You slam your fist on the bench in frustration. But the pain your feel is outweighed by the ache in your heart.
You missed the final cut. No one turned up to the gig. Another communication breakdown. Another round of treatment failed. You prayed. You believed. You gave your all.
SEE ALSO: How to Listen to the Strong Voice Inside You
But it didn't happen. Let down again.
Alone. Hurt. The emptiness profound.
SEE ALSO: 3 Ways to Kick Start the New Year
You cry, scream, take your frustration out on a workout, but the confusion remains. Once so full of hope, and now you're struggling to find the strength to go on.
You worked so hard, invested so much of yourself - for what? An empty dream.
SEE ALSO: 3 Lessons to Learn When You’re Stuck in the Hallways of Life
You feel discouraged.
Hey, who hasn't? We all do. We've all wanted to give up and throw in the towel. But for some it is more than a flickering feeling. It has been a state of existence, for a very long time. A cloud that follows you everywhere you go. Raining on your parade.
Discouragement isn't a sin. Of all one's vices discouragement seems relatively harmless. But it is the somewhat harmless nature of discouragement makes it even more dangerous.
So Moses told the people of Israel what the Lord had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery (Exodus 6:9).
Discouragement was the story of the Israelites. They witnessed the devastating plagues, walked through the Red Sea, ate manna, yet the miracles weren't enough. When they saw the giants, they cowered in shame because they couldn't believe the promise God gave Abraham, and vowed over and over to them.
The children of Israel did not live in true freedom. Wandered without a home. Never received Gods promises. And died.
They died in the wilderness because they refused to listen and could not let go of discouragement.
That scares me. I hope it scares you, because discouragement is a killer. It cannot go on unnoticed. It cripples warriors and devastates the best of us.
It's time to deal with discouragement before it deals with you. Discouragement killed a generation. You've got to determine you will no longer be a slave to discouragement.
Here's the thing about discouragement - you don't choose it. Discouragement somehow finds you. Now you have it, you have to choose to let it go. Discouragement will not disintegrate on its own. It requires extraction. Rip it out and get rid of it for good.
So how do you kick discouragement to the curb?
Now you've decided there is no room for discouragement, it's time to proactively replace the space it occupied with other far more beneficial habits.
1. Be Strong and Courageous
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9).
When the Lord spoke to a new generation he commanded them not to be discouraged. Discouragement stopped their parents from taking the Promised Land. And it will stop you from possessing all God's promises.
Replace discouragement with strength and courage. And I'm not talking about savvy mental strength, but his strength, his courage. The God-kind of strength comes only through the Word. Meditate on it. Hide it in your heart. You will be successful.
Today calls for you to be strong and courageous. God is with you. So what if you failed? Who cares if this is the tenth time you've applied for a promotion? Be strong. Be courageous. Not discouraged.
2. Hope and Praise
Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God! (Psalm 42:11)
Discouragement robs hope and builds doubt. It will keep you in the wilderness wandering outside the promises that are rightfully yours.
There is only one way to rebuild hope - put your hope in God. Not in your ability. Not in others failing. Not in a new medical breakthrough. God. Hope in him.
You do that through praise. Praise gets your eyes off your circumstance and onto the majesty of the Creator of the universe. It reminds you of his goodness and the blessings in life you have already seen. Praise will save you from the giant of discouragement and get your eyes focused on the Promised Land, and the Promise-Giver. Turn up your favourite worship album and get your praise on.
You are not a slave to discouragement but a blood bought child of God. Refuse to be like the generation of Israelites who wandered aimlessly in the wilderness. Release your discouragement. There is a Promised Land for you to take. Be strong, courageous, hopeful and in the mood for praise instead.
Are you ready to deal with discouragement?
Sarah Coleman is an Aussie passionate about Jesus. Download her FREE eBook, Be Amazing: You Know You Want To and find more of her thoughts at sarahcoleman.com.au.
Publication date: April 16, 2015