The voice you believe will determine the future you experience.
Isaiah 55:1-3 - “Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk it’s all free! Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food. Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life."
I. Have you ever been discouraged?
A. Who has ever been discouraged?
- There is a discouragement that brings us to the edge of depression, and if we are not careful, it will drag us in.
- It’s a discouragement that you have to face alone and become your own cheerleader.
B. Where does discouragement come from?
- Discouragement comes from something that you can’t have, something that you have that didn’t turn out like you thought, or something that you failed at.
C. The bi-product of discouragement is frustration.
- Frustration is the gap between what we expect and what we experience. Much of life is lived in this gap.
- It’s the little discouragements that creep up and get us. Sometimes, it’s just enough to suck all your joy away. Not enough to throw in the towel but just enough to leak out into the rest of life and make life dark. Joyless… You begin to exist, not live.
D. Our culture hates to encourage each other
- We are a tear down and find fault culture.
- Somewhere in the change from grade school to high school we find ourselves turning from an encourager to a discourager.
- We begin to focus on the gap, the frustration, and guess what? All we can talk about is what is wrong.
How can we deal with discouragement in a way that is a healthy model, not just for our kids but for everyone around us? Today, I want to encourage you with this. You’re doing better than you think you are… A true outside look into your situation will reveal you are doing better than you think you are. Here is the biggest truth I have learned about my frustration. My joy is not determined by what’s happening to me, but what's happening in me and through me.
II. What do you do when you are discouraged? Be your own cheerleader!
A. Story of Leah
Genesis 29:31-35 - When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, he enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive. So Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “The Lord has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.” She soon became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Simeon, for she said, “The Lord heard that I was unloved and has given me another son.” Then she became pregnant a third time and gave birth to another son. He was named Levi, for she said, “Surely this time my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!” Once again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She named him Judah, for she said, “Now I will praise the Lord!” And then she stopped having children.
B. When we find ourselves in the gap, praise the Lord.
- This time I will praise the Lord. Leah gave up her expectations and praised the Lord.
- If your joy is not determined by what’s happening to you but in you and through you, you have to get your encouragement from in you. Be your own cheerleader. A way we can do that is praise the Lord.
C. Praise God for what He’s doing in and through you.
- Be your own cheerleader! God is with you and for you.
Joshua 1:9 - "Haven’t I commanded you: Be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
- We can’t live in last time when things were good. Looking back, we see that we were doing better than we thought we were.
- We can’t live in next time where we think things will be better.
- We have to live in this time.
D. Mary and her praise.
The Magnificat: Mary’s Song of Praise
Luke 1:46-55 - “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me. He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him. His mighty arm has done tremendous things! He has scattered the proud and haughty ones. He has brought down princes from their thrones and exalted the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands. He has helped his servant Israel and remembered to be merciful. For he made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever.”
I know it sounds crazy, but giving up praise to the one who made you is the best way to encourage yourself. When you are disappointed, when you are discouraged, when you are depressed, when you are overcome with uncertainty, praise the Lord. The toughest part of following God is not understanding what to do, it’s doing what I already understand.
III. The Praise Action Plan.
1. Look back and remember the faithfulness of God, "I am the God who led you..."
- The enemy doesn’t want you to remember
Isaiah 43:2-3 - But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
2. Look up and remember how big God is
- Remember the promises, for the lord your god will be with you.
Isaiah 40:28-31 - "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
3. Look out
- Discontentment will feed the frustration.
- Gratitude bridges the gap to God.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 - "Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
4. Look beyond yourself
- Sometimes, we think we need encouragement but what we really need is to encourage others.
- People who volunteer are happier.
Luke 6:38 - "Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
5. Look around
- Small group for encouragement.
- Worst thing you can do is isolate yourself.
Hebrews 10:25 - "And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near."
6. Look in
- Sometimes, the only person who can encourage you is yourself.
- Speak the truth out loud.
Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me."
SUMMARY: God has equipped you with everything you need in Christ Jesus. It is waiting to be unlocked by your praise. Don’t be embarrassed that you are discouraged. Even Jesus was ministered to by His angels.
John 16:33 - "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”