5 Powerful Steps When Facing Discouragement – FREE PRINTABLE

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Does life feel hopeless right now? Are you experiencing opposition and discouragement?

Maybe you feel like giving up and walking away because walking in God’s will isn’t meant to be this hard.

I hope you take a few moments to read on because perhaps you’re about to give up right on the edge of a miracle.

Woman in grey shirt sad with head resting in her hand

I remember growing up often hearing Christians comment when things weren’t going the way they’d hoped or thought they should, “Well, that must not have been God’s will.”

Difficulty, adversity, discouragement, and opposition were all signs that what they were doing wasn’t from God.

I wonder how many of those people were right on the edge of a miracle, but gave up too soon.

Are adversity and opposition signs that you are doing God’s will? Not always.

Sometimes they are signs we’re trying to pry a door open that God wants to keep shut.

But sometimes they are signs we are right in the center of God’s will and the enemy is doing all he can to keep it from happening.

One of the things I’ve learned in my years of walking with the Lord is that in times of adversity and opposition, we cannot afford to lean on our own understanding.

We cannot afford to make decisions too quickly.

The Bible is filled from cover to cover with stories of God’s people experiencing opposition, discouragement, and adversity, but pressing through to the miracle.

  • Abraham
  • Joseph
  • Moses
  • Joshua
  • David

Just to name a few.

And of course…Nehemiah.

Right from the start, we read in Nehemiah 1 that the children of Israel have allowed adversity to stop them in their tracks.

They are living in dire conditions, well beneath what God had for them.

With Ezra, they had pressed through adversity and opposition to see the temple built.

But they didn’t engage that same determination to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

So now they are living in unprotected territory, exposed to the enemy.

Nehemiah hears about the condition of those who have returned to Jerusalem and is shattered by the news.

Instead of allowing the news of his people to lead him to despair, hopelessness, and inaction, he took five powerful steps that helped propel him forward to victory.

5 Powerful Steps When Facing Discouragement

1. Fast and Pray

So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

Nehemiah 1:4

Mourning and weeping are not signs of weakness. We simply need to be careful that we don’t allow our mourning and weeping to lead us into despondency.

Nehemiah mourned for many days, but in his mourning, he fasted and prayed.

This began to lay the groundwork for the direction in which God would lead Nehemiah.

2. Ask for wisdom

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

James 1:2-5

Sometimes we face discouragement and opposition and we don’t know what to do.

We’re not sure if it’s God’s will for us to press through, or if this is God’s way of saying that we’re on the wrong path.

In times like these, it is very important that we reject the temptation to make a snap judgment.

It is crucial that we trust in the Lord and not lean on our own understanding, and seeking God’s wisdom in these times very often requires that we pause and patiently seek God’s will.

Everything may be screaming at us to act now, but if we act too quickly, we may end up falling right into the trap of the enemy.

3. Expect opposition

And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me. So they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work. But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?” So I answered them, and said to them, “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.”

Nehemiah 2:18-20

The moment Nehemiah and the children of Israel set out to do God’s will, they encountered opposition.

We need to remember that anytime we allow discouragement to fuel our faith in Christ, and we choose to rise up in the face of adversity to do God’s will, the enemy will come hard after us.

Did we really think that the enemy would just roll over and give up?

Of course he won’t!

His main goal is to stop the kingdom of God from advancing on earth. We can expect opposition from him and from all those he animates to do his will in opposing the work of God.

4. Have a plan

When you read the Bible, sometimes you come across chapters that seem to have a lot of unimportant details.

We have to remember that nothing in the Bible lacks purpose, every verse is there for a specific reason.

Nehemiah 3 may seem boring and pointless, but what it tells us is that Nehemiah made a plan.

Making a plan doesn’t mean we lack faith in God’s power.

Many times over-spiritualize our Christian walk when in reality God uses practical means to bring about His purpose.

Making a plan doesn’t offend God as long as remember that our plans must always be surrendered to God’s will and His plan for our life.

5. Encourage yourself in the Lord

Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.

Nehemiah 4:14

One of the hardest things we can do when we’re feeling discouraged, when we’re facing adversity and difficulty in doing God’s will, is to encourage ourselves.

Many times we’re tempted to find a distraction, an escape from the pressure we’re facing.

However, our response in these times is critical.

It can be the difference between us ending up like the children of Israel in Nehemiah 1 – living beneath God’s best for us, in ruins and exposed to the enemy, or living in the overflowing blessings of God.

I love this verse in 1 Samuel 30:6, “Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. [emphasis mine]

David didn’t wait for encouragement to come to him, he went out and fought for it.

He strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

He knew where to go to find encouragement and strength. He knew it was found in God’s presence.

If you’re in a season of adversity, opposition, and discouragement, I want to encourage you to begin taking these five powerful steps today.

If you need encouragement in God’s Word and are not sure where to start, download the Bible verses below to get started.

Grab a journal and begin journaling through them.

Write out your prayers to God.

Turn to Him.

Let His Word strengthen your heart.

Don’t let the enemy paralyze you into inaction so that you’re living beneath the best God has for you.

Fast. Pray. Get the mind and will of God for your situation, then make a plan of action for how to walk through it boldly and victoriously.

Click the link below to find out how to download these 10 Bible Verses for When You Feel Discouraged.


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