How can we conquer discouragement? Let me suggest nine specific steps:
1. Look within. Prayerfully examine yourself for the underlying cause.
2. Admit that you are discouraged. It's easy to avoid, ignore, or lie about it. But denial is deadly, and it guarantees failure.
3. Identify precisely what you are discouraged about. Name it; then face it.
4. Recall the nature of discouragement. Disappointments will come and go, but discouragement is a choice that you make.
5. Begin meditating frequently on God's Word. This way, you can accurately judge what you feel by what is real (Psalm 3:2-4; 16:7-8; 63:6-8; 77:12; 119:15).
6. Take your area of discouragement to God in prayer. Ask Him to reveal what He wants to teach you in this area of your life.
7. Focus on God, not your situation. Ask Him to help you see this disappointment and its lessons from His perspective.
8. View the cause as coming from the Lord. If we understand that He allows disappointments, we can find an opportunity for growth, even in trouble.
9. Confess these three truths aloud: The Father is with me in the pain; He's in control of my life and has allowed this for a reason; He is a good God, who will turn this disappointment into blessing.
Discouragement may sound harmless enough, but don't ever underestimate its destructive power. By keeping watch, you can avoid this deadly trap. So write down these nine steps on an index card, and then review the list whenever disappointments start to consume your thinking.
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.
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Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights Reserved.