05 Sep Feeling Defeated?
Have you ever woken up in the morning feeling all defeated? Or having defeated feelings accumulated throughout the week? Now, it could be circumstantial, say because of a physical ailment, or you didn’t do something well, or in your opinion, you fall short of your own or others expectation.
Whatever it is, the fact is we are spiraling down, emotionally and mentally, and we’re giving in to every thought that is negative, or in some cases self-accusing.
Now, everyone handles such frame of mind differently. Some prefer to be left alone while they pity themselves. Some just indulge themselves with dramas, shopping or anything that could make them happy for a while. Or some hope to have people ask them “How are you feeling?” and if possible, give them some assurance. Or some just turn grumpy as a form of outlet. It’s like at least if you could blame someone else for something else, it makes you feel better you know. Or at least it could divert your attention from a self-defeating spirit that is tormenting. And we could be doing that till our emotions run its course, then we brace ourselves for the next race of our lives.
Now, I think it’s a matter of different personality that causes us to react differently to feelings of defeat. Personally, I realize I tend to brood over things and sound really gloomy when I feel defeated. And it is usually till someone close to me, like my wife who noticed my gloominess, she gets herself and my children to brighten my mood before I got better.
Now, I used to have this downcast sentiment when I was serving as a young pastor. Not that I dun have it now, just that it is less frequent and somehow, I grew out of it by God’s help. But I realized feeling defeat is common for man, for the fact that we’re finite beings. We’re limited in so many ways. Especially when we couldn’t get something done, or when we fall short of expectation, we just whine and give in to feelings of defeat. It is actually an indication of helplessness.
And it is noteworthy to know that spiritual people get hit by feelings of defeat also.
Elijah was one good example. After he had great spiritual victories over the prophets of Baal, this mighty man of God feared and ran for his life, because of the threats of Jezebel. And in the desert, he sat down and prayed, defeated and worn. And he prayed to God, “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”
Another person was Job, the righteous man who lost literally everything. So great was his suffering and tragedy, he was totally devastated and defeated. Although he maintained his faithfulness to God throughout his life, he still struggled deeply through the trenches of pain. And he said: Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb.
Now, you notice that when they turn to God, God neither immediately, nor directly deal with their pain and defeats. God didn’t try to explain why this is happening to them. Now, do you notice that we always try to help defeated people by giving them answers that God didn’t give. We try to overpromised them by saying: Oh, things will definitely get better” or “you are already doing very good”. You see, God didn’t say that. God didn’t tell Elijah, “Hey you are already doing very well! You’ve defeated the false prophets of Baal!”. No. God didn’t say that. In fact, God wants “the defeated me” to go through that little while of dejection, helplessness, or even whining. Why? Because our hearts are not ready to listen yet. We are most probably self-absorbed. So God gladly allow that period of silence, and at the same time, God’s spirit is quietly working in our hearts, by developing perseverance, character and hope in the words of <Romans 5>.
So in the case of Elijah, Job, or even Jeremiah, the prophet who laments. You will see that God always show Himself to be true after their whining and groaning. God will lift their spirit to see beyond what they could see. And in the words of Job, he said: “Oh my eyes had heard of you but NOW my eyes have seen you”. And in the case of Elijah, God merely made him understood His grand scheme of things. In fact, God is always in control.
But you may ask: “What about getting through the process of feeling defeated?” Now I understand sometimes we cannot function properly when those feelings linger. And if we don’t get to do things well, the problem just accumulate and it adds on to our depressive mood. Now, what I’ve learned over years of following the Lord is just merely turning to what the word says. Now, if you’re struggling with feelings of defeat, let me encourage you with <Lamentations 3:22-23> :
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Now, what a beautiful verse spoken through Jeremiah, the prophet who lamented.
Now listen, in our moments of defeat, we felt dejected, self-accused, helpless, or even guilt. While it is not possible to get rid of those feelings, the problem is people feeling defeated will usually just want to deal with those feelings. But as believers, we must confirm the reality from the truth of God. Have you realized, my brethren, there are so many a times we were defeated, but we were not consumed. We didn’t totally lose our mind or lose everything we have. Why? Because of the Lord’s great love. Now, your feelings may make you think otherwise, but the reality is God’s great love and compassion is actually sustaining us. Knowing that will help us stand our ground.
And the next thing you gotta learn is: Seek the new grace of God after every defeat. Don’t let defeat speaks falsehood into your mind. The Word says: The grace and mercy of God are new every morning.
Throughout my years in pastoral work, I have my fair share of challenges, including defeats. Things might have gone wrong, people have left, or I could have said the wrong thing, but what I’ve learned in the spirit is to keep relying on God’s grace to do better. It could be to preach better, to shepherd better, to relate better, or to plan and manage the church better. Sometimes, I could be too tired or worn out from discouragement, and I could end the day with a sense of defeat. But hold on to what the Lord says about His graces and mercies. They are new every morning. They never run dry. So once I’m recharged the next day, I’ll not waste my time wallowing in self-pity, but I’ll go to the Lord to seek new strength. And honestly, when I trust His promise more than my sense of defeat, God will send new grace into my life. So don’t worry about feeling defeated my brethren. Defeats are meant to direct us to greater grace and mercies in our lives.