I recently noticed that I was becoming disinterested in the events of life, my responsibilities, church meetings and people. I further noticed that I was getting mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually tired. So there I was busy with life and work, yet tired, disinterested and wondering why I should keep going. And the fact that everything was by and large going well simply deceived me into thinking all is well. However, the restlessness and the disinterest was not ceasing. Then one morning it hit me, I was discouraged! When I did a diagnosis, I found the cause was a combination of little things (i.e. persisting illness, failed plans, unmet needs/wants, etc.). I prayed to God and quickly reached out to a few godly friends and mentors. So here are some antidotes that began the healing for my discouraged soul.
Repent of Pride
One brother called me to enquire what was going on, and after hearing me out said to me “you need to remember that you are dust and if you drop dead today, this world will go on just fine.” In another words, do you part and rest. There will always be something that needs to be done, but just because it has to be done does not mean I am the one who has to do it. Christopher Ash in a sermon preached at a pastors conference on burn out says, “There is only one savior in the world and it is not you.” He later says, “God has already appointed his messiah and it is not you.” In my pride I was beginning to think I am the god of my life, and if I did not get things going or get things done then the work will fail. I was rebuked to repent of my pride. As my dear wife likes to say, “stop thinking you are superman and rest!”
Remember and Savor the Goodness of God
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 136:1-3
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Psalm 42:1-5 (Emphasis added)
Meditate on the Gospel
We are often guilty of a narrow view of the gospel. Preaching through the book of Romans has given me a greater appreciation of the wonder and power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through the gospel we (condemned sinners) are saved from the penalty of sin and the just wrath of God. Through the gospel we are reconciled to God and have peace with him. The gospel liberates us from the power of sin and the law and secures us in Christ Jesus. Paul then asks, if God gave us his son what else can’t he give us by his grace? He ends chapter 8 by assuring us that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Even those times when trails are raging, the love of God is ever with us.
Take time to Sing
I love singing, and I find meditating on the great truths of the Scriptures through song can be quite encouraging for my soul. Jonathan Oatman’s old time classic was a song in season. Listen to the first stanza.
When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.