Lately, I hit a phase of discouragement. I have looked at where my life is, and felt some discontentment. A project I have been working on for over a year now seems to bear little to no fruit. What am I doing, Lord? Am I imagining things? Is this all a story I tell myself to feel better?
Then I thought about you, and I know you must have those moments too. I looked in my Bible for some encouraging words, and also looked at women who inspire me much and gathered some of their words so that you and I can feast on power and truth and be encouraged today.
Priscilla Shirer—Going Beyond Ministries
In a recent Vlog, Priscilla skillfully draws a practical application from the story of Paul in the book of Acts. In short, he is on the road to Damascus and gets blinded by a light. It is Jesus Himself, Who then speaks to Him, and this encounter totally changes the course of Paul’s life. Priscilla encourages us to seek to be, like Paul, “blinded.”
“I want to be blinded to my own pursuits, to my own ambitions, to my own interests. I want to be blinded to my fleshly desires…”
What we expect for our lives may not be what God has in mind for us at this very moment. We have to accept His design for our lives. When we do that, and focus on Christ, knowing He is good and faithful and His salvation alone is enough, the hardship is no longer as hard.
Oh God, blind us to our will and our ways, and let us embrace You and You alone. You are our reward. You are enough, Lord.
Lisa Bevere—Messenger International
Also in a Vlog, Lisa powerfully reminds us where discouragement comes from, and that the enemy of our souls works hard to deter us from accomplishing God’s purposes for our lives. At times, we are the architects of our misery, but we cannot forget that we also have an enemy who is at work to kill, steal and destroy.
“Right now, if you’re feeling discouraged I think it’s because you forgot where you get your courage from.”
Let’s shake off the lies that feed discouragement and let’s remember the truth of God’s Word for our lives. Let’s remember who and who’s we are. God is not finished with us, yet.
Father, forgive me for letting fear and discouragement creep in when clearly You have a plan for me. Yet, knowing it and seeing it can be two completely different things and I need your help to live by your truth and by faith. Lord, have mercy on me.
In Proverbs 31, we read the description of a “Wife of Noble Character” (New Living Translation).
This text can be difficult for some to read. For one, not all of us will be wives. Also, the standard described in that chapter can seem unattainable. I personally am rarely interested in reading anything that puts pressure on me as a woman considering what our culture already tries to make us carry. I mean, gender roles and all, they rarely make me comfortable. All I want is to be whom God created me to be. I think that the best way to approach this text and be encouraged, is not to look at it as to magnify our flaws, but rather to set goals to grow into, and even find power to build our identities in something other than what our ever-changing world is expecting of us.
Verse 25 says,
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”
Can you imagine it? Can you feel the power of such clothing? You are wearing a garment of strength, you are cloaked with dignity. The fibers of such clothes are fused with your being. It doesn’t depend on circumstances; it is who you are.
Lord God almighty, help me see it. Help me live according to my true identity. Help me look beyond my feelings of inadequacy. Your joy is my strength. In You, I find all I need.
In the first chapter of his letter to the Philippians, Paul begins with a greeting and then adds Thanksgiving and prayers for them. He thanks God for what he knows to be true in the life of his fellow believers.
In the sixth verse, Paul says,
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
You already know what it means. It never hurts to remember it once more, especially in times of discouragement. What God has started, He will keep on doing. You see, whatever ministry or project God has given us, really is not about us. It is about God reaching lost souls through us. Simply said, God lovingly partners with us and gives us the great honor of participating in such a crucial mission. This very mission is so much more important to Him than it is to us. He already knows our flaws and failures and works with us despite it. Isn’t it awesome that we get to do this? That we get to partner with the Master of the universe in a cosmic plan larger than life as we know it.
Lord, what a blessing to do Your will and partner with You. Thank You for caring so much and for never letting go. Let me be teachable as you equip me for Your mission. Let me be humble as You are doing this for Your glory alone.
Many places in the old testament, we can find promises of the coming of Christ. A prophet who was generous in such prophecies is Isaiah.
Isaiah 7:14 says,
“All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means, ‘God is with us’).” (NLT)
The odds of all Old Testament prophecies being fulfilled are humanly impossible to achieve, even if one was that intentional about it. You may have heard of a mathematician and scientist by the name of Peter Stoner, who calculated the probability of Bible prophecies being fulfilled in a person.
For only eight of the Old Testament prophecies to come true in one human’s life, it would be as probable as covering the whole state of Texas in two feet deep of silver dollars with only one single of those coins marked, and send a blind folded person in to travel as far as they want and by luck, they stop, pick a coin and find the one marked dollar. Chances that this happens? Second to none. Yet, Jesus had about 353 prophesies about him confirmed and lived out. That makes His promises more reliable than anything else ever promised to us. He is Immanuel, GOD WITH US. That means there isn’t a second He is not walking by our sides, interceding for us, whispering to our ears, rocking us to sleep and keeping us from falling.
The spirit of discouragement will tell you, “then how come you have sleepless nights?” or “You’ve fallen before, where was your God?” The answer may be “I’ve eventually found sleep because of Him. He has quieted my soul, He has taken away my shame.” And also, “When I’ve fallen, I was able to get back up. Sometimes, I don’t even know by what means. God is with me, always.”
Father, remind me daily of Your presence with me. Though my brain knows You are here, my heart is failing me, filling up with fears for tomorrow. Change my heart, God!
Power of Testimonies
Finally, another good way to fight discouragement is to remind ourselves of what God has already done for us. You might even want to read testimonies of people whose lives have been touched by God. Put such things before your eyes and then you will be able to tell yourself:
Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God!
Psalm 43:5, NLT