Please welcome my friend Beth from Messy Marriage. Every time I read her words I am encouraged, inspired, and shouting, “Amen!” After you read her post here, I hope you’ll leave a comment and then check out her truth-filled blog!
There was a time when you might have accused me of being easily discouraged, rather than firm in my faith. And you would have been right in your estimation of me. Of course, I would have denied that you were really seeing into my heart or soul. I might have even defended my faithfulness by pointing out all the “religious” things I was doing . . . And in my prideful view at the time, doing quite well! Thank you very much!
The truth of the situation was that I had more emotional “dips and dives” than your neighborhood’s public pool on a hot day in July.
This was all due to the challenges of early motherhood, the stresses of a messy marriage, and the instability of my low self-esteem. Any number of difficult circumstances could send my emotions careening into a ditch of devastation and despair.
Fast-forward some twenty odd years later and I still face those same temptations—occasionally letting them get me down, but typically not for very long.
What am I doing differently now that seemed to elude me in my youth?
Once I tell you, you’re probably going to feel like my answer is trite and cliché. But even if it is, it still works. And best of all, it’s biblical—which is why it works!
Allow me to tell you a story before I reveal what I do in discouraging moments.
Recently, my husband and I began to discuss something rather mundane as I was driving him to an appointment. When out of the blue, our discussion began to escalate into an argument. Thankfully, we were able to set our disagreement aside until after we had taken the opportunity to calm down, pray and regain our sanity—discussing it further much later in the day.
But I will tell you, after I dropped my husband off and drove away to my next destination, I was overwhelmed with anger and discouragement. Not only that, but that brief encounter threatened to color the rest of my day an ugly shade of gray.
That was until I took the “Psalm 77” tack of thanking God for all that He had done for me as I drove down the highway. This meant thanking the Lord not just for the things that were obviously good in my life, but also for that difficult and conflicted moment I had just experienced, as well as for the husband who I, unfortunately, wanted to cast as the “difficult one” in said “difficult moment.”
If you know anything about Psalm 77, you’ll see just how discouraged the Psalmist was when he penned that very important text in the Bible. In fact, he almost sounds as if he was whining and complaining until he reached a certain point in the chapter. Listen to the shift in his tone there . . .
Then I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.” I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. (Psalm 77:10-12 ESV)
For the remainder of the chapter the psalmist regaled the Lord with stories and praises of how faithful and good he found the Lord to be.
Whenever I do this in a discouraged moment, it almost always feels insincere at the outset. I’m tempted to feel like this is just slapping a bandage on a gaping wound. But as I continue—praise-by-praise and thank-You-by-thank-You—I begin to feel the Lord encouraging me. I begin to see just how blessed I am, no matter how disguised those blessings were before I began to hunt them down and capture them in praise.
Is there a discouragement you feel in your life or marriage? Have you made a habit of praising and thanking God for His goodness to you—in the good and the bad of your life? If not, I hope you’ll try the Psalm 77 approach. It’s guaranteed to turn your eyes from what’s threatening you back to the One who delivers you in the midst of those troubles!
Beth and her husband of 30 years are enjoying the early days of an empty-nest. Now, Beth fills up her days with writing, life-coaching, mentoring, as well as speaking at workshops. You can also find more of her writing and insights at messymarriage.com, as well as hanging out on her MM Facebook Page, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. She also offers more than 35 relationship and spiritual resources in a library that is free to subscribers of her blog.
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