DEALING WITH DISCOURAGEMENT AND SADNESS #2

In the first instalment of this article, we acknowledged that sometimes one may have some legitimate reasons to be in low spirits. But we stated some important facts about our moods, not the least of which is that God has commanded us in His word to rejoice in Him always (Phillipians 4:4). In view of that, it is imperative that we don’t resign to the dumps nor recline in them. How do we do that, that is, fight the dumps?

HOW TO HANDLE DISCOURAGEMENT AND SADNESS
1. Talk to God. There is no one who loves or understands you better than God, no one with the capacity to help you like Him. Even if you are feeling bitter or resentful towards Him, the most effective way of dealing with sadness and disappointment is to talk to Him. Although this is technically called prayer, I purposely did not use that word because I want you to approach God as a caring father, a friend and a sympathetic counsellor.

Don’t be sanctimonious about this. Tell God exactly how you feel, including how angry you are with Him (if you are) for His actions or inactions in your case, stuff like that. Let it all out. Scream if you need to. This helps you to keep it together when you feel you might be losing your mind from the unbearable condition you’re in and you’ll be surprised at how relieved you’ll feel after. In the midst of it all, tell God what you want Him to do and listen for His response. Whether He speaks directly to you or not, you’ll come away with a sense of peace you didn’t have before and the fortitude to carry on.

King David and Job did the foregoing over and over during their trials. This, I believe, helped them to endure until the purpose of God was accomplished in their lives.

“1. O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? 2. How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand? 3. Turn and answer me, O LORD my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.” Psalm 13:1-3 (New Living Translation)

“6:4. For the Almighty has struck me down with his arrows. Their poison infects my spirit. God’s terrors are lined up against me.
“7:7. O God, remember that my life is but a breath, and I will never again feel happiness. …11. I cannot keep from speaking. I must express my anguish. My bitter soul must complain. …19. Why won’t you leave me alone, at least long enough for me to swallow! 20. If I have sinned, what have I done to you, O watcher of all humanity? Why make me your target? Am I a burden to you? 21. Why not just forgive my sin and take away my guilt? For soon I will lie down in the dust and die…” Job 6:4, 7:7, 11, 19-21 (New Living Translation)


Job later asked to have audience with God in chapter 23.

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2. Do not stay alone and brood. Go to church, visit a friend, a relative or someone in need. If you stay alone, negative thoughts will assail and exhaust you. You will probably be dragged deeper and deeper into the hole you’re in. Ask God to direct your steps on where to go. He will have something for you there that will change your perspective, lessen the weight on you or even cheer you up and make you feel you can take on whatever is ahead. The following scriptures substantiate this.

“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:11

“A friendly discussion is as stimulating as the sparks that fly when iron strikes iron.” Proverbs 27:17 (The Living Bible)


3. Do not complain ceaselessly. This will mark you as a toxic person and people, including some ministers, will start avoiding you. In spite of appearances to the contrary, nobody’s life is perfect. The best of us have issues we are dealing with. When you have that at the back of your mind, it will help you not to indulge in self-pity and wear others down with your complaints.

Have a few close friends and ministers whom you trust that you open up to when you feel,overwhelmed. But whether you are talking to these ones or in your general conversation, learn to round off whatever you say with something positive. In other words, after stating the facts, you should bring in something about the goodness and faithfulness of God. In fact, the latter is all that strangers need to hear from you, not the worst details of the story of your life.

We can take many illustrations from the psalms but Psalm 22 which is credited to David will suffice. You may say, “That psalm is a poor choice. The guy was praying.” Some of us can’t stand God when we feel bad, let alone implore and praise Him as David did in his psalms but that’s beside the point I want to make here. What I want you to notice is the pattern in David’s words which is more or less his trademark when he is bemoaning his fate.

He starts by lamenting about how miserable his condition is, then as he is gradually overtaken by the grandeur of God, he begins to acknowledge His goodness, His holiness, etc. By the end of the psalm, he is in full prophetic mode, declaring His awesomeness to the nations and His deservingness of worship and adoration. To help you see this clearly, I’ll give you a condensed Psalm 22 picking a few verses from its various parts.

“1. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? 2. O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.
“9. But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts.10. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly.
“27. All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. 28. For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations.”


It’s the same thing with Job who bitterly vented his frustration and confusion at the “unwarranted” calamities that befell him. Somewhere in there, he uttered the following glowing statements:

“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10

“25 Still, I know that God lives – the One who gives me back my life – and eventually he’ll take his stand on earth. 26 And I’ll see him – even though I get skinned alive! – 27 see God myself, with my very own eyes. Oh, how I long for that day!” Job 19:25 – 27 (The Message Bible)


It is this expression of hope no matter how bad things look, this looking forward after stating the grim details that I’m talking about. We should never yield to the temptation of discrediting God which is what the enemy will be pushing us to do when things turn sour in our lives. Even if we can’t understand the cause of our plight or feel we’ve been unjustly targeted like Job did, we need to continually confess the intrinsic goodness and faithfulness of God. Our experiences may swing from positive to negative and back again but in them all, the constant refrain in the psalms applies reminding us to:

“… give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 106:1

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4. Never skip reading your Bible any day. In fact, make a covenant with God that you will read a certain number of chapters daily, preferably three as part of a plan for reading through your Bible once a year. The Bible is not meant for a shelf and going to church. It should be the book we read the most out of. In it is the power and the Spirit of the Living God in whose presence there is fullness of joy as we saw earlier.

In it there is unparalleled wisdom and answers to all kinds of knotty problems we may be grappling with. It fills us with divine comfort, strength and encouragement. As we read and pause to contemplate, the Spirit of God interprets the word to us, showing us its relevance to our situation and illuminates some parts of it as rhema* that we can apply in prayer and our speech to undo what is coming or what has entrenched itself against us.

Enriching youself with the word of God helps you to understand the nature and ways of God. Some of us are discouraged because our blessings are being delayed. An English proverb says that the mills of God grind slowly. But they do grind and you will have the best flour after.

The problem is that we have our own ideas of when certain things should happen in our lives but out timetable may be different from God’s. Abraham waited 25 years for Isaac, David 13 years to ascend the throne. If we can understand that the waiting doesn’t mean that God has changed His mind, we wouldn’t be buffeted by the devil the way he does.

But if we constantly resort to His word, God will keep affirming His position to us on the issues of our lives and that will beat the blues anytime they descend on us.

You may be asking, “What if I can’t hear from God? What if I can’t see any concrete thing in the Bible about my situation?” Or you may be saying, “You don’t understand, I’m just too weak and devastated to read anything.” This is where believing friends and ministers come in as we mentioned earlier. Plus, you can get an audio Bible, teaching tapes, stuff like that.

5. Listen to uplifting music, especially gospel music. If, for example, you’ve had a failed romance and you immerse yourself in secular music, it may echo how you feel but may not offer the hope and healing that the lyrics in gospel songs (which are often divinely inspired and sometimes taken directly from the Scriptures) will. Sometimes the music you listen to may not soothe your pain, it may actually make you feel worse. Imagine trying to nurse your broken heart with songs like Enrique Iglesias’ “Wish You Were Here (With Me) or Lionel Richie’s “Can’t Get Over You”. The result will probably be more tears and keeping the wound raw.

6. Expose yourself to edifying humour in the media. I emphasize “edifying” lest in dealing with one problem, we create another by bringing defilement upon ourselves. The Bible says that a cheerful heart (and don’t forget the laughter that it generates) is good medicine but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength (Proverbs 17:22 – New Living Translation).

Years ago, I came across Sam Levenson’s books and bought a couple. Levenson was an American humorist who lived in the last century. He was a Jew and his material was wholesome. Sometimes, I prefer reruns of comedy shows from way back than the new stuff that is packed with everything profane. I’m using myself as an example because I’ve had my fair share, (sometimes I feel it’s an unfair share) of sadness and discouragement.

I’ve had delays in almost every area of my life and I said the ultimate farewell to my mum in 2005, my youngest brother three years later and my dad a few months ago. I’ve struggled in my health and felt quite useless sometimes. And just as I was writing this article, my blog became inaccessible. I couldn’t reach the guy whose server hosts it to know what the problem was, so I was worried and kept conjuring up and discarding worst case scenarios.

Well, I prayed and had the assurance that all was well but as long as the site had not been restored, my head kept running riot. So I searched for some handy entertainment. I began to watch episodes of a detective series I had on my tablet but had never seen. Mystery, humour, and I take in everything when I watch a show – the looks of the cast, wardrobe, location, new words and expressions, twists and turns in the storyline. It turned out that I was not only diverted from the ongoing crisis, I really enjoyed myself. I later learnt that the server was down and it was made functional after a while.

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7. Count your blessings. It doesn’t matter what is going on in your life right now, there are still things you can thank God for. In fact, the word to use isn’t “can” but “should” in view of 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

And old song, “Count your blessings”, reminds us that when we do, it will surprise us what the Lord has done. Yes, counting our blessings has the capacity to change our perspective by turning our attention from what God hasn’t done to what He has done!

8. Habitually sow what you need into the lives of others – material help, kind words, etc. The harvest will turn your life around for good. Be sure to ask others how they are doing, pay attention when they respond and offer some comfort and strength from the scriptures if they share any of their struggles with you. Do whatever else you can to alleviate their troubles because we are called to bear one another’s burdens. What you’re doing for others will multiply and come back to you, maybe not immediately, but eventually.

9. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:9-10

A FINAL WORD:
As every mature believer knows, there’s no magic wand in Christianity. We experience victories by the power of the Lord but challenges never end as long as we’re on this side of heaven. Apostle Paul reminds us that “… we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

True, we may feel like screaming, “Enough already!” sometimes but we should not allow anything we face to steal our joy, our faith and our hope in our loving God, who is our Saviour and dearest Friend. And if by any chance that happens, we should snatch them back without delay.

Do try and read the first segment of this article as well if you haven’t done so to get a comprehensive picture of what was shared.

LET US PRAY:
Our Father in heaven, things are not how we want them to be in our lives right now. We are weighed down by pain, fear, feelings of inadequacy and disappointment. But we know that You love us very much and believe Your word that says You have delivered us, You are delivering us and You will yet deliver us at the end of all things.

We also remember the question posed in your word: “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us, how will He not along with Him graciously give us all things?” We, therefore, lay our griefs, hurts, confusion, and all the things that steal our joy and erode our confidence and optimism at Your feet, asking You to do a work of renewal in us that we might be who You want us to be, doing what You want us to do with the joy and the vigour that comes from Your Spirit in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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The scriptures used in this article are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible unless otherwise stated.

*According to sharefaith.com, “the rhema word in Biblical terms refers to a portion of scripture that ‘speaks’ to a believer. In most cases, a rhema word received while reading the Bible applies to a current situation or need.”

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I am a university lecturer. I teach Mass Communication, mostly writing courses like Feature and Interpretative Writing, Magazine Article Writing and News Writing, and let’s just say I’ve been doing this for a long time. As you have probably guessed, I am a born-again Christian.

92 thoughts on “DEALING WITH DISCOURAGEMENT AND SADNESS #2

  1. so instead of being discouraged in life,we should rather trust in jehova jireh he will provide to our needs in his riches and glories.thank you ma for this revelation and encouragement.keep it on

  2. Very Apt especially at this time of trial… May God help and see us through. Quite inspiring and motivational..

  3. God bless you, ma. God bless you and bless you and bless you. This pulpit of yours is so revelational. You were speaking to me. Thank you.

  4. This is a beautiful article. I really enjoyed reading all those Scripture passages that contributed so greatly to your point. The Psalms – many of them – may start out with wailing, as you noted, but they end with glorifying God profusely, and you are quite right in saying that we should aim to be like David in this. It never ceases to amaze me how Scripture can speak so personally to each of us. I have had my share of times when a passage from the Bible directly addressed my fears or insecurities. God is good!

    • Thank you so much, Hillary! Without God and His word, I wonder where we would be. Coping with life’s challenges will definitely be harder. Thanks again.

  5. Great article! I especially liked your analysis of the way David prayed. I realized as I read it that I go through much the same progression when I talk with God about things that are going wrong. While I complain to Him, I start remembering all the times He helped me, and all the bad things that happened that ended up okay or even brought new blessings into my life. So I can really relate to David with that! Thanks for pointing it out.

    I find that when I’m feeling down and depressed, I often feel no enthusiasm about going to work. But once I’m with my clients, my spirits get uplifted by their company and being able to help them. I always feel better when I leave their house. So although a time of solitude to attune ourselves to God is necessary,you’re right that we should never isolate ourselves and brood for any extended period. Helping others is a wonderful antidote for self-pity.

    I also agree with you about the value of humor — it is healing on so many levels: spiritual, mental and even physical. My husband and I watch a lot of the old classic TV shows, too, as they are funny without being vulgar or mean-spirited.

    • I could push more through discouragement when I learnt to pray to God about everything and anything.
      thank you so much, I am blessed

  6. Hmmm.am wowed again as always! so much enthusiasm in your writing. not all writers can relate such powerful motivational messages yet so simple and easy to comprehend. you are indeed a gifted writer. bless you ma and more power to your elbow.

  7. wow this article just deserves to be recorded on audio file so that we can download it and play it daily like music.
    it is just food for the heart.

  8. I am encouraged to draw closer to God when I am sad and discouraged. I love the practical ways this post gives to render help to those going through such situations.

  9. Thank you Ma for the tips, they are very helpful and i will make sure to apply them when faced with these situations.

  10. These pointers are ealistic & easy to do. They don’t require money & literally anyone can do these things. No. 7 struck me most. “. Count your blessings”. This is crucial. A heart of gratitude attracts more blessings & brings more joy. Grateful for this post, ma.

  11. This article is a great one! Dealing with discouragement and sadness is an issue that everyone encounters in one phase or the other. The steps and solutions presented in this piece are needed and helpful for everyone. Most times, when people are discourage and sad they feel like being lonely and blaming others for their problems. With this piece, readers will know how to overcome sadness through telling God, others, the word, gospel music, helping others etc.

  12. Wow! This is nice ma, the words alone would heal the soul and the spirit and keep them ever gigantic.Most times we all get discouraged and sad about one thing or the other but then one surest way of getting out of it is a critical appliance of all or few of the tips you listed here.

  13. Resisting discouragement is not always easy. In fact, it involves a realistic appreciation for our limitations. We must seek to do what we can do, and not anguish over what we cannot. The more positive our attitude, the more we will be willing to try, and try again, even when we fail. Florence Shinn wrote, “Every great work, every big accomplishment, has been brought into manifestation through holding to the vision, and often just before the big achievement, comes apparent failure and discouragement” But we are not omnipotent, as God is. And we need to make a distinction between perfection and excellence. We can aim to do our best (excellence), but if we insist on perfection (which is only possible for God), we will be discouraged every time.YOU ARE A BLESSING TO THIS GENERATION MA

  14. I will go with number 5 bcos atimes when am so down nd needs to be happy..i play Christian musics..
    It ministers to me.
    God bless you ma!

  15. The ways or steps you mentioned above for dealing wot discouragement and sadness can not be over emphasized and of course they are very sailent. Truly, I have done some of the above – mentioned ways and believe me when I say they realyy worked. Thank you for this post ma.

  16. Thank you so much, ma, for this beautiful piece. Your posts are highly encouraging and uplifting; you are really doing a great job. God bless you abundantly.

  17. Thank you so much for this part ma “Enriching youself with the word of God helps you to understand the nature and ways of God”. On this am always found wanting. if only I will start reading my Bible consistently… God help me!

  18. We all are bound to be discouraged at one point in our lifetime, and when the discouragement sets in sadness follows. Thank you ma for this very helpful piece.

  19. Depression is something that caused so many to loose opportunities that God intended for them due to doubt or lack of self-confidence but believe with this post, we joy like a river when we actually look to God and also look for help @the right places…

  20. Thank you ma. I really needed tips like this to build up my spiritual life.. You are God sent to mankind

  21. This post is very educating and inspiring. I have learnt that the most effective way of dealing with sadness and disappointment is to talk to God. I have also learnt never to be alone doing nothing but rather engage myself in the works of God.

  22. Thank you Ma for this post. I tried one of the ways to handle discouragement and sadness which is “don’t stay alone” and it worked.

  23. Thank you ma for this writing, l have gone through different situations that has caused me to almost lose my faith, but today I am touched and inspired. This has also helped to increase my faith and am grateful to God.

  24. Great article ma. This piece really motivated me. Its not easy to resist discouragement but we just have to apply what you listed above and we will be fine. More health to you ma.

  25. Ma this post is inspiring. I thank God for your life and I pray that he never puts us situations that will make us lose our faith in him. I also pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us.

  26. This is a good encouragement ma…
    These steps are practical enough to help us in dealing with discouragement and sadness…. With these steps, we would be better able to face life.

  27. Oh aunty, this is such an uplifting and enlightening write up. I’ve always been at a loss when trying to deal with discouragement and sadness. At last I know now what I should do. You’re the best aunty. A million thanks for this post

  28. Thank you for sharing these few tips. Talking to God is one of the best approaches to take when feeling down or sad. May God fill us with his joy and courage as we depend on him to see us through

  29. I like the steps mentioned because they are very practicable. I believe that if a depressed person follows these steps, he/she will be relieved as soon as possible. The steps are are useful therapy. Thanks ma.

  30. Wow! So inspiring and motivational ma. This post is just for me. Now I know how to deal with discouragement, sadness and storms. Years ago when am faced with challenges, all I could do is cry and see myself as a victim, but now I have seen the light. More grace to you ma.

  31. This could pass for a daily devotional ma. It is very inspirational.
    Number 3 is the opposite of what I always do. But now I know better. I know how to handle discouragement and sadness better,all thanks to you.

  32. Wonderful one MA. The steps you outlined here are powerful. I was cautioned by number 3 ( do not complain ceaselessly) and reminded by number 7 ( count your blessings) no matter the situation I find myself . God bless you.

  33. Ma, weldone.. These steps will sure go along way in assisting us to deal with discouragement and sadness when we employ them. We should always embrace God, pour out our heart to him because only him understands us the most.

  34. I lack words to express how amazing this write-up is. I indeed plan on practising every point you raised here, Ma. Personally, I pray to never ever complain again. So help me God. And to also read my bible EVERYDAY. Lastly, I need to learn to talk to God as a Father again, to trust Him and to be in a real relationship with Him. More like to fall in love with Jesus again. Hopefully Ma, you will do a piece on that. Thank you Ma.

  35. This post really says much, but most of all talking to God and believing he has answered Sums it all up, Thank you for the ending prayers Ma, it really helped a lot ??

  36. This is indeed encouraging, this topic is really what many people face in life. Here with the various steps listed it will really help to overcome such. The one I like most is number 8; sow what you need in the lives of other, we should learn to give without condition, give and never expect anything in return because the reward will comedirectly from God when due.

  37. This is truly encouraging ma, I believe these steps would go a long way in helping one come out of depression/sadness

  38. When we are discouraged,we should talk to God because He is our one true friend. We should not just stay and brood. Things would not get better that way.We should always remember our loving Father and put our our worries at his feet.

  39. Helpful tips all through. But the factor to expedite healing from distress and sadness is decision. One who haven’t decided to heal the pain cannot be healed even with force. However, God is the source of joy and lasting peace, only in him does the soul become still.

  40. In any situation or mood we found ourselves in, we should always remember that we can give happiness a chance by maditaing in the word of God. this is because true happiness can only be found in Christ Jesus who truly loves you.

  41. Anything that we face in life have a purpose, let’s use the case of Job in Bible as a case study. Despite the fact that Job was in a terrible situation, his faith in God never wavered and he was blessed afterward in a double fold. We should bear in it mind that despite whatever we are going through, there’s always light at the end of a tunnel

  42. No 3 says “do not complain ceaselessly” we should try as much as possible not to be the type that complains every time and to everyone we see because their own problem might be bigger than ours Or they might end up using your situation to mock you some day

  43. I like the guidelines especially the one that said ‘count your blessings’ this is something everyone should do in order to live happily. instead of being sober for what you don’t have, appreciate what God has given you.

  44. These is a wonderful piece on dealing with discouragement and sadness.. To me the most important one ( everything mentioned was great) but the most captivating one was COUNT YOUR BLESSING. In time of hardships reminisce on his work and it will be a medicine to a troubled heart.

  45. Thank you ma for these very practical steps in dealing with discouragement and sadness. The number one point about talking to God is of utmost priority. Furthermore, your comment “Don’t be sanctimonious about this. Tell God exactly how you feel, including how angry you are with Him (if you are) for His actions or inactions in your case, stuff like that.” is very necessary. Most times we forget that God is our father and as such we should let Him know how we feel at any point in time not withstanding the fact that He is omniscience because as He said, “whatever He hear us speak that He will do”.

  46. Amen. I’m encouraged, it’s always good to start our day with reading the Bible, each day when I do that I always feel happy and sense Godly company.

  47. This is a wonderful and nice piece, ma. You know as I was reading through this post, I felt like you were speaking to me directly via the write-up. Ma, I’m really blessed by this post and am grateful to you. Remain blessed, ma!

  48. When we take God as a friend, it becomes easy talking to him knowing he listens. God is interested in being let in on that difficult or heartbreaking situation. Thank you ma for this encouraging post

  49. One thing that should be realized is as a child of God, you will always be faced with lots of challenges and its most times difficult but you shouldn’t allow it to bring you down or take away your joy and faith. Have trust in God and he shall see you true… God bless you ma

  50. Discouragement is orchestrated by the Devil, and this time all we are to do is remember God’s blessings in our lives and resist the Devil

  51. God is the ultimate solution to every problem,he is our friend, helper,father, Infact he is our everything, we should feel free to talk to him at any time because he is our all and is willing to grant us our heart desires.

  52. Hmmmmmm, thanks mummy for these words of encouragement. I indeed pray for grace to practice all these. God bless you ma.

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