We all face the three Big D’s from time to time, don’t we?
My Recent Round With Disappointment, Discouragement, & Despair
This past week I faced all three of the D’s.
In need of a job, I attended a one-week hiring event for a company I highly respect. They were opening a new store in the area.
Because of my skills and work experience, I felt like I would not only enjoy the work, but also be of benefit to the company.
I arrived early on the first day to find cars parked along the highway and the foyer of the building thronging with people.
My number was 196 on day one, hour two.
After waiting three hours, my first interview went well, and I was scheduled for another interview on day two.
When I arrived the next day, they were up into the three hundreds with several folks waiting. My second interview also went great, as did the accompanying math test (a HUGE feat for my old lady brain).
The third interview was that same day with the store manager. As I waited, I watched several people leave the interview room with smiles on their faces and job papers in hand.
But the manager’s words to me were: “We’ll be looking through all the applications, and we’ll get back with you.”
No job offer.
No job papers in hand as I exited the building to the stares of those still waiting.
And if there was a smile on my face, it was phony-baloney.
I was heartbroken.
So many things hinged on me getting that job. And now I was back at square one.
I wish I could say that the resulting disappointment rolled off my back like water off a duck. Sadly, I allowed my disappointment to take root and grow into discouragement and despair. It took me almost twenty-four hours to come around.
And honestly, my “coming around” wasn’t my doing at all, but the Lord’s.
Hopefully, this post will also serve as a reminder to anyone struggling with disappointment, discouragement, and despair: Our God is bigger than all three!
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4 Spiritual Strategies to Conquer the 3 D’s
1. Be honest with the Lord about how you’re feeling.
One of the things I love most about the Psalms written by King David is his gut-wrenching honesty.
I think sometimes believers feel like they must always be as happy as a smiley-face emoji when going to the Lord.
Yes, we are blessed beyond measure in ways that surpass this earthly life. That is definitely cause for rejoicing.
But sometimes our current set of circumstances make it difficult to even pull ourselves out of bed and put one foot in front of the other.
Let’s not forget that Jesus walked this planet as a human, fully God and fully man, He knows how difficult earthly life is. He sees our struggles. He understands that we’re made of dust.
So don’t stuff your emotions. Instead, take your yukky stuff to the Lord with the same gut-wrenching honesty as David.
Moreover David was greatly distressed….But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.
1 Samuel 30:6
2. Change the way you think through prayer.
True confession time here: I’m the world’s worst about allowing negative thoughts to consume me during times of distress.
If it weren’t for the Lord’s help, I’d stay stuck in the yuck forever!
But the sooner I turn to Him, the sooner He turns my thoughts toward a more positive way of thinking. Then those three Big D’s evaporate like the lies they are.
When we pray, an amazing transformation takes place in our minds.
Philippians 4:6-7 describes the miraculous mind transformation this way: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
There’s two parts to this equation. Us and God. First, we must get rid of the anxiety. That only comes when we choose to trust the Lord instead. In addition, we turn to Him in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving.
Notice the results! God’s peace — not the pseudo peace the world gives — but a true peace that passes comprehension, guards our hearts and minds in Jesus.
Please don’t miss the astounding imagery here. The original Hebrew for the English word “guard” literally means to build a fort around.
I don’t know about you, but I crave that God-built fortress around my heart and mind to protect me from further enemy-inflicted wounds. (And make no mistake about it, the devil is ultimately responsible for the three big D’s! And he wants us to stay there!)
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
3. Saturate your life with promises from His Word.
How I love God’s Word! It truly is “a lamp unto my feet and light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105).
I’m reading through the Bible chronologically this year. As I write this, I just finished reading a passage in 2 Chronicles 20 where King Jehoshaphat receives warning that the nation of Judah is about to be attacked.
To make a long story short, the king called all the nation together and cried out to the Lord. God responded through His Spirit and told them this: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” -2 Chronicles 20:15
Those words were like balm to my aching soul. There’s not a doubt in my mind that the Lord delivered that word for my benefit as well as the nation of Judah.
During tough times in my early adulthood, I made it a practice of writing down verses that spoke to my current situation. When I struggled to overcome the enemy’s lies, those truths brought comfort and strength.
It’s a practice that continues to help me out of the doldrums of life.
I’ve created a small gift for those of you who might need special encouragement at the moment. The four verses from the slideshow above came from my Etsy shop designs. I reduced their size and put them in PDF format. You can simply print out the PDF on regular 8.5 x 11 computer paper or card stock and cut into four equal sizes for easy handling.
“You will not have to fight this battle, take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you…Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.”
2 Chronicles 20:17
4. Praise Him.
Continuing the story from 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat and the people set out early the next morning to face the enemy’s vast army.
The king appointed men to sing and praise the LORD as they went out ahead of the army.
Their song was this: “Give thanks to the LORD, for His love endures forever.” -2 Chronicles 20:21
The next part of the story gives me chills. God’s Word says that “As they began to sing and praise” the LORD set an ambush against the enemy, and they were defeated.
By the time Judah arrived on the scene, the battleground was already strewn with the dead bodies of the invading army. There was so much plunder it took three days to collect it.
Our God truly does inhabit the praise of His people. When we stand firm and praise Him for who He is, our victory is assured.
But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.
These four spiritual strategies have helped me time and time again. I pray they have and will do the same for you:
- Go to the Lord with gut-wrenching honesty.
- Allow prayer to change your thoughts.
- Strengthen yourself with God’s Word.
- Praise Him in the storm.
Though my current circumstances haven’t changed as of the writing of this post, my response has.
I’ve confessed my hurt, anger, and lack of trust to the Lord. I’ve prayed and read His Word. I’ve praised Him, not as a means of manipulating Him to do what I want, but because He is so worthy of my praise regardless of the circumstances.
There may not be a battlefield full of dead bodies before me, but the enemy has been dealt a blow. My head and my heart are once more at peace, and disappointment, discouragement, and despair are once more defeated.
Have an encouraging testimony about how the Lord miraculously delivered you from disappointment, discouragement, and despair? Please encourage us all by sharing your testimony in the comments.