Having faced discouragement myself this article is not some pie-in-the-
sky theory, but it is information that has helped others overcome
discouragement. Depression and oppression are all too real for those facing
such problems, and though knowledge and recognition of what needs to
change is the initial step, it will in itself never be enough. Real wisdom
through application needs to occur and not just mental assent. Hopefully,
what follows will provide the keys to such application and any lingering
lethargy can be faced and a step by step endeavor to overcome this problem
can take place. A word of caution: If the problem being faced is extremely
serious, it would probably be best to see a doctor.
What are you telling yourself?
All of us speak words to ourselves that either encourage us with impetus to
move upward and onward, or to denigrate ourselves and tear us down.
When you look in the mirror every morning, what do you say to yourself? Is
it in essence “I am blessed” or is it “I am cursed”? Interestingly enough,
your self-talk is partly a product of your environment and partly your own
assessment of yourself. Sometimes it is positive and other times it is
negative. Recognizing and identifying what many have called the self-talk
in your life is an initial step to turning around discouragement. Tell yourself
that there is hope no matter what negative circumstances you face and begin
the process to a turnaround. Pinpointing the destructive self-criticism and
cutting it off is a crucial first step in this process. Becoming upbeat and
positive begins to transform the darkened thinking patterns you have
wallowed in and creates new channels of thought. Stagnancy transforms
into productive growth.
Rely on God.
Almost no one can make the necessary changes relying on your own
strength. Most Alcohol Anonymous members acknowledge that you must
call on a Higher Power. This power, though, needs to be specified to work
deeply in your life. You connect to this Higher Power, or God, through faith
in Jesus’ death for your sins and faith in his resurrection power. It is only in
welcoming the Holy Spirit or what the New Testament Greek identifies as
dunamis power that you can begin to strengthen your inner being to help
fight off those negative attitudes and temptations. Remember that it is only
God’s standard you need to be concerned about. Everyone will have
opinions, but your help, as the Bible says, comes from the Lord who made
heaven and earth.
There is an entity that wants to destroy you; fighting off its negative,
intrusive thoughts and temptations to despair are critical. The devil is that
enemy, and his lying whispers must be confronted. The name of Jesus and
the blood he shed for your sins are mighty defensive weapons that you can
use in this fight. Cover your ears, your mind, your home and your life with
the blood of Jesus and you will develop a protective shield that can come
from nowhere else. I have even used this approach as a teacher in tough
classrooms pleading the blood of Jesus over students’ chairs and the whole
room. Doing this on a regular basis has freed me from those spirits of
unruliness in the classroom and personally from oppression and depression.
Another avenue of hope lies with friends and communities that encourage
you. Like-minded upbeat Christian friends and churches can bring renewal
and reinvigoration seldom found elsewhere. Spend time with positive
friends and avoid those who constantly gripe and complain. In addition,
worship and prayer sung and spoken in a community of believers, or even
just with one other person, can help blast apart any lingering darkness and
release the light of heaven into your life. The more you grow in faith, as you
gather in the company of Christians, the more you can withstand any
temptation to return to a place of little or no hope.
Off and on for a number of years I worked in what many would label one
of the most repressive countries in the world. In fact, twice while going
through customs my Bible and other Christian materials were taken from
me, and I was fined. Nevertheless, while I worked there, I found relief and
even joy in reading the Bible(if I had one) and listening to Christian music.
In one locale, my best friend was fired because of his faith, but in the midst
of his predicament he taught me that trouble often brings transfer and with
transfer usually comes promotion. Now he is on track to becoming the head
of a university if he so chooses. His divine perspective and lack of
bitterness in spite of how he was treated will possibly bring advancement.
He is not stuck in a place of unforgiveness; he is ready for any opportunity
Here is a practical list of ideas that may be helpful to those wallowing in
the doldrums of life:
1) Watch an old favorite movie, preferably a comedy.
2) Remember in your mind some of the times and/or places that brought
the most enjoyment.
3) Revive an old hobby you enjoy and do it on a regular basis.
4) Call and talk to a friend not to share all your bad news but to
encourage and uplift him or her.
5) Plan a party for relatives or friends or find some other opportunity to
6) Read a favorite book again or listen to your favorite music.
7) Do something you have never done before.
8) Create your own list of ideas for overcoming discouragement.
When you are content in spite of problems you may destroy any unrest
that lurks nearby. There is great peace for those who thank the Lord for
what they have. I have found some of the happiest people in the poorest
lands. In Western society where striving for more and more possessions
often rules lives, such contentment allows rest to permeate what may have
once been envy and avarice. Allow the peace that can only come through
knowing Jesus as Savior and Lord fill up any empty spaces that bring
discontent. Such prevailing peace remains one of the greatest blessings
My last suggestion for overcoming discouragement is to get a vision for the
future. The Bible says that people perish because of lack of vision. A vision
to help others or develop and use your God-given talents can help bring the
extraordinary out of the ordinary. It is through the development of your gifts
that you become all God intends for you to be. When you act with unlimited
potential and vision, life becomes full of surprises and opportunities.
Craig Dressler is available for speaking engagements and can be reached at