dealing with discouragement

And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”  -niv-1 Kings 19:9

the other morning i woke up really tired.  i must not have slept good but it seemed like that was the 4th day in a row that i woke up tired and not refreshed from sleep.  so you know, when i get really tired, i get really irritable.  So, i knew right from the start that i would most likely struggle that day.  Needless to say, my perspective was not the best.  Everything seemed bad and negative, you know, the glass half empty!  unfortunately, i had been feeling that way a lot as of late.

so, there i was feeling discouraged and easily finding myself and my thinking “off in the weeds”, and with that setting, sat down to have my ‘quiet time'(…what a way to start right?!)  so, i read the proverb for the day and then went over to Psalm 11 and read this… “In the Lord I take refuge…When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”  The Lord is in his holy temple...”niv.   If i was really spiritual that would have been enough.  i mean when things are as bad as the foundations falling apart, God is still in control and sitting on the throne…so, no need to fret, worry or be down or discouraged.  But because i am not spiritual, it wasn’t enough.  i then went over to 1 Kings and read there in the reading i was to read that day and guess what it was about?  the time Elijah got discouraged in 1 Kings 18-19.  do you ever wonder if God has a sense of humor or if He wants to speak to you??

honestly, i almost just closed the book and went to another passage, but i didnt and continued to read and as a result, God spoke…Elijah was really tired to start off with b/c he ran faster than a chariot (special spiritual ability according to ch. 18).  in the midst of fatigue and coming off an incredible spiritual high (prophets of baal), he heard Jezebel was going to kill him and then, the text says, he became afraid.  at that moment, Holy Spirit reminded me of the proverb that says, the “fear of man will lead to a snare”.  in elijah’s case his snare was discouragement.  i am not sure if all discouragement begins with fear but i think mine was to some degree-fear of failure, fear of others opinions and acceptance and more.

Well, Elijah basically said “that’s it”,  “i’m done”, “i’m out” and then fell asleep.  An angel came to him and ministered to him with food and more sleep.  in fact he woke up and the angel told him to eat again and then go back to sleep, which he did.  Refreshment is so needed in life and especially in ministry. i go, i go, and i go, i give, and i give, and i give, and get little rest.  its not right i know, but its the truth, and as a result i get tempted to fear man, and see everything as bad and negative.

God came to elijah and said, “what are you doing here, Elijah”?  so i asked myself, “what are you doing here, Mike”?  why are you at this place of discouragement?  idk, just tired i guess.

you know what i noticed next?  God never helps Elijah out of his discouragement.  after Elijah, whines and complains 2 times, God just gives him some new directions and instructions.  in other words, just more to do.  one of those things was to annoint an apprentice, which would help him and eventually replace him, maybe that can be encouraging, but i just noticed that God listens to him and then basically, in a nutshell, says, “get busy about my work”

interesting how Scripture flows together…a few days prior, i read in proverbs, “in all work there is profit”.  i dont know if i got over my discouragement, but i know i feel better today.  i did rest better last night.  my conclusion is, get rest, plenty of rest, b/c it is so needed for longevity in ministry, dont fear man, and stay focused on the work that God has given me.  God will help me through it, and you too.  so, next time you are down or tempted to see everything as bad and negative…look around, find some work to do, and get busy!!

from the heart,

MK

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