Even in the best of times, discouragement can happen. No need to look any further than Elijah the prophet. After one of the greatest moments of his life where God showed up big time, Elijah dealt with discouragement.
In case you don’t know this story, in 1 Kings 18 there was an epic showdown between which god was better – Baal or the God of Israel. After the prophets of Baal failed to “wake” him up and cause him to act (I Kings 18:25-29) Elijah took over in 1 Kings 18:30-38 and God responded by bringing fire from heaven to consume the burnt offering Elijah had prepared. It was a powerful display of God to everyone. And the people responded. I love verse 39.
And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.” – 1 Kings 18:39
This was an amazing victory. Great things were going to happen now, right?!? WRONG!
Right after this event where God showed up in a really big way, discouragement set in. See once Jezebel, the Queen, found out, she made sure Elijah knew she planned to kill him. This caused him to run away and flee. After all that God just did, he became discouraged and hid.
The reality is discouragement will happening your life. It does happen. Even in the best of times we can get discouraged in life or in our ministries.
So what do you do when you get discouraged in life or in ministry? How can you overcome it? Here are some ideas:
Find people who will encourage you with Truth. Discouragement can simply be an act of the Devil. I don’t want to over-spiritualize this but Satan wants nothing more than for God’s people to be discouraged. So he will attack us even in those high moments. That is why you should seek out a trusted friend or ministry partner who will be honest with you and share if what you are “down” about is true or not.
Seek Christ. This should never be underestimated or undervalued. Christ, the one who faced such opposition and hate from people can help us no matter what kind of discouragement we face. Trust in His Truth and promises and do not let Satan stop you or slow you down.
Remember victories. One of the things I love about what the Old Testament Israelites did was that they constantly made memorials of all the times God did something awesome. They did that so that they could remember God’s victories. In the same way, when we get discouraged, we need to remember the victories God has done in the past. That way we can remember and be encouraged that God can do any and all things. Take time to remember the past victories.
Get some rest. I have realized that times in which I get discouraged is when I am running on empty in my spiritual and physical life. Take a mental health day off, especially if you are working too much. Sleep in if you aren’t getting enough sleep. Whatever kind of rest you need, take it.
Exercise. Exercise is a great way to burn off disappointment and discouragement. I don’t know how it all works but there is something inside of you that brings positive energy to your body when you exercise for at least 20 min. So go for a run, take an exercise class or bootcamp or simply do some free weight exercises. Whatever you can do to get your heart pumping and energy going through your body will help.
These are just 5 things you can do and I’ve done all of them in one shape or another when I have been discouraged. They all help in different ways. So the next time you get discouraged, do these and see how God turns that discouragement into encouragement.
What about you? What do you when you are discouraged to break free? Share your thoughts below or social media using #ymsidekick to share.