Discouraged? Here Are My Top 5 Ways To Fight That by Travis Sharpe

At times, homeless ministry can be really discouraging. Like any ministry, there are going to be ups and downs. There will be good days and bad days. There will be success and failure.

Discouraged lady picture

Because a large percentage of the people you interact with on a regular basis are in dire circumstances, homeless ministry has its unique challenges. Sometimes discouragement comes because you feel powerless to help. Other times, you may have an extremely long spell where you see very little results.

Or maybe someone that has done so good for so long, falls yet once again and your heart is broken.o

Whatever the cause, discouragement is real and it happens to the best of us. So here are my five best ways to fight discouragement.

1. I get entrenched in God’s Word

This may be the best fix for every problem there has ever been. I cannot tell you how many times that being alone with God in his Word has healed my spirit. Let’s just say that over the years, this has been (and I believe always will be), the number one prescription for me when it comes to fighting discouragement.

The Bible teaches us about ourselves and about others. It tells us why and it tells us how. I believe there is something in the Bible for every single trial and temptation we will face and that a Christian cannot experience fullness of joy apart from a close relationship with their Bible.

So when I am discouraged, I do my best to dive into God’s word to find the hope and help I need.

2. I meditate upon past victories

When I get discouraged because I am seeing little progress, I like to meditate upon past victories.

There are a few precious people and terrific times in my ministry that stand out above the rest. There people who have made it. There are times when God proved himself strong and mighty in an amazing way. There are times when I thought I was going down for the final time, but then, at just the right time, God provided.

I enjoy intentionally reflecting upon these memories. They are victories that God gave just to me. They are proof that discouragement lasts only for a season. They are like mile markers on the journey and it helps to look back and let my heart and mind remember that what I do is worth while.

3. I take time off

It seems as though down time has gotten a bad wrap in the realm of Christian service. We pride ourselves in how much we “serve”. We hail preachers and missionaries as heroes for their continued sacrifices of time and treasure.

But the truth is everyone needs rest for their mind and body. Neglecting this will eventually land the best of people in a place of utter frustration as they get worn thin with the cares of life and ministry.

I have found that an afternoon of fishing or a couple days away with my sweetheart does me wonders. It rejuvenates my spirit and gives my mind a break. I have humbled myself enough to accept that I need down time as a part of my life as much as anyone.

4. I rest in God’s call

At the end of the day, the one thing that matters above all else is God’s call upon my life. Ultimately, if I am a servant of the Lord, my opinion about how the whole thing is going is of little value. What does matter is that I am in the right place, serving the right person.

There have been many times when I have wanted to quit, (and a couple when I did), only to be drawn back to service by the calling upon my life. I know that God has called me to preach the gospel to the homeless and needy as sure as I know I am saved. In my life it is a fact.

Since it is a fact, I rest in it. I rest in the promises that God has given me along with my calling. I rest in the fact that if I will simply follow God’s will for me today, he will take care of the details.

Where God guides, he provides and where God leads, he proceeds!

5. I consider myself

It has been my experience that much of my discouragement stems from people. Some people just won’t listen. Others continue in blatant sin. Sometimes I feel as though I care about people more than they care about themselves.

It’s easy to get the attitude of “if they don’t care, then neither do I”. It’s easy to look at the people around you and get completely fed up!

When this happens, I look in the mirror. That usually fixes it for me. I consider my own shortcomings and my own stubbornness. The truth is, we all have issues. We all have things we are working on. Though someone else’s problems might manifest themselves in a different way, mine are just as grieving to God.

When we realize that we are all a “work in progress” it not only helps us to love one another, it also causes us to look up to the only one who has ever gotten all this right!

Question: What do you do to fight off discouragement?

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