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What to Do When You’re Down

Are you down? Ever? If not, this is not your post. If so, God gets it! He really does. In fact, He expects it. Fighting discouragement is a part of the fallen human experience. Sin stinks and it’s condemned us to a less than perfect world where emotions persistently try to get the best of us. Good thing they are only emotions!

God reaches out to your heart in Isaiah 40. Read it, then let’s talk about it:

“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)

God predicts your weariness! He essentially says, “expect it.” Then he says what to do when it comes. He says “wait upon the Lord.” This word “wait” is pretty special. It implies four things:

Presence—The word means “to bind up by twisting.” It means to adhere your heart and life to God’s presence so tightly that you and God are inseparable! Walking away, giving up, or otherwise quitting on God is not an option.

Permanence—The word implies a unity between you and God that spans the rest of your life. Again, separation or giving up is just not a possibility. Emotional or physical seasons of depletion give me a reason to cling more tightly to God, not a reason to give up on Him.

Patience—The word implies endurance. It teaches me to see seasons of discouragement as “that which has a beginning and an end.” Patience calls me to maintain my course, wait it out, hold on to hope during hardness. It reminds me that my waiting will have, at some point, an end! And throughout God’s Word, patience is always a good thing during which time God is doing an amazing work.

Persistence—Waiting on God means I’m maintaining my course, inspite of my emotions. Our wondering, questions, and doubts (in times of discouragement) always have the effect of causing us to reconsider or reexamine God’s will or direction. Waiting on God is the process of yielding to His ordained season in my life.

The great promise of waiting is that he SHALL renew your strength! He will. It’s not a question of IF but WHEN. You may appear to be failing now, but so did Jesus on the cross. Three days made a big difference! God specializes in turning perceived failure into smashing success—to His glory! He specializes in making seasons of despair your greatest catalyst to fruitfulness. He is the master of leveraging storms for His glory!

So may I give you some ways to wait? As you venture through your dark tunnel of questions and emotions, here are some ways to wait on the Lord:

1. Go to God—I wrote a post recently on solitude. Your down times can be turned into divine times. Go to Him, be honest with Him, pour out your heart to Him. He understands and He receives your complaints and exchanges them for grace!

2. Go to Worship—Think of how often the Psalms begin with calamity and conclude with celebration! Lift your eyes toward Heaven, open your heart and your mouth, and worship Him! Get alone somewhere and start singing—loudly and confidently! “Bless the Lord, O My Soul!” “How Great Thou Art!” “I Love You Lord!” You will be surprised how worship changes your world!

3. Go to Encouragers—God has placed people in your life that are gifted to encourage! They love Jesus, love you, and love helping discouraged people have perspective. Open up, be humble, be honest, and call one of them. Go to lunch, get some coffee, and ask for some perspective. God’s grace often arrives at our heart through the uplifting voice of His gifted encouragers!

4. Go to Church—If you aren’t surrounded by encouragers, then you need a church family. The church of Jesus is called to be a body of encouragers and care-givers for one another. Get into a healthy body of encouraging believers who will strengthen you and love you in grace!

5. Go to Rest—A lot of times our down times are simply exhausted times. Look back at your schedule. Have you been running so hard that you are depleted? You may not even physically feel tired, but you could still be emotionally and spiritually “on empty.” Have the courage to confront exhaustion and get some rest.

6. Go to Memories—Look back at other times when you felt this way. Remember the times when God brought you through! He will do it again. Remember the seasons of life when His blessings were apparent and abundant. You will be there again! Don’t forget all that God has done.

7. Go to Patience—If all of this doesn’t help you recover your strength, then it all boils down to waiting with patience. Many times in life, I have done the above only to still feel “down.” Sometimes those “down seasons” have been a morning or a day, other times they have been much longer. But one thing is certain—they have all had their end. Renewed strength and joy always comes from God, eventually!

Stay the course with God! He hasn’t forsaken or forgotten you! He’s using even your down time to do something in you that you cannot comprehend.

Wait on Him, and renewed strength is a guaranteed eventuality!

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