INSPIRATION: 4 Ways to Stay Encouraged
We don’t have to go far or travel long before we encounter discouraging situations. Daily news reports are filled with occurrences of trouble in the lives of both young and old. There are all kinds of abuses of God’s people, and of His creation, His animals, and His natural resources. Respect for others and regard for life seems to be a thing of the past.
There are also the events we experience in our personal lives which, if left unchecked, could easily usher in discouragement. But in order for us to be spiritually, mentally and physically healthy, we cannot allow ourselves to rest in discouragement and linger there. We must never allow the pride of age, titles, positions, or status to prevent us from seeking and getting the help that is needed.
Help could come from various sources, such as:
- God’s Word
- Professional Christian counselors and therapists
- Trusted friends
but whichever method we use, we must personally participate in our own deliverance from discouragement.
Here are 4 ways we can reflect upon God and keep ourselves encouraged:
- Have a “Psalm 42 Conversation” – One way we can keep ourselves uplifted is to have a “Psalm 42 conversation” with ourselves where we reflect, question, and make decisions to change our outlook. Psalm 42:5-6,8 – Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again—my Savior and 6 my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you— 8 …each day the LORD pours His unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing His songs, praying to God who gives me life. Psalm 42 helps to remind us that there is no other source except God to place our hope in; for He in whom we place our hope must be stronger, greater, wiser, and more powerful than we are. Our source must be greater than man, so that we can always come back to Him as needed.
- Praise Him! When we reflect upon how God has made it possible for us to have a relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ, it enables us to praise Him out of our discouragement. We must decide that no matter the situation, we will praise God again, for that brings a refocusing of our minds. Until we gain the strength to praise Him from the mountain tops, our initial praise might be just a whisper. As it only takes a mustard seed of faith to ignite the power to move mountains in our lives, it only takes a mustard seed of praise and reflection to move us from discouragement to encouragement.
- Meditate on His goodness. With redirected attention on God, and reflection upon who God has been to us, we gain strength. When we reflect on His committed promise to continue to be with us, we gain strength. And when we reflect on how blessed we are to be the Sons and Daughters of God, our reflections become the “tow truck” to pull us out of our ditch of discouragement.
- Keep a praise journal. When we keep a praise journal, we can reflect upon and remember how God pours and lavishes His great love over our lives each day. No matter how numerously and miraculously we have been blessed by God, we can’t remember them all! This is why we need to record them to reflect and remember them. Satan does not want us to remember them, for in so doing, we are strengthened to overcome discouragement and depression. Keeping a praise journal helps us to reflect upon and remember God’s blessings in our lives for our own peace of mind, health, strength, and spiritual victory. It also helps us in our ability to glorify God on earth, to complete our God-given assignments, and to demonstrate Kingdom living.
Yes, there may always be something to discourage us and make us sad. But there are also so many more reasons to have faith and be glad. Whatever our situation is, there are worse situations which would make us gladly bear our own crosses, rather than the crosses of others. We have to remember that God is ALWAYS with us, and has brought us too far to leave us now. He will enable us to overcome the sting of whatever situation we are going through, and we cannot help others until we first help ourselves.
Dr. Tonya Lewis has been a member of West Angeles Church of God In Christ for over 40 years. She serves on-staff as the Executive Director of Bereavement Ministries. She holds both Honorary Doctorate and Earned Doctorate degrees. Dr. Lewis has been teaching the Overcomer’s Bible Fellowship for over 34 years at West Angeles, along with other teaching venues.