Got difficulties or failure in your marriage? Feeling hopeless from time to time as you and your spouse stumble into that same old argument, that same old rut, that well worn path of discouragement? You don't have to stay there. Discouragement is a tool of the enemy, one he uses well to get inside your head and defeat you in every area of your life. In any place you lose hope, you are at a fork in the road. You have a choice to either take the path of encouragement and hope or discouragement and despair.
I love the perspective Rick Warren recently shared on Nehemiah and discouragement. Nehemiah was a man with a mission, he knew discouragement, he saw it in the people as they were rebuilding the wall:
The people of Judah said, “The workers are getting tired. There is so much trash we cannot rebuild the wall.” ~ Nehemiah 4:10
The four reasons the builders of the wall were discouraged sound familiar, don't they?
Fatigue. Marriage can be challenging. It's easy and sometimes effortless to love your spouse when he/she is being loveable. But on those days (or weeks) that communication is off and expectations are not met, you get tired as the laborers did in Nehemiah 4:10.
Frustration. In the rebuilding of the wall, there was so much trash all around it was getting in the way. As you build something new in your marriage, make decisions to do something different, battling against old thought patterns, old habits, old feelings can become frustrating.
Failure. Nehemiah’s people thought rebuilding the wall would be a breeze, and that their initial excitement would carry them to the end of the task. As it took longer than they realized it would, they lost hope, believing instead that they were stupid to think we could ever rebuild the wall. As you experience challenges in marriage, it's easy to believe that you've failed and it's not worth the time and energy to press on. Failing doesn't make you a failure.
Fear. The workers in Nehemiah 4 were affected by the murmuring and complaining of negative, discouraged, fearful people. Are there people in your life who are pointing out all the reasons marriage isn't worth the effort? Or sharing with you all the things to be afraid of for your marriage?
Discouragement is dissatisfaction with the past, distaste for the present, and distrust for the future. Discouragement will destroy your life and your marriage if you let it.
How do you beat discouragement?
Pause. Be still. The enemy wants to take you fast and furiously downhill toward despair and hopelessness, your thoughts racing and swirling in chaos. God rested, Jesus rested, surely, you need to rest, too.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. ~Psalm 62:5
Pray. Talk to God first about what's going on and how you're feeling. He can handle hearing your disappointment, hurt, anger, and frustration.
Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord. ~Psalm 27:14
Perspective. As you pray, remembering who God is, you are moving your eyes from your circumstances to your Creator, Provider, Strong Tower, Lover of your soul and Author of your faith. As your faith increases, your fear diminishes.
The Lord says this to you: Be not afraid or dismayed at this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. ~2 Chronicles 20:15
Nehemiah encouraged his workers, reminding them of the importance of their work in building the wall. It's a call to something greater, to remind us that God and your marriage are bigger than the forces that come against it. It's a battle cry:
Do not be afraid of the enemy; [earnestly] remember the Lord and imprint Him [on your minds], great and terrible, and [take from Him courage to] fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes. ~Nehemiah 4:14
Perfect God, in Jesus' name, I ask You to remove from every couple who knows You, loves You and pursues You, any discouragement that they may be feeling in their lives and marriages. Teach them what Your Word means when it says to wait on You and to be of good courage. Them them that You will strengthen them. Show Yourself strong in their lives! Thank You for hearing and honoring Your Words! In Jesus' name, AMEN!
How do YOU fight discouragement?
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