As fall’s days grow shorter, does your patience get shorter as well? Does nippy weather make your spirit snippy? Whether your blah days can be traced to gray weather or to difficult circumstances in your life, here are a few tools to help you weather trials of discouragement.
Cover the Basics. How are you sleeping? Eating? Exercising? You can be sure that mothers of young children, women in stressful careers, or anyone battling worry is a prime target for discouragement cause by exhaustion. Certainly, exhaustion was one reason Elijah became so downhearted before he reached Brook Cherith.
Vitamins B and C play important roles in helping you sleep well and feel rested. Fatigue, irritability, and insomnia are a few of the symptoms linked to a deficiency in these vital nutrients.
Although exercise may be the first thing you skip when you feel short on time or energy, exercise can help you sleep better at night. And aerobic exercise activates brain chemicals that God created to help you. So getting your heart pumping is an important part of resisting discouragement.
Avoid whining. As I struggled with discouragement, I was the queen of “poor, pitiful me.” I didn’t want advice! I reacted to Biblical truth like a cowering puppy. I was desperate for “encouragement.” I wanted distraction. I wanted my circumstances to be easy and my burdens light. The more sympathy I received, the deeper my need for it became. Trust me, no amount of hand-wringing r back-patting will suffice. Instead,
Give Thanks. Keeping the focus of yourself (even in your private prayer life) will not fill the need you feel. Make a short time each day to pray about your worries and discouragements, and then move on. Keep the rest of the day for praises only.
Consider keeping a journal of things you can be thankful for, and then pray through it. Or, pray through David’s psalms of praise. No matter how terrible you feel, you can be thankful that God gives you air to breathe and that atoms hold their shape only because He wills it.
Think on Truthful Things. “Whatsoever things are true,…think on these things” (Phil. 4:8). As discouragement set in, it’s common to think, “if God really loved me, He wouldn’t let this happen.” Dear sisters, when all that you see, feel and hear is “evidence” that God does not care, does not have power, or does not understand, choose to depend on God’s Word instead. God tells us He does understand our hurts (Heb. 4:15), He is in control of our circumstances (Ps. 115:3), and He is making perfect decisions for us (Psalm 19:9).
Beloved, God has made you His precious daughter by His good grace. He wants you to enjoy an abundant life (John 10:10). Take comfort. God’s grace is greater than discouragement – and dreary days won’t last any longer than He allows.
Written by Karen Dye. This article was published in the Fall 2006 edition of The Beautiful Spirit magazine.
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