“I feel so down today,” I said out loud.
“Lord, please help me,” I added, as I drove out of the parking lot after work.
Maybe lack of sleep could explain my emotions. Perhaps it was the sad cases I saw on the psychiatric ward that day. Or was it that I couldn’t stop thinking about loved ones who faced severe emotional, physical, and spiritual crises in their lives? The worst part was that no matter how hard I tried to encourage these people, nothing I said or did seemed to help. They erected walls to keep out any truth I brought them.
As I drove toward home, I decided to turn on the radio.
With that action, God answered my prayer.
The pastor on a show called “Powerpoint,” which I listened to several times before spoke about what to do when we’re feeling discouraged.
Yes, that’s it, I admitted. I do feel discouraged.
Then he presented this list, which touched my heart and reminded me God understands our discouragement and wants to help. He knows what I need during those times of feeling down. And He used this man to bring me these powerful reminders.
Here is the list of five things Pastor Jack Graham presented as far as what to do when we’re discouraged from his talk titled, “How I Can Persevere.”
- LOOK UP. I confessed that once again I slipped back into keeping my eyes on problems rather than on my Protector, Provider, and Prince of Peace.
- SHOW UP. He spoke of showing up to our marriages, our jobs, and other challenges in our lives instead of walking away. I thought of showing up to the relationships that hurt and even to showing up to spend time with God when I felt He ignored my prayers for loved ones. I realized I also needed to show up wholeheartedly to wherever God called me and with a heart to give Him glory.
- TEAM UP. I knew I needed to spend more time with believers and more time praying with them and lifting each other up. It had been a while since I connected deeply to the encouragers God brought into my life. I especially needed it since I had spent the weekend with people who tended toward negativity.
- FILL UP. He spoke of filling up with God’s Word. I only spent a short time in the Word that day, but I realized on down days I needed to do it more and also speak out loud God’s promises and passages of Scripture I memorized.
- LIFT UP. This centered on lifting others up when I feel down. Yes, I spoke words of encouragement to my patients that day, but I didn’t consult the Lord on how I could really lift up another individual. I sometimes just went through the motions. Also, it came to me I sometimes try to lift people up who don’t want to be lifted up. I need to ask God to show me those who eagerly await a truth or word of hope.
By the time I finished listening to the radio show (some of it while sitting in my garage), I felt encouraged and determined to embrace that list. I thought of friends and relatives who seemed to be sinking lower and lower in being discouraged, and I realized some didn’t follow any of the items on this list. No wonder they felt so discouraged. Perhaps I had caught some of their discouragement in recent days.
I knew I couldn’t force them to embrace this list, but I could choose to do so.
My feelings of depression and discouragement melted away as I thought not only of the powerful solutions contained in that list, but of how God quickly answered my prayer once I called out to Him.
“Thank You, Lord,” I said, and I could feel a smile return to my face as I realized anew how much He loved me and cared about me.
Yes, it seemed others refused to listen to me, but God heard me. A Bible verse came to mind, and later I looked it up: “In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.” Psalm 18:6 NIV
I continue to celebrate the fact He hears me when I cry to Him for help. And He gives me the help I need. That day He did it quickly and emphatically.
“Everyone Needs A Little” by Kari Jobe