“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
I think discouragement is one of the biggest gateways for a foot hold to set in. When I feel tempted or like my mind is drifting to negativity, I’d ask God what was going on. The funny thing, he wouldn’t respond with, “Well, you’re just sinning a lot and you should probs stop that.” No. He responded by saying, “You’re getting discouraged. You have discouragement.”
This frustrated me SO much! Why? Because it seems like such a silly thing that would be a gateway for sin… I mean, it’s not like I’m actively doing something wrong. I’m just feeling down because things aren’t going the way I thought and they certainly aren’t moving as fast as I thought.
I realized discouragement is one of the greatest tactics of the enemy to get us off the path of our purpose. It’s one of the greatest ways for us to lose focus on God and focus on our calling and living a life of love and move in to a place of giving up. Once you give up, it’s a lot harder to be effective.
I think, as a single person, especially in your mid-twenties and up, it can be really discouraging. You’ve seen most of your amazing friends get married and now they’re even having kids, and you’re still waiting for a man to say hi to you… outside of the guy at the local coffee shop who takes your order in the morning (these are cherished interactions).
Maybe you’re single and love it but feel like you’re constantly being put down for it and now you’re questioning if there’s something wrong. Maybe you’re not feeling ‘completely single’ and you’re actually interested in someone and you’ve maybe even gone on a couple dates, then they fall off the face of the earth. Or you just feel like your life is riddled with ambiguous mixed signals… Like, one second I’m sure we’re in love, the next I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even recognize who I am… What the heck?
Fighting discouragement is one of the most important things we can do in any area.
How do we fight discouragement, then, since it seems like such a big deal?
3 Tips for Fighting Discouragement:
1. Worship and Song
“David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6
The other day I was discouraged about something completely unrelated to being single and I was talking to God because I was really stressing out. I just knew I needed to put on some worship music, sing, and the atmosphere would change. It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Just listen to some instruments and a vocalist and you’ll feel so much better and have you spirit ministered to at the same time… You know what? It worked. Within 15 minutes I was feeling renewed, encouraged, AND I had new perspective. It didn’t necessarily make the struggle any easier, but it did give me renewed hope. It removed the discouragement I was feeling. Pick songs that are in line with your struggle/songs that are about honouring God because, it’s all about him at the end of the day.
2. Be Encouraged and Be an Encourager
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Hebrew 3:13
If you know someone who’s discouraged— whether that be about being single or work or anything, start by encouraging them. Find things to do with your friends that will energize you and make your heart happy. It’s so good to encourage others and we often get encouraged by it. At the same time, don’t be afraid to ask for some encouragement.
I just recently emailed a lady I used to go to church with and asked her for a word of encouragement. She responded and my heart was truly blessed. It was a little reminder of exactly what I needed.
3. Prayer and the Word
“7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
Since I’ve recognized discouragement is the problem, I can pray in the opposite spirit and pray in the encouragement!
Sometimes it’s not about casting something out, rather it’s about praying something in. Pray for encouragement, faith and boldness.
Really get in the word. There are so many scriptures targeted towards discouragement, but I really think the difference comes from being daily refreshed by God’s Word and his wisdom. I can’t tell you about how often I’m encouraged by a scripture or story that seemingly has nothing to do with what I’m currently experiencing. I know being in the Word produces fruit beyond what I can see in the moment as well.
With prayer, it’s all about focus. Focus on praying for encouragement. Really get honest with God and dialogue your situation with him. When things are the toughest, it’s good to have a group of friends who you can reach out to for prayer. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a married person pray for you (like they have some special anointing they can rub off on you), sometimes it’s nice to pray with a single person (they really… I mean really get what you’re going through and can really target the prayer accordingly).
Don’t forget to send me any questions you may have and I’ll do my best to answer them here.