As winter drags on and we experience too much gloomy weather and darkness, it’s easy to become discouraged. Feeling down is unique to human beings. Squirrels and birds don’t seem to suffer from it; they seem to scurry around endlessly. But we often find ourselves moping.

What causes discouragement and what can we do about it? Fatigue can bring it on. When we are physically and emotionally exhausted, we are a candidate. Our defenses are lowered and things seem bleak. We must find a way to refresh ourselves.

Frustration can cause it. When unfinished tasks pile up it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and discouraged. We might have to let a few things go, or maybe ask someone for a hand.

Failure can lead to discouragement. Sometimes our best laid plans fall apart. Someone said, “Just when I think I can make ends meet, someone moves the end!” On the bright side, failure is often the best teacher. We can look for a better way. Akin to failure is fear. We fear failure, so we don’t stick our neck out very far. We fear criticism. What will people think? Can I handle my responsibility without being afraid?

What are other things that can help me with discouragement? When Nehemiah and the Jews were trying to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, opposition discouraged them. Nehemiah made some suggestions. He told them to build only a section apiece. He decreed that all workers should carry a weapon in case of attack. And he reminded them that “the Lord is great and awesome and will fight for your brothers, your sons, our daughters, your wives, and your houses” (v14). Sometimes we have to add up what we have going for us, then get up and get moving.

A person wearing glasses

Description automatically generated

It’s important to rest your body. Lack of sleep will play with our minds. If you need a break, try to take one. You will feel more effective when you return to work. And let’s not forget that God will help. If we ask Him, He can give us new energy. There is great motivating power in faith. Fight back!

Discouragement is a choice. Hang on! Do what’s right. No feeling lasts forever.

– Tim Johnson (with an older article by David Johnson)