helpful in working through discouragement? Leave a comment, I know this is not an exhaustive list.
Here’s hoping you are not stuck in discouragement and that if you are discouraged I pray that these steps will help you navigate your way through it.