Overcome Discouragement: Find A Better Way

“I looked things over.” Ne 4:14 NIV
Happy Monday! I missed you last week on the blog, but I decided to spend Labor Day with the family, and I hope you spent some time relaxing too.

Today I want to talk to you about overcoming discouragement. Discouragement is defined as a loss of confidence or enthusiasm; dispiritedness.

During the recent pandemic, people have increasingly become discouraged. Am I going to lose my home to foreclosure? How am I supposed to feed my kids when I don’t have a job? Will I be able to find a job after graduation? Will there be college and professional sports seasons this year? Will my life ever be the same again? These are the kinds of questions people are asking themselves as COVID-19 disrupted our lives in ways we could never have predicted.

For some people, discouragement has morphed into depression. In fact, the number of people seeking treatment for depression has increased markedly during the pandemic. Not surprisingly, the suicide rate is climbing as a result of the isolation caused by the pandemic. For many people, the enforced isolation has become too much to bear.  Isolation has been particularly hard on teenagers accustomed to spending a lot of time with their friends. As it turns out, social media can’t replace real human contact even for those who use it extensively.

The COVID-19 rollercoaster has had all of our emotions all over the place!

We first tried to grapple with the shock and impact on our lives. Grief for what was being lost. Anger at what was happening. Frustration that we couldn’t change things on our own. Then for many discouragement set in.

So how do we deal with these feelings of discouragement? How do we get our enthusiasm and confidence back?

Find a better way. While rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls, Nehemiah said, “I looked things over.” Realizing there were enemies to be defeated and obstacles to be overcome, he “stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows” (v. 13 NIV).

In order to overcome discouragement, Nehemiah realized they’d have to start doing things differently. They needed a new system. So he organized the people according to their gifts and strengths. Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for different results. And there’s wisdom in that. When you get discouraged, don’t give up on your goals. Instead, devise a new approach! 

Question: Was it wrong for the Jews to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem? No, they were just going about it in the wrong way! There’s a lesson here for us all. For example, do you have a problem in your marriage? Don’t give up; try a new attitude. Do you have a problem in your business? Don’t throw in the towel; look for a new approach, reorganize your schedule, and refocus on your goal. Have you ever heard of the 80/20 principle? That’s where 80 percent of your time is spent on the 20 percent of activities that aren’t productive, and as a result, you get frustrated. What you need to do is devote 80 percent of your time to the 20 percent that produces the highest results. Business managers call this ROI time—“return on investment.” So practice devoting the majority of your time and energy to the things you know bring results.

I love you like crazy,
Pastor Justin Mitchell

No Comments