We all have expectations of ourselves and of others, however, sometimes things in life do not allow us to reach those expectations, and from that can come discouragement.
Discouragement is a terrible burden on oneself. It is a loss of enthusiasm and is a sense of unhappiness that arises from a loss of confidence in one’s own abilities.
Over the past month I have been challenged with overcoming discouragement. Some things I prayed for, worked hard towards, and believed would happen with all my heart did not turn out the way I expected them to. Some of these things I prayed so hard for either did not happen, or I got the opposite result to what I had requested and expected.
The reality was, if discouragement comes from a betrayed (personal) expectation, I had to remind myself that maybe this situation didn’t turn out the way I intended it to because God had other plans.
Overcoming discouragement is not an overnight fix. It is something that must be carefully consulted through prayer and petition with God.
It is the act of handing over your problems, your worries, and your discouragement to God and allowing him to clear your mind and fill you with peace.
Discouragement often occurs when the expectation/s we have are unsuccessful or do not come into fruition the way we intended. It also generally happens when there is a resistance to the gospel, injustice occurs, or there are instances of personal failure.
I have experienced many moments in my life where what I expected to happen did not happen, and therefore I had to face the aftermath of that lack of achievement. I have also experienced moments where the discouragement from a situation has overwhelmed and unsettled me.
In Luke 24:13, after Jesus’ burial, two of his disciples were walking to the town of Emmaus trying to understand everything that had just happened. They were overwhelmed by the events of Jesus’ death, considering all that had happened and what will happen.
Jesus himself came up to them and started walking alongside them asking them what they were discussing together (Luke 24:17). The disciples were so overwhelmed by what had happened that they didn’t realise the man walking with them was in fact Jesus.
This passage perfectly portrays what happens when we are so focused on the things that overwhelm us that we forget to focus on Jesus and recognise Him walking with us.
Open your eyes
The passage continues to tell us that Jesus began talking to them, interpreting the events that had just transpired through the scriptures (Luke 24:25-27).
The disciples later discuss their conversation with the man on the road in Luke chapter 24 verse 32— ‘Then their eyes were opened and they recognised him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
When we feel discouraged, we need to open our Bibles and start with the Scriptures of God. Our eyes will be opened, and our hearts will burn with the faith and hope of God and replace our feelings of discouragement, confusion, and fear.
I am so grateful to know that even during my moments of discouragement and confusion, Jesus reveals Himself and walks with me.
When situational alterations occur, I cannot afford to be overwhelmed by the ‘what-ifs’ and ‘how could this happen’ or ‘I prayed so hard about this’.
When the things I expected to happen don’t happen, it is hard to know exactly what to do without feeling discouraged, but I ultimately know that each alteration in my plan is a successful redirection in God’s plan for my life.
I am SO grateful for these alterations because God ultimately knows better than I do, and He knows what I truly need and what is best for me.
Whatever the situation may be, the Bible is clear on what to do when we face discouragement. Here is what God tells us:
Philippians chapter four verses six and seven says, ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’
Hebrews chapter 12 verse three says, ‘Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.’
Proverbs chapter three verses five and six says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.’
Isaiah chapter 26 verse three says, ‘You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.’
When I feel discouraged, I focus on the middle word — courage. Courage is how I overcome my discouragement, and that courage is only found through God.
Joshua chapter one verse nine says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Psalm chapter 31 verse 24 says, ‘Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!’
So, take courage, dear heart. God is our strength and our shelter. Be grateful for all He has done and continues to do, and surrender your discouragement to Him, so that your heart may burn with faith, hope, strength, and courage.
Psalm chapter 18 verse one, ‘I love you, Lord, my strength.’
Cartia Moore is a sword fighter, trained and skilled in the art of fencing. She has recently graduated from her Bachelor of Arts degree and has completed an Honours in Screen & Media Studies. She is now going on to do a Master of Teaching (Secondary), focusing in the teaching areas of English and Film studies. She is passionate and driven to inspire and encourage others to seek and find their worth and value in Him.
Cartia Moore’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/cartia-moore.html