At the height of one of his greatest victories, Elijah suffered one of his worst moments of internal defeat that was so bad he wanted to die. Discouragement is something we all have to contend with at one point or another in our lives. Often, it will hit us when we least expect it.
So what do you do when life happens to you as a believer especially in the workplace?
Here are a couple of practical ways I’ve used to get through my rough days:
My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” – Psalm 42:3 ESV
Do acknowledge how you feel.
In our attempt to be good Christians, we can easily forget that it is God who gave us our emotions and they don’t lose meaning in our salvation. Jesus Himself acknowledged that we would indeed experience troubles in this world. But His statement didn’t end there.
He undergirded the reality of our tribulations in the truth of victory – we are to take heart (be encouraged) because He has overcome the world. Whatever comes our way, His victory is our victory.
This is a fundamental caveat. To dwell in our feelings without the context of God’s truth about us and our lives is a pitfall we need to avoid. Our feelings are based on our limited perspective of life as human beings and it takes God to give us sight beyond that which is right in front of us. It is when we are introduced to truth that we are able to cast our burdens to Him.
Acknowledge how you truly feel to God. He can take your anger, frustration and disappointment better than anyone else can.
Do spend (extra) time in the presence of God.
Sometimes discouragement is our spirit sending out an alarm that it’s running on empty and in need of eternal perspective. If this is something that happens constantly, then you need to reevaluate how regularly you spend time with God. Your spirit is only strong to the degree you have fed it with the word of God in its various expressions from the Bible to a conversation with friends.
I don’t believe that anyone or anything can come into the presence of God and leave the same way. Something changes in you even if it doesn’t immediately manifest in your situation.
How your time in God’s presence looks like is really up to you and Him. But saturating yourself with worship music is certainly a good place to start.
Do let someone in.
From the days of the Bible, from the Old Testament right through to the New Testament, Kingdom living has always been modelled in the context of the community. We need each other if we are going to succeed in Christian living as God intended.
When we’ve stumbled and lost our bearing for a moment, the voice of a friend to remind us who we are in God and who He is in us can be the lifeline we need to get back on track.
Where words are not sufficient, and there are many times they won’t be, to have someone who is willing to sit with us as we process our heartache and grief matters just as much.
As I always say, don’t expect other people to do this for you if you are not willing to be there for them when it matters.
Do remember that a difficult day/week does not make a bad life.
Facing one thing after another in rapid succession can have you feeling like your life is just one insurmountable mountain. But our lives are far more than the sum of our problems.
One of the most practical ways I’ve found to help me do this is to literally count my blessings. To stop in the midst of my funk and enumerate all the ways that I can see God’s goodness in my life notwithstanding the circumstances I’m in. Why it works is because it shifts my focus from myself and my problems to God and His power at work in my life.
Again, this isn’t a denial of reality. It is expanding my perspective of reality beyond the problems screaming in my ear to the work of God that continues silently on throughout my life.
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
– Psalm 42:11 ESV
My prayer for you is that no matter what comes your way in the course of your work day and work week, you will remember to put your hope and trust in God.
Make time to pray for someone who is experiencing discouragement in some area of their life this week.