Thursday, October 14, 2010

Battling Discouragement

I knew that Brian would be struggling with discouragement during his job search, even before I saw signs of it.  It is common for those who are experiencing some type of challenge to struggle with discouragement, so I determined to stay focused on ways to keep Brian encouraged.  The first inkling of discouragement showed up Monday morning, just as he woke up:  "Well, today is the first day in over 20 years that I have not earned a wage."  Uh-oh.  I knew I'd better start praying, and that I'd better stay focused on God's Word.

Monday and Tuesday were not so bad, and Brian worked diligently on job searching.  He's very organized and thorough, so I knew that he would have a plan for networking and making contacts within the construction industry.  His recruiter already had an interview set up for Wednesday, and we found out today that it went very well.  Somehow, in the midst of all of this activity, though, Tuesday night he was hit with a terrible wave of discouragement. I could tell you why, but I would rather tell you how we dealt with it, because this is more useful

When dealing with discouragement, your most powerful weapon is the Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17), the Word of God.  Our greatest challenge to overcome is our own self-talk.  In order to battle the negative things that we are tempted to tell ourselves, we must stay rooted in what God's Word really says.  For example, when we are tempted to think that the future is hopeless, God's Word says in Jeremiah 29:11 that God's has plans to give you a hope and a future.  If we tell ourselves negative things, we will believe negative things--both about ourselves and about God.  I encouraged Brian to read the Psalms, and to focus on the positive aspects of grace, forgiveness, and victory that are found throughout the New Testament.  Hebrews 11 is about the people of God who, in faith, believed God, and saw amazing things happen in their lifetime. 

Another way to battle discouragement is to have fellowship with other godly people.  Be choosy about who you spend time with and what you participate in. Brian's discouragement stemmed from an experience in a negative setting.  How we spend our time, and who we spend our time with, is crucial.  To that end, Brian is talking with contacts on the phone, but is spending time in fellowship with other godly men in his industry.  He has made it a point to encourage other believers who are out of work, as well.

Spend time in the sunshine!  Go outside and enjoy the beauty around you.  If the weather is not fine, find an activity that uplifts you, like an art museum or a worship service.  For me, sewing is something that I love.  I also like to draw and to garden.  I have places that I go to in my area where I will be inspired by beauty.  My favorite garden store always perks me up, even if I don't buy a thing.

Bless others.  Be a blessing, and be open to receive a blessing.  Don't hold back when it comes to encouraging others. When we feel down, it is tempting to focus on ourselves.  This is dangerous to us, both spiritually and in our fellowship with others.  If we focus on our difficulties, we run the risk of alienating ourselves from others.

Many blessings,

Jennifer

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for JUST encouraging me! XO!

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  2. You're welcome, Carolyn! Thanks for following!

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