Discouragement happens to all of us. It can feel like a pit too deep to scale and can lead to despair if you don’t know how to climb out.
All of David’s friends blamed him for the kidnapping of their children. They wanted to stone him, and friendless David fell into a pit of discouragement. The Scriptures say he encouraged himself “in the Lord His God.” (1Samuel 30:6) What does that mean? What would that look like for you?
Discouragement is like an old lady with bad breath, amnesia, and terrible vision. The bad breath represents negative talk. Discouragement tends to speak in extremes, “It’s ALWAYS going to be this bad. I’m NEVER going to get better.” In the face of an omnipotent God, extreme statements like those are inappropriate. Hannah, barren and bullied, chose to believe neither of her disadvantages was permanent because she knew Someone greater than both of them ( 1Samuel 10-18). Back to David, Can you hear him reminding himself that even though all his buddies were against him, God tipped the scales in David’s favor? God is always greater than any odds stacked against you. To encourage yourself in the Lord, speak the opposite of what your negative thoughts say.
Old Lady Discouragement has a sort of amnesia, forgetting all God has done in the past. Your present situation may be pitiful, but it’s just a set-up for what God wants to do. Going for a walk to clear his head and to save it from the threat of stoning, I imagine David reminded himself of God’s power through the lion-and bear-killing infusion of his youth and the countless rescues from King Saul’s spear. Perhaps the psalmist dusted off an old hymn stored in the back of his mind and hummed, then whistled, then shouted it so loudly that the mice of discouragement scuttled back to the dark pit from which they came. To encourage yourself in the Lord is to itemize what God has done in your past and to recognize He has not yet finished your story!
Finally, Discouragement wears dark glasses with dirt on the lenses and only sees darkness when she looks to the future. Her problem is that she views everything as if God is dead. You can remove the dirty sunglasses of doubt when you remind yourself that God’s presence fills every corner of your future with hope and that He’s making good plans for you! (Jeremiah 29:11) Encourage yourself in the Lord by switching on the blazing light of His promises and letting them lead you out of the darkness of your discouragement (Psalm 27:13).
God has an antidote for every poisonous drop of discouragement, but you must reach for it. Do away with Old Lady Discouragement. Be like David and encourage yourself in the Lord!