Encouragement for the tired and discouraged
Today’s article first appeared on JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com on May 23, 2019.
Before you dive into today’s post, I have some fun news! My friend and super talented author and speaker Grace Fox and I have become the hosts of the Bible Study Tools Your Daily Bible Verse podcast. You can listen HERE.
Discouragement, fatigue, and feelings of defeat are perhaps the most powerful destroyers of vision and derailers of faith. These emotions, often fueled by negative thoughts, cripple God’s people. I know this, because I have let momentary setbacks, lack of results or response from others hamper my productivity – my obedience – on numerous occasions.
This morning I made a list of my biggest challenges with obedience:
- Focus on results rather than obedience. If I dig into the root of this obstacle, I find that I have probably forgotten that the wisdom of God is greater than mine, that He is always present, that He is always making His plans, and in His sovereignty, will make sure everything runs smoothly. as he wishes. And since He knows best, the results, whether judged “successful” by human standards or not, will be good because He is good.
- Allow my identity to be linked to this “thing”. It’s interesting, or maybe sad it would be more precise, how often I entangle who I am with what I do and what I don’t do. When I turn to distinctions, roles, or outcomes to define myself, my security becomes unstable and my confidence subjective.
- Focus on others – what they are doing or not doing – rather than leading from God. When God calls me to something, especially if it is difficult or requires persistence and sacrifice, my eyes may start to wander. I can start to compare my mission or my results with others.
- Tired. Sometimes I just need to rest in the presence of God.
- Fear of failure. This fear entangles challenge one with challenge two. To overcome this fear, I must shift my focus from results to obedience and remind myself, whatever the results, that this role or achievement does not define me. I belong to God, I am chosen by Him for an eternal purpose, and He will perfect everything that concerns me.
God addresses each of these obstacles to faith in Daniel chapter 10. Daniel, a prophet living in a foreign land during a time of oppression, was devastated by his plight. He cried out to God, acknowledging the sins of his people and asking for forgiveness and restoration. (Daniel 9). God responded by telling him that more destruction would come. And Daniel fell into a three week depression. (Daniel 10: 2).
God did not respond by changing his situation but rather by centering him in his love. In the midst of Daniel’s despair, a man dressed in white whom some believe to be Jesus himself, appeared and said, “Daniel, you are very precious to God” (v. 11). “Do not be afraid,” he said, “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong !’ »(V. 19).
I love that this man said twice to Daniel, “You are precious to God. You are precious to God.
How often do we need to hear these words? When we do all we can to raise responsible, Christ-loving children, but they rebel against us. Or when we faithfully carry out our work responsibilities every day, but colleagues or perhaps a hostile boss continually stand up against us. Or maybe when we follow everything the doctors tell us to do, praying for healing daily, and yet the tumor is growing.
At times like these, it’s easy to feel discouraged and deflated. Completely alone. But God says to each of us, “You are precious to God. Do not be afraid. Be encouraged! To be strong!”
What are you facing today? Do not fight this battle alone. Tap on Jesus and remember, you are precious to Him. He stands beside you and precedes you. He hears you and sees you and promises to never leave.
For those who wish to follow my Bible reading (largely following chronologically with Ezra, although Daniel 9, which is expected to fall on the fifth day, is presented first to correlate with today’s message):
First day: Daniel 9
Day 2: Haggai 1
Third day: Haggai 2
Day four: Zechariah 1, 4
Day five: Ezra 5
Day 6: Spend a day reviewing, journaling, and praying about what God has shown you during your day of Bible reading.
You can use these questions, taken from Wholly Loved ‘ Become his princess Bible study, as a guide every day.
Who are the main characters in this passage?
What does this passage reveal about the human condition, for example:
- Humanity’s rebellion against / obedience to God?
- Humanity’s attempts to meet their needs outside of Him or by relying on Him for their needs?
- Mankind’s attempts to reach Him on their own terms?
What does this passage reveal about the nature of God?
What does this passage reveal / might reveal about God’s plans?
How might this passage reveal humanity’s need for the gospel?
How do you / were you like one or more of the characters in this passage?
What would God want you to know from this section of the scriptures?
What could he ask you to do?
Want to join the Wholly Loved Facebook community to connect with other women who draw closer to Christ, find a place to authentically share your struggles and celebrations, and explore God’s truth? So click below! Find us HERE.
Jennifer slattery is a writer and speaker who animates the Faith over fear Podcast. She spoke to women’s groups, Bible studies and writers across the country. She is the author of Building a Family and many other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com.
As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she is passionate about helping women experience the freedom of Christ in all areas of their lives. Visit her online to find out more about her talk or to book her for your next women’s event and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE and be sure to connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.