Does your life ever feel like a puzzle with pieces that don't fit together? When we feel this way, it's easy to fall into a discouragement syndrome.
With this mind-set, every aspect of the day tends to take on unpleasant overtones — at work, at home, in dealing with others. Nothing seems right, and there seems to be little prospect of any positive change. This dilemma often leads to continual discouragement, and life is viewed as a drudgery trap.
When life is perceived as being heavy and complex, it becomes seemingly impossible for us to see beyond the narrow confines of the present negative circumstances. One philosopher used the analogy that some people cannot see the whole architecture of life because they have their eyes on one brick — nor can they feel anything except the brick they are holding.
Yet it's possible to shift your focus. Here are three suggestions to help you change your perspective from pessimism to hope.
1. Look ahead
Look beyond your present problems so that you can see a purpose for your life. In difficult times, it takes strong goals and character to avoid falling into the drudgery trap.
Consider the pain of childbirth. There is purpose in the pain, and the end result – the baby – allows the mother to persevere through the pain.
Similarly, life may seem unbearable for the moment, but you must look up and claim God's promises, and remember that it will all be worthwhile (1 Corinthians 15:58; Hebrews 12:11). As Christians, we are admonished to keep our eyes on the goal, which is Christ Jesus, the author of our existence and the reason for our hope (Philippians 3:14; Galatians 6:9; Ephesians 6:8). In this way, we are able to alter our attitudes from negative ones to positive ones.
Develop the healthy habit of prayer. God is always willing to help His children with any kind of problem, at any stage.
If the problem you face is merely a nuisance, simply cast the bothersome situation onto the Lord (1 Peter 5:7). If the problem is too heavy to cast, then roll it onto God (Psalm 37:5). In Hebrew, "commit" means "to roll." Finally, if the problem is too great for you to handle, God can and will lift it from your shoulders (Psalm 81:6).
There is no excuse for not giving our burdens over to the Lord (2 Timothy 1:12). We can give God our problems through prayer and by studying and applying the truths of His Word to our lives.
3. Get in community
Finally, it is vital that you become involved in a supportive, caring group.
The apostle Paul emphasized the necessity of this arrangement when he wrote: "... so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it" (1 Corinthians 12:25-27 NASB).
God did not create you to live life on your own but to share life with others. When you are involved in a caring community, God uses the group to comfort and encourage you – and He also uses you to comfort and encourage others. You receive the blessing and then you can bless others. And in this way, God is praised.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)