Hubby and I have made an agreement not to talk about sensitive issues after 10:00 p.m. It’s a rule in our household because when we were first married our late night talks would turn into fights and we would say hurtful things, because we were tired and our reasoning senses were shot. We eliminated almost all arguments with that simple rule.
Exhaustion takes the best out of a person. Another new book on the market,talks about the high burnout rate among pastors. In reading reviews of the book, the author says that lack of sleep is one of the main causes of burnout.
I’m reading this book that also deals with the correlation of sleep deprivation and discouragement. It’s a book for overactive people who are seeking to strengthen a love relationship with the Lord. Being in the ministry, I feel the demands of people’s needs constantly. Daily, we hear claps at the door to pray, to chauffeur people around, to do weddings, funerals, to lead Bible studies, to counsel just about any problem imaginable. When the day is done and my body is exhausted, my soul is weary, and I lay awake staring at the ceiling, and I wonder if God is really listening.
It doesn’t matter what your job title is, weariness that leads to discouragement or depression is a danger for all busy people. Over activity is an epidemic problem in our modern age. I can get so physically exhausted with all the hats I wear, I just don’t have strength to pour into my relationship with God. It is no coincidence that this book lists lack of sleep as the number one reason for discouragement. Here are a few suggestions from the author for fighting discouragement:
1. Allow for rest stops. Discouragement is often our body’s way of saying “Stop! I need rest.” Try taking a nap or getting to bed a little earlier. It’s amazing how different things will look in the light of morning. (Ex. 34:21)
2. Get a new point of view. Take a few steps back and ask God to help you see his perspective on your situation. Often what seems to be an impassable mountain in our eyes is only a steppingstone in his (Isaiah 33:17)
3. Have Patience. It’s easy to get discouraged when things don’t go the way you planned. But if you’ve committed your concerns to the Lord, you can be sure he is at work, even when you don’t see his hand (Romans 8:28).
4. Mingle. Discouragement feeds off isolation. Get out of the house! Go visit some friends. It’s amazing how good, old-fashioned fellowship can lift our spirits and chase away the blues. (Psalm 133:1)
5. Set the timer. Okay. So things aren’t so good. I’ve found it helpful to set the oven timer and allow ten minutes for a good cry. But when the buzzer sounds, I blow my nose, wipe my eyes, and surrender my situation to the Lord so I can move on (Ecclesiastes 3:4). p. 21
Here are my added suggestions:
6. Turn on the music. There is nothing like praise music to wipe away the doldrums. Unconsciously, I start singing the words to a song of adoration and I begin to forget what’s weighing me down.
7. Count your blessings. I tend to focus on the negative when I’m down in the dumps. Writing down what I’m thankful for helps me intentionally put my focus on the positive aspects of life. We are very fortunate and it’s important to thank God for what we do have.
8. Walk and Talk. When I’m frustrated or doubtful, I find it helpful to breathe fresh air and talk to God on a walk. I tell him whatever’s on my heart while looking around at the beautiful nature He’s created. It seems to help to get things off my chest and helps to take in the majesty of creation.
9. Write about it. Once a concern is on paper, I can let it go easier than when it’s still spilling around in my head. I put concerns in a little notebook and then when I close the cover, I try to release it. When it comes to mind again, I pray about it and ask God to take that burden from me so it doesn’t continue to weigh me down during the day.
What are your ways for handling discouragement, doubt and disappointment?