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  • Writer's pictureKeith Haney

Six Simple Steps to Overcome Discouragement





Former heavyweight boxer James (Quick) Tillis is a cowboy from Oklahoma who fought out of Chicago in the early 1980s. He still remembers his first day in the Windy City after his arrival from Tulsa. “I got off the bus with two cardboard suitcases under my arms in downtown Chicago and stopped in front of the Sears Tower. I put my suitcases down, looked up at the Tower, and said to myself, ‘I’m going to conquer Chicago.’ “When I looked down, the suitcases were gone.” -Today in the Word, September 10, 1992.


If you are reading this post today, you may deal with a Tillis moment. You thought you were ready to take on the world but some event(s) have sucked the wind out of your sails. How do you get the confidence back? Are there some simple steps to take that will get you back on track? Keep reading I think the approach below will put the spirit back in your step.


The Truth about Discouragement


Discouragement can be contagious.


In John 21 we find an entire boat of downtrodden fishermen. 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two other disciples were together.3 Simon Peter told them, “I’m going fishing.”


They said, “We’ll go with you.” They set out in a boat, but throughout the night they caught nothing.”


Have there been seasons in your life when you feel stuck? Seasons when you are not productive, and as the fisherman, it’s not for a lack of trying. When we find ourselves here, we have several choices ahead. We could throw down the nets and walk away. Or we could try a different approach. Rely on someone higher than ourselves.


A Biblical Approach to Disappointment.


It is amazing how God breaks through in the middle of your brokenness, your discouragement, and your searching. For me, this song pointed me back to the truth of God’s faithfulness. Here is a portion of the song.


God is Not Done with You. by Tauren Wells


Standing in your ruins feels a lot like the end

So used to losing, you’re afraid to try again

Right now all you see are ashes

Where there was a flame


The truth is that you’re not forgotten

‘Cause Grace knows your name

God’s not done with you

Even with your broken heart and your wounds and your scars

God’s not done with you

Even when you’re lost and it’s hard and you’re falling apart

God’s not done with you

It’s not over, it’s only begun

So don’t hide, don’t run

‘Cause God’s not done with you.– Bernie Herms / Tauren Wells/ Emily Weisband


The song reminded me of a truth that seems elusive when you are going through a valley of self-doubt, and self-worth while searching for meaning and purpose in life. God dove me deeper into Him and into His Word. The verse “right now all you see is ashes where there was a flame” hit home. Discouragement leaves you in a bed of ashes. The flame is still there, and it shines bright, God is not done with you or me yet. Maybe my journey through discouragement will bless you.


Six Things to remember when you are discouraged.


In my time dealing with discouragement, I realized one major truth. I couldn’t pull the plane up alone. The strength to do this had to come from outside of me. In 1 Peter he reminds us who lifts the discouraged and recovering soul, Jesus.


10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, the one who called you into his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will himself restore, empower, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10


We find here our six lessons. Jesus himself will:



1. Restore you


The Greek word for “called” in this text is more of than an invitation. You can think of it as a divine subpoena. This divine directive invites the recipient to obey the summons, but this is not done by force. The one being called always responds of their own free will through the enablement of the Holy Spirit. God uses our struggles and trials to strengthen us.


2. Empower you


Peter reminds us grace is provided through the disciplines of life. God allows us to suffer so He can lavish His grace on us.


3. Strengthen you




Through suffering, we come to realize we can’t rely on our own strength. It leads us to lean in on God and His grace. Grace is supplied only to those who sense their need for Him. First, we suffer; then, as we suffer, He equips us, restores us, and puts a foundation under us.



4. Establish you


The Greek word “establish” is related to the word “steadfast” in 5:9. It creates an image of an athlete getting their balance and setting his/her feet just right to get a solid foundational position.


The commentator Alford translates, “shall ground you as on a foundation.” Bengel has a helpful note on this verse; “Shall perfect, that no defect remains in you, shall establish that nothing may shake you, shall strengthen that you may overcome every adverse force.”[1]


5. Be your refuge


The name of the Lord is a strong tower;

the righteous man runs into it and is safe. [2] Proverbs 18:10


This verse presents us with a picture of a central fortress. In times of danger, the surrounding community could take refuge in fortified cities. As Christians, we are baptized in the name of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Triune God is our strong tower and we are safe from the storms of life and the attacks of spiritual enemies.


6. Finish what he started




And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. [3] Phil. 1:6


The final step to recover from discouragement is found in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. He of the ongoing process of growing in the Christian’s life (Phil 2:12). This section is highlighted because since God began a work of Christian growth, evidenced by their giving, he would complete that growth. The lesson for us is in the struggle God is growing up and as the song points outs, “He is not done writing your story.” See this part of your life as a part of His Divine plan. The best is just ahead. I know I can see the dawn on the horizon.


[1] Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 11, p. 132). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. [2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Pr 18:10). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles. [3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Php 1:6). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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