Why Do I Get Discouraged?

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?” (Psalm 42:5a, ESV)

How many times have I asked myself this question? Do any of these reasons for discouragement sound familiar to you?

I am likely to become discouraged when:

  • I am suffering trials (loss, death, troubled relationships, health problems, financial setbacks).
  • I expect people to be and do what only God can be and do.
  • I think circumstances ought to change, but they don’t.
  • I want to control circumstances instead of trusting God.
  • I feel like nothing I do is making any difference.
  • I am struggling with illness, fatigue, or hormones.
  • I compare myself to others.
  • I expect perfection from myself and others.
  • I try to play the role of Holy Spirit in someone’s life.
  • I try to work in my own strength instead of availing myself of God’s infinite strength.
  • I listen to myself instead of speaking the truth of God’s Word to myself.
  • I don’t take the time or invest the energy needed to organize my time and environment.
  • I don’t set aside time for communing with God (thinking, praying, studying, reading).
  • I am over-committed.
  • I feel like I’m barely keeping up with all that I am supposed to do.
  • I am doing unnecessary things that I am not called to do.
  • I isolate myself.
  • I am resentful or bitter or start to feel sorry for myself.
  • I am worried or afraid.
  • I have not repented of sin.
  • I am facing the consequences of my sin and negligence.

I take comfort in the fact that David, a man after God’s own heart, asked himself this same question. “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?” He didn’t even have premenstrual, pregnancy, and postpartum hormones to deal with! Of course, he did have an unstable king who was trying to kill him for no good reason, a wife who mocked him instead of rejoicing with him in his victories, the guilt of adultery and murder on his own conscience, rape and murder amongst his children, a manipulative son who led the kingdom in rebellion against him – just to name a few of the reasons he might have had for becoming discouraged.

But David didn’t wallow in discouragement. Look at the Psalms. David often asked God how long the current trial was going to last. He told God about his tears and groaning. He asked God why He was hiding during times of trouble. But He also knew God. He appealed to His justice and mercy. He trusted in the God who had always proven Himself faithful. And the Psalms almost without fail end with David already acknowledging and giving thanks for the victory that he knows God will bring.

In my own life, most of the discouragement I have faced has been the result of my own sinful attitudes and actions. I am either discouraged because I have sinned and am reaping the consequences, or I am discouraged because I am not remembering who God is, what He requires of me, and what He is ready to do for me.

The role of motherhood, with all its joys, is also full of potential for discouragement. Over the next few weeks, let’s take a look at some of the sources of discouragement in our lives. Let’s look at God and His Word, and learn to tell ourselves, just as David did, when discouraged, “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation  and my God” (Psalm 42:5b-6a).

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  1. I really needed to hear this! Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Definitely needed this today …thank you

  3. Needed this more than you can imagine today! Caring for my elderly grandparents (Grandmother is in late stages of Alzhiemer’s) and homeschooling my 7 & 5yr olds and trying to be ALL things for everyone I have gotten a bit frazzled this week. God has been dealing with me on reclaiming my time and my priorities. It is funny that you mentioned David, I have been thinking about the scripture where David “encouraged himself in the Lord his God” (1 Sam 30:6) You are an encouragement to me…Thank you!

  4. Wow! This is EXACTLY what I needed to hear today. It’s like you’ve been in my house shadowing me lately. Thank you for this post.

  5. Thank you–this was a message straight from the Father’s heart—and I see that my own heart was not the only one touched by it!

  6. Thank you so much. All very practical everyday reasons why I experience discouragement. Comforting to know I am in good company! Yours and David’s – but also my Lord and savior – who is entirely trustworthy and has Grace enough for everyday! =o)

  7. Discouragement and Depression have been constant tormentors in my life. Right now, I’m fighting it hard – God provides. And yet still I find myself discouraged and crying out to God for comfort.

    Thank you for this post today.

  8. Yes, I believe this rings true for me as well. Thank you for that perspective. 🙂 I look forward to the upcoming posts.

  9. Oh thank you for this post! I have been struggling w/ depression for the past few months…I am pregnant, so I know hormones play a role, however, your above list is exactly things that I struggle w/ also. My friend/midwife has had me write down and make a list of who God says He is in Isaiah chapters 40-44. Good reminder to me, especially when I get discouraged or down. Many Blessings to you all!

  10. This list could have been my own! Thanks for sharing. Discouragement has been a big barrier in my life lately, but God continues to love me and carry me through the tough times. He is so GREAT!


  11. This definitely resonates with me as well! I’m thankful for your willingness to share, it helps us all realize we struggle similarly, and to be reminded that God is always there, always here, loving us through it all.

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