The enemy prepared a sneak attack, like a lion stalking its prey, secretly ready to pounce suddenly and render me helpless in its jaws. I was unprepared. I found myself trapped and paralyzed by a frightening enemy. I was fenced in and held captive by the over whelming anxiety that stood guard over my emotions. I was momentarily deceived by Satan's lies; an attempt to destroy my faith and destroy my witness.
Beware! The devil is an enemy that will take every opportunity to use discouragement in dealing with life's difficulties and storms. He wants to keep you trapped and paralyzed by negative emotions!
We rarely notice until we are already caught in the enemy's powerful grip. Sometimes, no matter what precautions we take or how many positive things we read or do, earthly human emotions can get the best of us and hold us captive; days when we just can't shake our negative thoughts or feelings. Discouragement often begins with an unavoidable life event that has left us heart broken and feeling out of control. It may progress until we become weak, weary and filled with despair. We may even fall into a dark hole of depression. Let me assure you that occasionally, we all have days like this, no matter what we do to avoid or deny them. That's just life on this earth. However, we can take action to side-step moving into a state of depression.
God provides a source of overcoming power through the gift of His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Being determined to be an "over-comer" will lead to wisdom and build strength with each episode until one day you discover discouragement is not a problem but preparation for you to be used by God.
God's Word offers effective "Do's" and "Don'ts. First, don't accept the lies that the devil wants you to believe. Don't accept negative thoughts that invade your mind; deflect them with positive self talk, prayer and quoting God's promises. Negativity is normal as discouragement gets a foot in the door. It does not mean you have sinned or that you are a sinner! Do recognize that you are human in an imperfect earthly body, but have access to the power of a perfect heavenly Father. Don't use up valuable energy fretting. (We all need to work on this!) Do everything possible to reject feelings of hopelessness. God is our hope. Rebuke Satan. I find it really helps to actually say the words, "Get ye behind me, Satan."
Don't beat yourself up with self-imposed guilt. Don't hide or isolate yourself. That is the direct opposite of what God instructs us to do. Do seek encouragement from your church community and support from a loving family member or a trusted Christian friend. Don't be deceived by feelings. Feelings are real, but they are not reliable. Don't listen to the voice of the accuser. You are not a failure, you are just a person in need of someone to be Jesus to you, to come along side of you with support, unconditional love, hugs and warm companionship until the darkness passes. "For He will give His angels charge concerning you to guard you in all your ways." (Psalms 91:11-NAS)
The next time discouragement sneaks up on you; trust in God, rest in the arms of a friend, and as God extends His loving patience to you, be patient with yourself. He understands your deepest need. He knew these days would come that's why He left these words of encouragement: "When you walk through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you, when you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you." (Isaiah 43:2-NAS)
See yourself as God sees you. You are an over-comer! Read His word daily. Continue to worship and praise God the Father for His saving grace, His compassionate understanding, His patience, and mercy. Give thanks for those willing to be Jesus to you, and ask God to guide and direct you to someone who needs you to be Jesus to them.