Tag Archives: why so downcast

Building Up Your Inner Self

One thing I know is for certain: Life happens. The comedian Mark Lowry asked the question, “What is life?” He then responded, “Life is a series of emotions, a mountain after a valley, a wife to feed, a husband to clothe, children to raise, a boss to put up with, car notes, taxes, April 15th. Life is life. Christ said, ‘I’ve come to give you life…. more abundant!” He shared that as believers, we aren’t exempt from the things life brings. In fact, we might experience more of it. Our mountains seem to be higher and our valleys lower. It’s important in those times that you have the inner strength to endure what life throws at you.

Jude 1:20-21 says, “But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith, by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched. (MSG)” Jude knew we would experience life and he told us to pray in the Holy Spirit. Building your self up to withstand what life brings starts with prayer because prayer keeps us centered with God. It keeps our eyes off of how big our problems are and on how big our God is. In those times, we can keep our arms stretched out in prayer for balance instead of pulled tightly to our side ready for the fall.

Another thing we can do to strengthen our inner man is to have others pray for us. Letting others know that you’re struggling is not a sign of weakness. There are times when we lack the fortitude to face alone what life throws at us. We need other believers who can pray like Paul did for the Ephesian Church in Ephesians 3:16. He said, “I pray that from His (God’s) glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength from His Spirit. (NLT)” Have other believers pray that God would give you strength to endure. When you don’t have the strength to lift your head to Heaven, others do. Allow them to stand in the gap for you.

Finally, remember what God has done for you in the past. Thinking of the times that God has brought you through already will build up your inner strength to get through life’s problems. In Psalm 42:6, the psalmist said, “My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you. (NIV)” He then finishes the Psalm talking to himself saying, “Put your hope in God.” He is the source of our inner strength and in times of weakness, His strength is made perfect. He hasn’t failed you yet and He won’t start now. 

You may not be able to see past what life has in front of you right now, but God can. You may not have the strength to endure it, but God can give it to you. When the waves keep crashing against you, when the valley seems too dark and you’re emotionally drained, God is right there with you. His Word will be a lamp to your feet and light to your path. His presence will surround you in the chaos and give you peace where there is none. You can be centered in Him in the middle of life’s biggest storms because of prayer and hope. Don’t let go. Remember the God you serves I’ll give you strength to endure. 

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Encouragement For The Discouraged

Getting discouraged is something we all face in life over and over again. It can come from not getting the job we wanted, being rejected by someone, unanswered prayers or unmet expectations. It’s a mind game really. Our thoughts after a disappointment determine how we feel and how we feel determines how we behave. The more we behave in a disappointed manor, the more our thoughts takes us down the hole towards depression. Those thoughts lead to worse feelings which translate into worse behavior. It’s a downward spiral that’s hard to get out of. I’ve been caught in it before and here’s how I found my way out.

The first thing is to recognize the negative thoughts when they come in and to stop them. II Corinthians 10:5 tell us to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. The Message says, “Fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the life shaped by Christ.” We can’t let destructive thinking roam free in our minds. We have to capture those thoughts, emotions and impulses that affect how we feel and bring them into captivity. To overcome discouragement, we have to quit dwelling on those thoughts and replace them with the promises of God.

The next thing we need to do is refocus our attention on God. David felt very discouraged after having been anointed king of Israel because instead of taking the throne, he was hiding in caves being pursued by the man he was replacing. He spent a lot of lonely nights wondering where God was and why He wasn’t fulfilling His promise. David called out to his inner man and challenged himself. In Psalm 43:5 he said, “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again!” You choose where to put your hope. If it’s in yourself or someone else, you’ll be disappointed. If it’s in God, you will not be.

Finally, surround yourself with people who will lift your spirits and stay away from those who will take you further down the hole. In II Corinthians 7, Paul was being persecuted and was feeling discouraged. He was going down the depression hole when God sent him Titus. In verse 7 he wrote, “But God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged us by the arrival of Titus.” To me, nothing helps pull me out of the darkness of discouragement that fellow believers bearing light. We are meant to help each other by bearing each other’s burdens. If you can’t find someone in your circle who can bring that light, pray that the God who encourages the discouraged would send someone your way to encourage you.

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