Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”(Joshua 1:9)
The role of mother and wife is difficult and we all get discouraged from time to time.
Have you felt discouraged recently? I have and I am sure you have too?
However for some women, it can be a long running battle and one they find difficult to get out of.
And when discouraged, it can be so hard to get motivated and get jobs around the house done. Everything suddenly looks overwhelming and far beyond your capability - and this is when you are most likely to procrastinate as it is a way of avoiding doing the "need to be done" tasks.
So what to do when feeling discouraged:
- Firstly, you need to recognise the signs: are you feeling weary, defeated, tired, as if life is overpowering you, drained, snapping at your family, sad, self-pitying, feeling isolated . . . discouragement can drain us all of our hopes and dreams and suck us down further into a place we don't want to be.
Once you realise you are in the wrong place . . . here are some things you can do:
- Pray . . . pray . . . pray and did I mention pray! Through pray you can put a stop to Satan worming his way into your head making you doubt yourself and stumble and making you doubt God's love in the process. Satan has a way of making our discouragement even worse by tell us that God isn't beside us and that He doesn't really care. And before long you are beginning to believe Satan - he is very good at making our self-doubt and discouragement grow and fester. "When we're distracted and discouraged, tired and overwhelmed, there is no better place to go than to our Father" ("Having a Mary heart in a Martha world")
- Open your bible and start reading, I love Psalms as it is so full of encouragement . . . David had a tough time too and called out to the Lord for help many times - we need to do the same. At the bottom of this blog I have listed my favourite verses of encouragement and they certainly lift me up when I am down.
- If the day is looking bad, put on some uplifting hymns and sing along - classical music can also be a lovely distraction in the house and lift the mood. My mother often reads her hymns now that she in a nursing home and through reading she finds great comfort and encouragement. Many hymn writers were discouraged and had suffered great losses in their lives - they knew how to call out to God for strength.
- Find a uplifting book to read - if you feel discouraged often, have a pile of books that you can dip into when you are feeling defeated, that way you don't need to go off hunting for books when you least feel like - they are ready for you.
- Write down your blessings - we all have them, just sometimes we cover them up or look away. Place your blessings into a jar so you can revisit them from time to time.
- Have you looked out of the window - even on a cold bleak day you will find beauty if only you look. Rain dancing on a window seal, sunbeams across a garden bench, the sound of wind, birds singing, a cat sleep - these are all God's creations and He gave them to us to enjoy and not ignore.
- Phone a friend and have a laugh - it is very true that laughter is the best medicine.Whilst on the phone, talk with your friend about your discouragement as it is often a good idea to get another persons perspective, sometimes they can see the forest from the trees, whereas you are too close to the situation to see logically.
- Focus on one thing at a time - sometimes our discouragement comes about because we are overwhelmed with the tasks ahead of us. If you kitchen is a disaster, start with the dishes, it won't take long before you are feeling a lot better.
- Have a cup of tea, it works for me (!) - seriously, take a break and enjoy a mug of tea, hot chocolate, milo, cup of coffee and something to nibble on. Just taking time away can be enough to get you back on track. Rest-stops also allow our bodies to stop and rest and time to mediate and enjoy the silence.
- Have a bubble bath - ask your husband to look after the children whilst you lie in a hot bubbly bath. Why not light some candles and play some heavenly music. Washing away your troubles does work! Perhaps make it a weekly indulgences.
- Joanne Weaver, author of "Having a Mary heart in a Martha world" suggests setting the timer - allow 10 minutes for a good cry, when the buzzer stops, blow your nose, wipe your eyes and surrender your situation to the Lord (Ecclesiastes 3:4) - I think this is great idea and one that can be used for many stations besides discouragement (such as procrastination)
- Go for a walk - no, not a march, you are not conquering Europe, just something quiet and relaxing. Look around you and see nature, it can be like medicine to the soul. Go to the park and walk on the grass with your bare feet, lie down and watch the clouds float by - smell the roses. All these things refreshes the mind and strengths the body. Does it really matter if the walk lasts an hour, no it doesn't and the children are enjoying a nature lesson in the process.
- Turn off the technology and take a break from the world and all its noise and clutter - we sometimes need to disconnect/unplug and return to simple living and enjoyments. Often world events can drag you down and make you feel discouraged. Don't listen to the news or read the paper, focus on what is pleasant, sweet and pure.
Here are some of my favourite bible verses that provide comfort and strength when I am feeling discouraged. Why not write them in a book or on cards to keep them close - like taking an aspirin for a headache, take one or all of these when feeling discouraged and they will wash away the pain.
And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)
I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Joshua 1: 5)
Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you (Psalm 55:22)
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8-10)
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. (Psalm 112:7)
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all. (Psalm 34:17-19)
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2)
The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! (Psalm 27:14)