Are you dealing with disappointment?
Dr. Crawford Loritts, senior pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, GA, delivered words of wisdom on dealing with discouragement at The Noble Man Roanoke Conference in Salem, VA in February. As we navigate our way out of this current crisis, his message is especially timely.
What is Discouragement?
The courage has been knocked out of you. The wind is out of your sails. It feels like a gut punch, and you start operating with governors, slipping further into passivity. Sound familiar?
Dr. Loritts explains the key to overcoming discouragement is making right choices.
“Passivity is your enemy.”
Emotions are important and are great passengers but poor drivers. We have to will ourselves to make the right choices, but how?
Here are 5 Choices You Have to Make When Discouragement Comes Knocking on Your Door.
1. Choose Truth over Feelings
It begins in God’s Word. The Bible has to be the lens through which you see all of life.
Psalm 1:2 shows us what we need to have a solid biblical foundation for making choices based on truth and not feeling.
“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” Psalm 1:1-2 NIV
- Choose to delight in the law of the Lord.
- Choose to meditate on it day and night.
We have to settle the issue that God’s word, and no other circumstance, is the context of my life. In other words, “My identity is scripture.” Just like the Psalmist, the reality by which we see all of life is God’s word.
2. Choose Joy
Don’t misunderstand the concept of joy. Joy in the Bible is independent of our circumstances and tied to that which cannot be affected.
In the book of Philippians, Paul reminds us over and over again to rejoice! History tells us his circumstances at the time. He was writing from jail, and ultimately he was beheaded, and yet he exemplifies choosing joy no matter what.
- Joy is not denial of the circumstance or pretending everything is ok. Joy is not letting those circumstances jerk us around. It’s deciding our joy comes from that which can never be affected.
- Joy doesn’t mean you don’t feel sorrow. You can be joyful and feel the pain of loss, but you don’t weep as those who have no hope. Sorrow is tempered by an eternal constant.
3. Choose Faith
Sometimes we get discouraged because what we are hoping for has become an idol. It is the manifestation of misplaced confidence.
- Real faith is not in circumstances, it’s in the God who will bring you through those circumstances.
- Faith is not denial. Nowhere in the Bible is faith denial of reality. Faith defies reality, and it sees through it to the One who is in control.
- Faith does not allow our experiences to determine how we respond to God. He allows shrapnel to be thrown into our lives, and you must choose… are you going to believe, trust, and walk with God?
4. Choose Community
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NIV
As men, we tend to lean towards isolation, and “nothing good ever happens to a man when he’s by himself.” Isolation breeds distorted thinking, an exaggeration of circumstances, and causes us to lean toward a martyr’s complex.
We have to be deliberate in this season of mandatory distancing, that we don’t fall into isolation. Get into a small group, even if it is virtual, and be intentional about finding community. The Bible is clear, we need one another, and we need to run towards the body of Christ.
5. Choose Service
Yes, even when it feels hard, do it because you’re called to do it, not because you feel like it. Who told you to quit?
Psalms 126 reminds us that we will have to serve even in pain and sorrow, but we will reap a reward.
“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.” NIV
Yes, it is sometimes healthy to pull back and take a sabbatical – to a point. But God says to keep moving. Sow in tears, and they become the holy fertilizer God uses to bring a bumper crop.
Dr. Loritts’s message brings solutions for “when,” not “if” we face discouragement. It is a fact of life, but as Christians, we don’t have to be branded by that discouragement. Ravi Zacharias once noted, “Everyone is thinking with their feelings.”
Ultimately, overcoming discouragement begins with choices, not feelings. What decisions are we willing to make?
To hear Dr. Loritts’ encouraging message, access the The Noble Man Richmond Virtual Conference HERE.
For Wellness and Counseling Resources, visit our Wellness page HERE.