Updated: Nov 30, 2019
The spirit of heaviness and discouragement is another internal battle that will seek to hinder our momentum as we move forward with the things God is calling us to do.
a loss of enthusiasm; dispiritedness
a feeling of having lost hope or confidence
something (such as a failure or difficulty) that discourages someone
The battle with discouragement and heaviness can look like;
feeling disillusioned to or lacking clarity of vision
loss of direction/focus
inconsistency & double-mindedness
prolonged negative emotions such as depression, apathy, defeatist attitude
feeling down or flat for no apparent reason (spirit of heaviness)
When we step out in obedience to God, we will most assuredly encounter discouragement, disappointments and be attacked by the spirit of heaviness. However scripture is full of answers to keep us battle ready and able to keep moving forward.
Tool 1: Pouring out to God
I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble -Psalm 142:2
In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me Psalm 120:1
One of the things we see King David do throughout the Psalms is pour his heart out to God - the good, the bad & the ugly. When we do this whether through prayer, journaling, tears and the like, we position ourselves to receive God’s comfort as well as His perspective. Both strengthen us to continue on the race laying aside discouragement and trusting God.
Tool 2: The garment of praise
... the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness... Isaiah 61:3
Making praise and gratitude a habit will help us to regain our focus swiftly. So when heaviness hits be sure to rebuke that spirit through the authority you have in Christ, and dive into praise. Whether that is in song, dance, declarations and the like - get loud, get moving, get free! Remember that whilst worship may be a lifestyle, praise is an expression! There must be an active exchange!
Tool 3: The God Report (Word of God)
My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word - Psalm 119:28
Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad -Proverbs 12:25
Keeping God’s Word in our hearts and on our minds is helpful when discouragement comes, especially from outside voices. Remembering His promises, His faithfulness, His miracles, His love, His Truth empowers us to keep our hearts guarded and rise up from discouragement. Having trusted voices speak wise and uplifting counsel will also help to shift our focus back to the right perspective.
Tool 4: Keep momentum
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus -Philippians 3:14
Whatever we face, we must decide to keep moving forward in obedience (unless God specifically tells us to stop doing something). Discouragement and heaviness only intensifies when we come to a complete stand still. The best thing to do is having time with God (& others), being poured into -refreshed and refocused so we can continue moving forward. So keep serving, keep giving, loving, sowing good seeds in whatever way you’re called to.
A few extra thoughts for the moments of discouragement specific to stepping out in faith;
Trusting the process - Sometimes we can become discouraged because our obedience doesn’t seem to be followed by any tangible results. It’s in these times that we must remember to trust the process. There are so many stages, layers and seasons to the things God call us to do. Sometimes He is testing our obedience, other times there is a lesson for us to learn, a character trait to be developed or even a healing to receive that comes in an unexpected way. Rather than focusing on results, focus on being obedient and let God take care of the results/fruit/outcome.
Tip: Keep the vision clear & simple by writing the specific instructions God has given you in this season and focusing on being faithful in them. This will help you to keep moving forward with direction without worrying about the results.
Deal with disappointments - When we don’t get the results we hoped for, we have to ask ourselves where the expectation came from. Was it our own presumption or did God actually say what the results would be? If God did say so, did He give us a time frame or just the promise? Disappointments come from unmet expectations, so we must remember to expect that which God has told us to expect, giving over the pain of disappointment when we encounter it and receiving the courage to hope again. You can read in more depth on dealing with disappointment in this blog.
Prayer; Abba, You said in Your word that You refresh the weary soul. I pray refreshing for any weary soul reading this blog. I pray that they would see and understand by the Spirit and not human reasoning. Give them Your perspective Lord. Fill them with Your Word, Your Joy, Your strength to keep moving forward with You. May Your voice be recognised and obeyed. Lord we commit to You the promises and processes of our lives. We trust You with the timing, we trust Your Ways, thoughts and plans. Heal the pain of any disappointments and fill us with the courage to hope afresh in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.