Whenever you're feeling down, the best place to turn is the Psalms. In today's passage, the writer asks: "Why are you in despair, O my soul?" (v. 5). Surprisingly, this question is the first step in overcoming discouragement.
Look within. Before you can deal with your despair, you need to know what is causing it. If you're not sure, ask the Lord to help you figure out what's going on inside you.
Look up. The next step is to lift up your eyes to the Lord and place your hope in Him. Remember, discouragement comes to everybody at one time or another, but it doesn't have to stay. In the course of time, you "shall again praise Him for the help of His presence" (v. 5).
Look back. Despair has a way of erasing our memory of all the good the Lord has done for us over the years. Instead of wallowing in our present misery, we must make an effort to remember His past care and provision. Then our faith will overpower discouragement (v. 6).
Look Ahead. Knowing that God's plans for us are good, we can look forward to what He going to do in the future. His lovingkindness will support us by day and bring comfort by night as we trust Him to work all things out for our good (v. 8).
When your focus is right, you'll respond correctly to discouragement. The key is to fix your eyes on the Lord. Circumstances may cause you to think He's forgotten about you (v. 9), but His Word promises that He's there and will bring you through the valley. Even if you feel lonely, you're never alone.