I went to bed a few days ago with a heavy feeling of dread and extreme luck of joy. I was feeling very discouraged and wasn’t looking forward to waking up in the morning. Having suffered from severe depression before, I knew it as that all familiar feeling that comes over you just before you truly hit depression. Over the years I have had to learn to live with this awareness in order to avoid it.
I was listening to a bible teaching when this very topic came up and I was hugely grateful to learn that this dreadful feeling is something that we all feel every now and then in our lives. (Proverbs 15:15 Amplified Bible Version) says, “All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil [by anxious thoughts and forebodings], but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of circumstances]”. Forebodings means, a strong inner feeling or notion of a future misfortune, evil, etc. This was such a revelation to me. This is exactly what I was feeling! It wasn’t so much about the circumstances or what life was throwing at me, it was my thoughts that were creating that feeling of despair and dread! I was choosing to believe that the worst was going to happen and that is what was sending me into a state of depression. I had taught myself to believe that it is better not hope for the best so that when the worst happened, I wouldn’t be disappointed. Reading this bible verse and feeling the way that I did, made me realize what a huge mistake it is to think that way. Thinking the worst was going to happen was just pulling me down and almost driving me into depression, yet expecting the best was lifting up my spirits. Whether you get the best or not, isn’t feeling joyful a much better option than feeling depressed? The second part of the reading tells us that having a positive attitude regardless of the circumstances brings us continuous celebration! Our thoughts are more powerful than we imagine. It isn’t about what life throws at us, it is how we choose to react to what it throws at us. We have free will to choose.
(Proverbs 23:7) New King James Version says, “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he”. I made a decision to change my thoughts by quoting as many bible verses as I could remember that encourage us not be afraid or discouraged.
(Philippians 4:6-7) Amplified Bible Version, “Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.”
And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
(Joshua 1:9) Amplified Bible Version, “Have not I commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
(2 Timothy 1:7) Amplified Bible Version, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”
(Deuteronomy 31:6) Amplified Bible Version, “Be strong, courageous, and firm; fear not nor be in terror before them, for it is the Lord your God Who goes with you; He will not fail you or forsake you”.
(John 14:27) Amplified Bible Version, “Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]”
(Proverbs 3:5-6) Amplified Bible Version, “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.”
These are just a few of the plentiful verses that have been made available to us. The one that I was taught to recite more than any other is Psalm 23:1-6. I have found that as I keep on saying these verses my spirit grows stronger and the fear is released. It is clear through all these verses that God has commanded us not to be afraid. There isn’t anywhere in the Bible where He says that we will not feel fear, but it is clear that He is asking us not to give into the fear because He is always with us. I am reminded of the fact that Jesus died so that we can have a personal relationship with God and He has promised us that He will never leave us and He will never forsake us (Hebrews 13:5b-6). With that assurance, there really is no reason for us to give in to fear.
What are some of your favorite Bible Verses that you bring encouragement to your spirit? I would also love to know how you find courage through your trust in God when you are feeling discouraged. Please feel free to share.