When feeling hopeless and discouraged, these kinds of thoughts can easily come to mind. A lot like lions hunting gazelle, Satan wants to isolate us from those who would support, encourage and protect us. His efforts begin in our minds where he plants thoughts like these: “No one has every experienced what I have been through.”
So recognize this red flag: When your thoughts begin to isolate you and make you feel all alone, Satan is at work. At the first sign of this red flag waving in your face, begin the redirect in your thinking.
Psalm 42 from today’s One Year Bible reading exemplifies this for us. First, be honest with God about your feelings. He is not afraid of your authenticity. “Day and night I have only tears for food.” “My heart is breaking….” “Why have you forgotten me?” (vv. 3, 4, 9)
Second, redirect your mind’s focus onto the bigness of your God. Remember and rehearse his greatness. “Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you” (v. 6). “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God. I will praise him again–my Savior and my God” (vv. 5, 11). “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God” (v. 1).
At the end of the day, our thoughts, feelings and actions will be largely determined by thoughts we rehearse in our minds throughout the day. So don’t camp out in the field of whining. Sure, tell God your thoughts and feelings, but move on.
Lord, I may be discouraged. I may be sad. I may be depressed. But right now I choose to focus my mind’s attention and my heart’s affection on you. I put my hope in you. I will praise you again and again and again for all the ways you have been faithful to me in the past. You are my Savior, and my God! So today, discouragement, sadness and depression are not in charge of me. I lay them at your feet. You are in charge of me! Amen!