Discouragement hits all of us at times. The disappointments and challenges of life leave us feeling drained and dismayed. We've all been there. The question is, how do we bounce back from discouragement?
The psalmist David is a remarkable example of resilience. Chased by Saul, attacked by enemies, and haunted by his own weaknesses, David cried out, "O, God, You are my God' early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You, my flesh faints for You, in a dry and thirsty land with no water" (Ps. 63:1). David then goes on to give us specific choices he made to cultivate a resilient heart. These choices are as imperative for you and me today as they were for David in ancient Israel. If we make these four choices consistently, we will be able to victoriously bounce back from the most difficult life-circumstances.
Choice No. 1: I will thirst for God.
"My soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you" (Ps. 63:1b).
When life slams us, it's easy to run to our coping techniques. We find ourselves crying out, "I need shopping therapy" or "I need a stiff, hard drink." We don't like pain, so we automatically run to whatever numbs us. David runs to God instead. When life falls apart, the most natural impulse is to run to our coping mechanisms. Instead, choose intentionally to run to God. Train yourself—the harder the problem, the more time in His presence. As we spend time in His presence, He exchanges our discouragement for hope.
Choice No. 2: I will set my thoughts on God.
"I remember you on my bed, and meditate on You in the night watches" (Ps. 63:6).
Had any sleepless nights lately? Troubled thoughts interrupting your sleep patterns? Set your thoughts on God. The apostle Paul echoed this principle in Philippians 4, when he wrote, "whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think on these things" (Phil. 4:8). As you look at the characteristics listed there, who has all of them? Only God Himself. When you have sleepless nights, set your thoughts on the character traits of God. Praise Him and watch your faith rebound.
Choice No. 3: I will sing.
"I sing in the shadow of your wings" (Ps. 63:7b, NIV).
Sounds cheesy, I know. But next time you're discouraged, bust out the tunes. Sing in the shower. Turn on music in your house and watch what happens to your attitude. Try it. When Steve and I were in Finland, a pastor explained to us that during a tough season in Finland's history, the people began to sing. As they sang, courage rose in their hearts. Some of the most beautiful music was created out of the chaos of that dark season. The same principle holds true in your life and mine. Part of why David, the writer of this psalm, was so resilient was because he sang.
Choice No. 4: I will cling to what I know to be true about God.
"My soul clings hard to You; Your right hand upholds me" (Ps. 63:8, MEV).
When discouragement hits, cling to what you know to be true about God. You've staked your faith on some of those truths. When you feel discouraged or defeated, remind yourself of why you believed in the first place. What drew you to put your faith and trust in Christ? Go back to those foundational principles and remind yourself. Then watch your faith rebound.
Friend, the truth is that we're all going to have days that feel dark and discouraging, but you can be resilient! Your faith in a God who is good and who loves you will sustain you through the darkest of times. So take courage. Try some of these choices the next time you feel down and see what happens!
Becky Harling, an author, certified speaker, leadership coach and trainer with the John Maxwell Team, is an energetic and motivational international speaker inspiring audiences to overcome their greatest life challenges and reach their full God-given potential. Her most recent book is How to Listen So People Will Talk. Her husband, Steve Harling, is the president of Reach Beyond, a nonprofit organization seeking to be the voice and hands of Jesus around the world.
This article originally appeared at beckyharling.com.
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