Series Outline • What is it? • What does it do to me? • How do I kill it? What is it? • Dis-courage-ment. – Dis-courage. Lack of courage. – Fear? Part II from last week, right? • What are the differences? • Synonyms: – Hopeless, disheartened, dispirited, obstructed, hindered, frowned upon, burnt-out. What is it? • Fear prevents you from getting out of the foxhole. • Discouragement delays you from reaching your objective. What does it do to me? • • • • • • • • “I am clearly not qualified to do this.” “Somebody else could do this better.” “I keep messing up.” “I’m not making any progress.” “There’s no light at the end of the tunnel.” “Why would this time be any different?” “Two steps forward, three steps back.” “I just can’t win.” Factor 1: Fatigue • V10 – The strength of the laborers was failing. – Fatigue confounds our best qualities. – We have a tendency to push ourselves until the gas tank is absolutely empty. – Fatigue begins in isolation and amplifies loneliness. – “A failure to plan is a plan to fail.” Factor 2: Frustration • V10 – The rubbish was overwhelming. – The most monumental tasks fall prey to the most minor of annoyances. – Burnout is considered by some to be a badge of spirituality. • It is a result, however, of a lack of focus, purpose, or accomplishment. – Fatigue + Frustration Failure Factor 3: Failure • V10 (concludes) – “We cannot rebuild the wall.” – When is failure truly a finality? • You’re dead. • You plum ran out of time. – Absent these conditions, failure is used to validate fatigue and frustration. • “Embrace the horror.” – Fatigue + Frustration + Failure Fear Factor 4: Fear • V11-12 – And you’re about to be murdered anyway. – The two responses to failure are usually “try again” and “run away.” – Fear triggers the latter. – The fear of death, in light of (concluded) failure, brought on by fatigue and frustration, gives birth to hopelessness and surrender. Step 1: Cry out to God! • Nehemiah started with what most of us try last…prayer. (4:4-5) • Cover your life, cover your days, cover your efforts…daily…in prayer! • At the first sign of fatigue or frustration, pray with fervor for strength, wisdom, and direction. Step 2: Resume Work • In verse 6, work continued despite opposition and insult. • The best antidote to discouragement is accomplishing your goal! • Embrace the 80/20 20/80 rule. It’s okay! • When you don’t feel like doing something, it’s a sure sign that’s what you should be doing the most. Step 3: Think Big Picture • Each worker saw his rubble and bricks, but not the whole wall going up around the city. • YOU are one member of the Body of Christ. You do not see the totality of His work. • Lack of positive feedback does not equate to lack of impact. Step 4: Bible Time • Nehemiah claimed God’s power and providence (V14). • In your discouragement, seek out God’s word, find His promises, and claim them. • Find yourself a story (like Nehemiah) of victory through far greater adversity. • Find some perspective. Step 5: Encouragement • V16-23 – They began to help each other. • How many times have you found something to be 4 times easier with just one more set of hands? • Seeking the help of others, and offering it yourself (even if you don’t “feel” up to it) is a tremendous weapon against discouragement. Kill Shot: Pride • The giant of fear is felled, oddly enough, with the weapon of love, not courage. • The giant of discouragement is not felled by the weapon of intensity, but of humility. – Be humble enough to recognize that you cannot do it alone or with great speed. – Be humble enough to recognize that you may not be the one called to wave the flag at the top of the mountain. – Be humble enough to accept help from others. Slaying Discouragement • In what do you feel discouraged today? • What stage of discouragement are you facing? – Fatigue, Frustration, Failure, Fear • What role might pride be playing in this? • What will you do today to slay this giant, and reach your objective? • Sucker-punch – Make sure your objective is indeed God’s objective in your life!