Has your discouragement level increased in the last year? If so, you are not alone. Most of us feel discouraged when expectations go unmet.
But if we become disillusioned, apathy sets in. Hope and dreams are cast aside.
Believe me, I know this pattern from experience. And I bet you do too.
For many, discouragement comes packaged in watching those you love in personal trauma and our culture in crisis.
Plus, a worldwide pandemic has changed what we expected our life to look like going forward.
When you have certain expectations for yourself, another, or a situation and they don’t happen, your heart grows sick (see Proverbs 13:12).
Sometimes you need to allow yourself to grieve when hope is dashed. Other times expectations involve a promise that God has given you, and for these, you need to stand in faith.
I find that discouragement hits hardest when our hopes for our kids and grandkids grow dim.
We expect that the values we hold dear will be embraced by those we love.
When they set those values aside and embrace others that we find unhealthy, we begin to wonder if God’s promises for our family will ever be fulfilled.
An ancient story
There’s an ancient story found in Jeremiah 29:1-14 of exile, hope, and the dangers of becoming discouraged, disillusioned, and disinterested.
When Israel was taken captive and exiled in Babylon, God gave them instructions and a promise. He told them to settle down and multiply and bless the cities where they were taken into exile.
After 70 years, they were to call upon God, and He would bring them back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.
Part of that promise said,
The exiles knew this promise. It was God’s will for them and their families.
But as they began obeying the Lord in building houses, marrying, and having children, the enemy of their souls resisted their efforts.
For many, returning to Jerusalem seemed like a forgotten dream of their parents and grandparents. These children and grandchildren of the promise grew content in their current life situations.
Instead of fighting for the future, the children of Israel grew apathetic. After all, Babylon wasn’t that bad.
As the people allowed the enemy to gain a foothold, three things happened.
They became discouraged
False prophets begin to arise among them in Babylon who “reworded” God’s promises. The people started to ask why God would want them to go back and rebuild the temple in the first place.
They became disillusioned
Time passed. Life began to feel normal. After all, it didn’t look like the promise of returning to Jerusalem would happen any time soon, so why plan for it?
They became apathetic
As the situation progressed, they stopped caring. The Israelites got too comfortable in Babylon and set God’s promises aside.
Thankfully, God rose up Daniel near the end of the 70 years, and Daniel began to pray the promises into existence. As a result, many Israelites returned to Jerusalem to live and rebuild the temple.
How to reverse the downward slide of discouragement
This progression of events often happens in our own lives if we do not guard what the Lord has already told us.
Here are 3 things to do when discouraged, disillusioned, and disinterested:
1. Discouraged? Do this:
What promises has the Lord given you? Review them. Let those promises ignite your hope.
2. Disillusioned? Do this:
Envision those promises. Daydream about them. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18 KJV). Become a Daniel: pray into existence the promises God has given you.
3. Apathetic? Do this:
Recharge your interest with spiritual tools to help you move forward with the kind of faith that moves mountains (Matthew 17:50). You’ll find various courses providing the tools you need at the Legacy Lounge.
- What hopes and dreams have you set aside?
- What promises of God are sitting dormant in your Bible?
- Finally, what are you going to do about your discouragement?
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