Defeating Discouragement

From time to time I have a moment to consider problems a bit more deeply. Flowing from a few of the verses in Hebrews 3:1-6, I thought your day could use a lift. Maybe you are wrestling against discouragement? I hope the following will help you defeat it.

A simple orientation shift, a focus adjustment, has to take place. Discouragement is the result of self-focus. In other words, you look at life and decide how it should go. You prop up your fulfillment on the backs of something or someone. When those people or things fail, you become frustrated. Once frustration with what you didn’t get turns to anxiety over what you may not ever get, you become discouraged. So discouragement is unmet expectations stretched over time. So how do you defeat discouragement?

First, you need the correct expectations. Those expectations have to lean on promises that will endure. If your expectations rest on someone or something, you are in danger of discouragement. Likewise, timing combines with discouragement to move you out of the emotion of frustration and into the state of discouragement. To feel disappointed is emotionally necessary because you have to trust in people and things that cannot and do not endure. To be frustrated is normal because you have to expect changes in circumstances and people as they occur over time.

Discouragement, however, is the result of thinking you own the expectations and the timing. Discouragement is sin to be defeated because it is the result of self-focus. The discouraged say, “this is a right expectation” and “this is the right timing” without yielding those strong emotions to God. We ask God questions such as, “You promised, so when will it happen?” or “This is what should happen, so why did it not succeed?” The first question is the frustration over timing and the second is the unmet expectation, combined they lead to discouragement.

When we are discouraged, we tend to seek a remedy to the time problem or the expectation problem. Instead of changing our own basis for expectations and our own estimation of timing, we suppose those two considerations were right, and we are entitled to them being met. Men leave their marriages because “they deserve to be happy.” Teens give in on their moral standards because “its time they got what they wanted.” Hebrews 3:1-6 lays out the truth. Expectations belong to Jesus and so does the timing.

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