Nehemiah – Fighting Discouragement

I hate it when I get halfway through a huge project and everything starts falling apart: you get tired, people around you start whining real bad and others are telling you that you’re out of your mind to keep going.

Nehemiah must have been ready to shoot someone.  The walls around Jerusalem have been repaired to half their height and all of a sudden…

Nehemiah chapter 4

10 Then the people of Judah began to complain, “The workers are getting tired, and there is so much rubble to be moved. We will never be able to build the wall by ourselves.”

11 Meanwhile, our enemies were saying, “Before they know what’s happening, we will swoop down on them and kill them and end their work.”
12 The Jews who lived near the enemy came and told us again and again, “They will come from all directions and attack us!”

Discouragement sets in.  Here’s how it normally happens:

  1. You start to get burned out, even in the midst of doing something great – being human, strength will wear down.  It’s gonna happen.  You’ll have good days and not so good days.
  2. Everything around you starts to look like another burden, another problem – ever notice how things around you that used to be the solution begin to look like part of the problem?  Even serving at church (doing good things) will burn you out.
  3. You start to lose your will to continue and you lose confidence in yourself – there is nothing worse than asking yourself “Why am I even doing this?”.
  4. You start feeling insecure about everything – insecurity will bring you to your knees.  It will make you lose sleep, it will wipe you out physically.  It can consume you.

The Optimist Steps In

Nehemiah was one of those guys that wouldn’t let his circumstances slow him down.  Remember that this was the same guy that would never let the king see him sad or down.

Fighting discouragement:

  1. Pause to regroup (Nehemiah 4:13) – stop the vicious cycle of discouragement to regain perspective. This is the first step in turning things back around.
  2. Remember the Lord and His promises (Nehemiah 4:14) – God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He is the Almighty God and we cannot forget to acknowledge Him and lean on Him for every need.
  3. Maintain your balance between thoughts and action (Nehemiah 4:16) – The work needs to continue, but you need to take practical steps to allow it to continue.  In Nehemiah’s case, he set half the group to defend the workers and the other half kept working.  In Ephesians 6:10-20, we are urged to put on the whole armor of God.
  4. Rally around each other (Nehemiah 4:19,20) – We need to allow others around us to help when we are in need.  Pride keeps us from this.  We need to watch each other’s backs and support one another.  In Romans 12:13-16, we are told to stay in touch with other’s needs.
  5. Challenge others to help (Nehemiah 4:22) – Sometimes people need to be asked to help.  They will help if they know how to help.

Everyone of us gets burned out doing great things.  That’s when we become vulnerable.

Keep going!

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