By LESLIE LUDY
Have you ever heard the voice of Discouragement whisper accusations to your soul? “You are a miserable failure,” he mocks. “You aren’t doing anything right! Look at all the mistakes you are making!” Discouragement loves to point out all our imperfections and get us to wallow in doubt, depression, and self-pity as we analyze and dwell upon all our mistakes, big or small. His ultimate goal is to get our eyes off Jesus Christ and onto our own shortcomings. The enemy loves to see Discouragement turn us inward and place our focus on self, instead of where it should be … on Christ, and on others. I can relate to this struggle all too well, and I’d like to share a few ways that have helped me tune out Discouragement’s relentless noise, and tune in to the truth of Jesus Christ!
When Discouragement puts the bait in front of me to become dismally introspective, I have found that it is crucial to say an immediate no to that voice, and immediately shift my focus to serving or helping someone else. It might be as simple as taking a few minutes to get my focus off myself by praying for an unsaved loved one or lift up the specific prayer needs of my husband, children, and extended family. Or I might take some time to write a quick note of appreciation or encouragement to someone in my life. Making the deliberate choice to bless someone else through prayer or encouragement can go a long way in preventing discouragement from turning me inward and gaining a foothold in my soul.
Rejoice in His Perfection
Being a set apart woman doesn’t mean being perfect. It means becoming dependent upon the only One who is. So when Discouragement hits, I’ve learned that my response should not be self-justification or self-defensiveness. Rather, I must simply stand firmly upon the fact that, as child of God, I am in Christ Jesus – and He is perfect, even though I am not! (See Romans 8:1.) When Discouragement baits me, I am learning to meditate upon His perfection, rather than dwelling on all my imperfections! It is a tremendous blessing to realize that being in Christ means that I have access to the throne room of grace – not based on my merit, skill, talent, or ability to be perfect – but simply because I am clothed in His righteousness. I often turn to the Psalms for this purpose, especially the ones that focus on the majesty, glory, perfection and faithfulness of our God, such as Psalm 29, 96, and 103.
Remember the Power of Prayer
If there is a particular area that I’m feeling discouraged in (such as my kids’ inability to sit quietly in church which makes me feel like I’m failing as a mother in that area!) I find that wrestling in prayer over that issue does wonders for my perspective. When I allow Him to carry my burdens, rather than racking my own brain for a solution, I discover a peace that passes all understanding! A lot of times, when I am not sure what to do about a particular challenge, simply praying about it consistently will bring the answer I seek – whether God gives me a practical solution, or whether He simply changes circumstances supernaturally. I have found that no area of my life is too small or insignificant to bring before Him in prayer, and He is always, always faithful to meet my every need as long as I am faithful to cast my cares on Him.
If you have been listening to the voice of Discouragement lately, I encourage you to drown it out by basking in the glorious, hope-filled, life-altering reality that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!