Building a better future: When you feel like giving up
Are you feeling discouraged lately? Discouragement is one of the primary reasons we feel tempted to give up on our God-given dreams. In this message, we discuss God’s cures for your discouragement.
Something To Talk About:
- Rest my body: Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.” (Exodus 34:21 NIV) The Bible is filled with instructions about rest and recreation and relaxation. In fact, it’s so important that God put it in the Ten Commandments. That’s how important a Sabbath is in your life. Jesus said in Mark 2:27, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (NIV) In other words, God created this idea of you taking a day off every seven days for rest, recreation, worship, and restoration. It’s His idea, and it’s for your own benefit so you don’t burn out. Even in your busiest season, there is no excuse not to rest. You may be a tax accountant, but you still have to take a day off in April. You may work in retail, but you still have to take a day off during the Christmas season. Even a farmer must take a day off during the harvest or planting season.
- Reinforce my weak areas: Did you know that God can transform your weaknesses into strengths? Once you identify your weaknesses and discover how God wants to use them for His glory, He begins His process of transformation. Your strength is limited. But God’s strength is unlimited. Your strength is finite. But God’s strength is infinite. God never runs out of energy. God never gets tired. At some point in your life, you may be so weak that you can’t even pray, read the Bible, go to a Bible study, work, or really do anything. What do you do in those moments? You rest in the strength of the Lord, in His arms like a little child, and you trust. Weakness can actually be a good thing in your life if it causes you to depend on God. Nehemiah did. He heard that they were going to be attacked and they were threatening violence. “I stationed armed guards at the most vulnerable point.” He knew the low spaces because he did his homework. ? He knows where the city was vulnerable. No, he goes to work. He says, “We’re just going to do it differently. We’re going to reorganize, we’re going to reorder, we’re going to do a new strategy.” Listen, when you have a goal, you have a dream, you have a desire, and you’re going after it you are going to have opposition, and you are going to have people who oppose you, and you’re going to have discouragement and doubt and difficulty and even dead ends. You need to understand this. Discouragement doesn’t mean that you’re doing the wrong thing, but it may mean you’re doing it in the wrong way. They were doing the right thing, building the wall. They were just doing it the wrong way. Don’t give up on the dream God gave you, instead work on your weak areas.
- Refocus on God: ”Anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work I plan for him is not fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62 TLB) I know it sounds simple enough, but is it? If we are going to stay focused on God, we have got to include the things of God in our daily lives. In a crisis, it’s natural to start explaining to God what’s going on and asking Him for help. He wants you to talk to Him and pour out your heart to Him. When you’re praying for something you can’t control, don’t focus on the problem. Focus on God’s greatness. The bigger God gets in your mind, the smaller the problem becomes. Remind yourself of God’s unlimited power. When you realize that God has all the power in the world, you can just trust Him. As you pray, think of all the ways God has helped you, other people, and people in the Bible. Ask God for a breakthrough. Don’t just ask God to bless your life. Focus on Him and then tell Him the specific thing you need for your breakthrough. Reinforce your weak areas by refocusing on God.
- Resist the discouragement: “Then the people of Judah said, ‘The work crews are worn out, and there is too much rubble. We can’t continue to rebuild the wall.” Nehemiah 4:10 (GW) Discouragement is curable. Nehemiah is a blueprint for overcoming discouragement. When you know you can’t reach a goal in time set a new goal. Don’t give up. Everybody fails; everybody does foolish things. Discouragement is a choice. Now, in the second part of verse 14, Nehemiah says, “After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” You will never defeat discouragement by being passive. You have to fight it. This is the difference between ordinary people and great people. Great people never give up. They keep on in the marathon of life, even when they’re fatigued, even when they’re frustrated, even when they feel like failures, and even when they’re fearful.
- Why do you think God allowed opposition in the effort to rebuild the wall? What opposition has held you back from something God wanted you to do?
- What kind of difference does it make in your day when you get a full night’s rest compared to when you only get a few hours of sleep? What happens to you when you don’t get enough rest? What activities or responsibilities keep you from resting well?
- What aspects of your life are most vulnerable/exposed? What can you do to reinforce your weak areas and avoid burnout? How does our culture perpetuate the idea that we have to be strong all of the time?
- What does it mean to depend on God’s strength? What would that look like in your life?
- Out of the different causes of discouragement that Nehemiah experienced, which do you think gives you the most trouble? Why?
- Knowing God and His Word allows us to face our fears with faith. Why? How can you do this in practical ways?
- Life is full of challenges that distract our focus away from God. How do you keep focused on God daily?
- Discouragement and distraction take our focus off God and the dreams He has given us. What one thing can you do this week to resist discouragement and distraction in your walk with God?
- What point in this message was most impactful for you?
Take one thing home with you:
Have you felt like giving up lately? Does the thought of seeing yourself on top of the mountain ahead seem too far-fetched to imagine? Let’s stop thinking about the vastness of the journey. Let’s recognize that when things seem out of control, God is always in control. He is with us, and giving us the strength to take one more step. When you go after God’s calling in your life, you’ll always come across naysayers. So make the decision now to reject negative advice. And count on God’s presence to see you through.