I have faced plenty of discouraging times in life and ministry. I have felt discouraged, defeated and at times I just wanted to throw in the towel. Most of my discouragement centered around unachieved goals and the enormity of what still needed to be done.
But I discovered much of my discouragement was a result of how I was viewing things.
Making the choice to look at things from a God-centered perspective is what has freed me from discouragement. Instead of “throwing in the towel”, I want to use it to serve more people.
I want to give you what I am learning, hoping that it will empower you to break-off discouragement and keep you full of faith in virtually every area of life and ministry.
Looking At The Rubble Instead Of The Wall
Nehemiah’s story in rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem serves as a great illustration to reveal this one truth.
One can only imagine how those who were rebuilding the wall must have felt. Rebuilding the wall was a huge uphill battle. The enemies of Israel constantly ridiculed and threatened them and on top of that, the wall itself was a massive project.
Remarkably, Israel built the wall to half it’s height (Neh. 4:6). The people needed to rejoice but didn’t. Instead they grew discouraged!
Nehemiah 4:10 “Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.”
We grow discouraged when the constant stare is at what we have not accomplished and what still needs to be done exceeds what has been achieved.
Instead of looking at the wall that they built, Israel looked at the rubble that remained. Instead of focusing on what they had accomplished they focused on what was left.
Here is the point, we will never stay encouraged by looking at the “rubble”. We find strength when we look at the “wall” — what God has accomplished through us. Find where God is active and make that your focus. If you cannot see what He is doing then look to what He has done.
We will always have rubble around us but it is the wall that keeps us filled with faith. Keep your eyes on the wall.
In My Own Life
“Looking at the wall” still does not come naturally for me. I still catch myself looking at the enormity of what is left to be done rather than what has been achieved.
I used to think that looking at the wall would lead to pride. Now I understand it leads to thanksgiving.
I used to think that looking at the wall focused on past achievements. Now I understand that it is the key to future accomplishments.
I’ve now made this a big part of my life with zero regrets. I look for His activity (His fingerprints) in all things knowing He is good at all times.
Every area of my life, as a husband, dad, pastor and leader is impacted with this one truth.
Three Things I Recommend You Do
Here are three habits that need to be formed in order for you to stay encouraged and full of faith in virtually every area of life and ministry.
1. Get your eyes off the rubble. This is difficult for people but if we are going to live encouraged we can’t stare at the rubble. It does not matter whether you are involved with leading a church, ministry, business, project, your family or yourself.
If you constantly look at the rubble you will lose strength and will feel like giving up.
2. See what God is doing. Find where God is active, where His fingerprints are, and make that your focus. If you cannot see what He is doing then look to what He has done. Ask the Lord to show you.
You will soon discover that God is doing far more than you think. When we make the choice to put our focus here the list of what He is doing and what He has done gets quite long. I would recommend that you place this list in your written or digital journal. This brings the Lord honor and you strength.
3. Be thankful. I don’t care if you only find a few things you see God active in, give Him thanks. Often thanksgiving leads to great levels of faith and before we know it we are making declarations of His goodness.