The Trap of Discouragement

Habakkuk 1:2

Do you ever feel stuck in discouragement? If so, you are not alone.

At some point, everyone experiences dashed hopes. Disappointment—an emotional response to a failed expectation—is the normal initial reaction. But allowed to linger, it can turn into discouragement, which hovers like a dense cloud. When that’s the case, there is no sense of joy or contentment, regardless of what you do.

The circumstances that trigger these emotions may be unavoidable, but how we respond is a choice. Either we can let sadness overwhelm our soul or we can face the situation with courage and bring it before the One who can help.

Living in discouragement will divide the mind, making it hard to focus on anything besides our pain. Then as anger becomes habitual, we’ll look for someone to blame—whether God, people around us, or ourselves.

Frustration that isn’t handled well may develop into despair, which in turn can estrange us from others—people do not enjoy the company of someone who’s bitter and defeated. This isolation leads to low self-esteem. Finally, in a fog of discouragement, we can make poor decisions based on crushed emotions instead of truth. Obviously, choosing this self-destructive path is not God’s best for us.

Though we all face disappointment from time to time, believers are not to wallow in it. Instead, God wants us to trust Him with everything—even unmet expectations and deep sadnesses. Remember, there is divine purpose for everything He allows to touch His children’s lives (Rom. 8:28).

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