Tuesday, 14 October 2008

How to Overcome Discouragement...

It's been a while since I posted a devotional from Rick Warren, but I found the following in my Inbox this evening and I had to share it as it sums up exactly how I'm feeling at the moment - discouraged! And, amazingly enough, all the steps he talks about below are exactly what I know I have to do to overcome this latest hurdle in my life.

How to Overcome Discouragement
by Rick Warren

Then the people of Judah said, “The work crews are worn out, and there is too much rubble. We can’t continue to rebuild the wall.” Nehemiah 4:10 (GWT)

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Discouragement is curable. Whenever I get discouraged, I head straight to Nehemiah. This great leader of ancient Israel understood there were four reasons for discouragement.

First, you get fatigued. You simply get tired as the laborers did in Nehemiah 4:10. We’re human beings and we wear out. You cannot burn the candle at both ends. So if you’re discouraged, it may be you don’t have to change anything. You just need a vacation! Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is go to bed.

Second, you get frustrated. Nehemiah says there was rubble all around, so much that it was getting in the way of rebuilding the wall. Do you have rubble in your life? Have you noticed that anytime you start doing something new, the trash starts piling up?

If you don’t clean it out periodically, it’s going to stop your progress. You can’t avoid it, so you need to learn to recognize it and dispose of it quickly so you don’t lose focus on your original intention.

What is the rubble in your life? I think rubble is the trivial things that waste your time and energy and prevent you from accomplishing what God has called you to do.

Third, you think you’ve failed. Nehemiah’s people were unable to finish their task as quickly as originally planned and, as a result, their confidence collapsed. They were thinking, “We were stupid to think we could ever rebuild this wall.”

But you know what I do when I don’t reach a goal on time? I just set a new goal. I don’t give up. Everybody fails. Everybody does dumb things. So the issue is not that you failed – it’s how you respond to your failure.

Do you give in to self-pity? Do you start blaming other people? Do you start complaining that it’s impossible? Or, do you refocus on God’s intentions and start moving again?

Finally, when you give in to fear, you get discouraged. Nehemiah 4 suggests the people most affected by fear are those who hang around negative people. If you’re going to control the negative thoughts in your life, you’ve got to get away from negative people as much as you can.

Maybe you’re discouraged because of fear. You’re dealing with fears like, “I can’t handle this. It’s too much responsibility.” Maybe it’s the fear that you don’t deserve it. It’s the fear of criticism. Fear will destroy your life if you let it. But you can choose to resist the discouragement. Say, “God help me get my eyes off the problem – off the circumstance – and keep my eyes on you.”

© 2008 Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved.


  1. Paula, I'm sorry you are feeling discouraged. I know you could probably use some helping hands to provide a bit of a break, like RW said. Wish I could give you a day off!

    This was a really great post and I hope that you are able to work through some of the steps. I will be praying for you!

  2. Dear Paula. I'm sorry to learn you are feeling discouraged and hope that you'll take comfort in all the Lord is showing you through His words. Thanks for sharing that exert. And keep your eyes on Him, 'cos His are fixed on you. Blessings... Naomi x

  3. Girl, I'm gonna email you. Look for it.
    Praying for you,