How to Survive Discouragement

Recently, I descended into some pretty dark places emotionally. I wish I could tell you how to quickly bounce back from that kind of discouragement, but I’m still sorting things out myself. So I’ll just share three insights and three soft suggestions on how to survive discouragement. If you will add your wisdom to the mix, perhaps we can all help each other.

To Feel Discouraged is Human

“The best poets write many more bad poems than the bad poets.” – W.H. Auden

I would do anything to write bad stuff consistently. I know it’s better to produce Version One than version none. And that the first draft is the worst draft. And that you can’t revise what you don’t write. That’s why I set aside a whole month to lock in and get creative stuff done.

But I failed.

And I’m here to tell about it in hopes that my experience will draw us closer and give you hope. Because while you and I have unique experiences, discouragement isn’t one of them. Even the biggest and best athletes, artists, and change agents face discouragement. It may be a small comfort, but if you find yourself in a funk, you’re not alone.

Here’s Soft Suggestion #1: Tell Your Story: Think about where you’ve been, what you’ve overcome, and how you did it. Then share how you survived those times of discouragement. It can be therapeutic both for you and for others.

Discouragement Can Snowball

“In an avalanche, no single snowflake feels responsible.” – Stanisław Jerzy Lec

Discouragement can be can be triggered by many things, such as…

* Work Stress
* Money Woes
* Friend Drama
* Family Heartaches
* Heartbreak in Love
* Bad Health
* Absence of Fun
* Spiritual Battles
* A Rough Living Situation

Last month, for instance, I had high hopes for rest, learning, and productivity. Then I got sick. Then sicker. Each time I thought I was turning the corner, I suffered a setback. Bad health disrupted family time, a fun trip, and getting work done. It’s also cost a lot of money. I wondered what God was up to. And still do.

When a setback triggers stress in other areas of life,  you can quickly feel overwhelmed. You may not be able to put a finger on exactly which snowflake triggered the onslaught, but you’re buried just the same.

Soft Suggestion #2: Write Your Story Down. Dust off your journal. Write a poem or a song. Paint or draw a picture. You will find encouragement in the magnitude of the storm you’ve survived.

Discouragement Hits Like a Heavyweight

“Time can bring you down. Time can bend your knees. Time can break your heart. Have you begging please, begging please.” – Eric Clapton

This has not been my greatest series of trials. Not even close. But I can’t deny how discouraged I got, how bleak and hopeless my outlook became. I got hit in the mouth by life. Then a torrent of body shots made my knees buckle and down I went.

Have you been there?

I always kind of chuckle when I think of the place in Psalm 23 which says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” At key times, it seems God has used illness to make me lie down. I haven’t liked it one bit, but transformation has happened. Pain will test us, try us, and refine us. Many times our agenda is productivity, while His is transformation. One way or another, He makes us lie down.

Soft Suggestion #3: When Time Bends Your Knees, Pray.  Wrestle with God. Cry out to Him and beg, “Please.” It won’t be fun. And in the end, you’ll walk with a limp. But you will rise up and walk.

Tell Your Story Here

You’ve known disappointment and discouragement. But you survived it and are here to tell the story.You are a survivor. And as such, you have something to say.

Would you share a story of discouragement and what helped you survive? Click on “Comments” and sharing a story of any length.

Your story can save a life.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • I am not sure it is a discouragement but a time of reflection as I turn 70. A time of remembering when I turned away from God because of pain, hurt and abuse but he never let go. A dark death of the soul. I often think of the Psalm ” Yea though I walk through the valley of death”. A time of remembrance for all the healing he has brought to the family as he walked with us both spiritual and physical. Now I am turning my focus from Earth bound to heaven bound. I don’t know how much longer he has written for me but I praise and thank him for each morning he gives me. Billy Graham wrote a wonderful book called Nearing Home. Now I run to his loving arms instead of away. Now as the final chapter is being written I wonder where he will call me. How do I serve in these final days. Let me be a good steward of my time and resources. May I always be a blessing to my family and those around me.

    • For most of us, birthdays with 0’s in them lead to reflection. Looking back will cause all of us to wince at points, to be sure.
      “Nearing Home” sounds like a good book. Maybe that’s a theme you’ll write more about (I think you’re a wonderful writer). My hope is that you have many great years to enjoy and to bring people joy, in your signature way. Thanks for sharing your reflections here.


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