The dictionary describes discouragement as the act of being deprived of courage or confidence, being disheartened, or to hinder by disfavoring. Encountering discouragements and disappointments are normal emotions we all experience, even believers. However, we must guard against allowing them to negatively effect us. Psalm 137 is an example of what happens when discouragement and disappointment creep in.
Psalm 137:1-9 NKJV
“By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down, yea, we wept When we remembered Zion. We hung our harps Upon the willows in the midst of it. For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, And those who plundered us requested mirth, Saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How shall we sing the Lord’s song In a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, Let my right hand forget its skill! If I do not remember you, Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth– If I do not exalt Jerusalem Above my chief joy. Remember, O Lord, against the sons of Edom The day of Jerusalem, Who said, “Raze it, raze it, To its very foundation!” O daughter of Babylon, who are to be destroyed, Happy the one who repays you as you have served us! Happy the one who takes and dashes Your little ones against the rock!”
The Israelites were taken into captivity and while there they became discouraged over their situation. They longed for the way things used to be and for what had been taken from them. They allowed the memories of the past to consume them so much that they stopped praising God. God is worthy of praise no matter what our situation or circumstance. Believers must praise God even in difficult ties.
Today there are believers that long for the past to such a degree that they have become discouraged in their spirit. They mourn for the past and in so doing they no longer praise of worship God the way He deserves to be worshipped. Basically they allow their circumstance to determine if God is worthy to be worshipped and praised or not. Discouragement with circumstances, family, friends, God, and with yourself are all a part of life. However, God can turn that discouragement into something positive if we allow Him to.
Psalm 30:11-12 NKJV
“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.”
Things To Remember
* Be truthful concerning your disappointment.
* Take a time out – sometimes being physically tired or weak can lead to discouragement.
* Take negative thoughts captive.
* Use Philippians 4:8 as a guide to your thoughts.
* Don’t replay the past over and over in your mind.
* Don’t dwell on your situation.
* Don’t place unrealistic expectations on others, or yourself.
* Remember that the disappoints and discouragements of this life are temporary.
* Don’t try to understand why things happen the way they do.
* Have a thankful heart.
* See things through God’s eyes.
* Draw closer to God (through prayer and reading His Word) – allow God to refresh you and encourage you.