I heard this saying once (or twice or a bunch) that you're either headed into a storm, going through a storm, or just leaving a storm. As I write this post I am so thankful that I'm finally headed out my most recent storm. Things are not great or where I would want them to be but I trust that they are exactly where God wants them and I have peace. I can't tell you how good that feels and do it justice.
The thing I battled with most during my storm was feeling discouraged. Even though I was trying to do the right things my world was still falling apart around me. The other night at church we continued a Q&A series we've been in. One of the questions submitted was; "why do bad things happen to good people?" Without even thinking I muttered "because we're all broken sinful people and we aren't good". As soon as I finished I heard the pastor say "there are no good people". Y'all I've heard this all my life. I knew this. I said this before he did. But then it really clicked…every good thing that happens in my life is a blessing I don't deserve because even when I "try" I am not, at my core, a good person.
Counting our blessings is one of the first things we should do when we feel discouraged. If we keep our focus on our problems we'll never overcome them. God is crazy faithful and we are blessed in so many ways that we often overlook because we fall into the trap of thinking we deserve those blessings. We need to take time to thank God for blessing us despite how undeserving we are.
Another reason we get discouraged is because we become overwhelmed from carrying the weight of our problems. When we try to do it all on our own we should feel overwhelmed...because we're doing things all wrong. Psalm 55:22 says: Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. When situations seem like they're too much it's because we have misplaced our focus by looking only at what we can do versus what He can do.
Lastly, I find the best way to overcome discouragement is reading my Bible. Sometimes it's the last thing I want to do (yea, I said it). In those instances I'll open up my YouVersion app, click the little speaker symbol, and have it read to me. Either way there is something so soothing about revisiting God's promises in the midst of tough times. What we're battling isn't a surprise to Him. More importantly He has a plan that includes our failures, our disappointments, and our struggles.
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2 (ESV)