This article was written by state missionary Rob Jackson.
If we are honest with ourselves, there are times we are discouraged. We have all been there. Perhaps you are discouraged right now. There are several steps and strategies I take to find comfort, support, and renewed strength in the midst of discouragement:
1. Take a Prayer Walk.
Not only does God use this time in prayer to provide a sense of peace, but also the Lord uses the fresh air and exercise to put things in proper perspective.
2. Read Scripture.
Delving into the Bible and meditating on its teachings provide guidance and strength. Many stories within the Bible depict the struggles of people of faith and how they overcame them.
3. Worship God through music.
Worship music calms the soul and readjusts your thinking to the majesty and splendor of the Lord.
Inhale deeply, hold your breath for seven seconds and then exhale slowly. Repeat this breathing seven times. Ask God to flood your life with His peace as you breathe in and out.
5. Turn the person(s) or circumstance(s) over to God.
Trust Christ to make all wrongs right (preferably now 🙂 ) in His timing.
Writing down your thoughts and emotions can be a helpful way to process what you are going through. It can also serve as a record of your journey and how you have overcome challenges in the past.
7. Get away with your family for an evening (or several days).
Unplug from social media. Without occasional “breaks” from the stress of the ministry, you can experience burnout. Taking time off or setting boundaries can help prevent discouragement.
8. Seek spiritual guidance and prayer support from trusted friends.
Turn to fellow pastors, mentors, or close friends for guidance and support. Moreover, their prayers will lift you up!
9. Remind yourself that you have the victory in Christ.
This trial will pass. Your temporary troubles will one day be gone.
10. Create a gratitude list.
Write all the blessings that come to mind. Take time to thank God for each of them. I am amazed at all God has given me…things such as enjoying a cup of coffee, indoor plumbing, food to eat, my family, salvation, and I can go on and on. T. W. Hunt was with me once, and he confessed that morning that he realized he had never thanked God for his toothbrush!
11. Finally, if needed, seek professional biblical counseling.
It’s important to remember that you are not immune to feelings of discouragement and “dark nights of the soul.” Seeking help and support is not a sign of weakness but humility and a commitment to your well-being.