Our attitude today determines how we feel about tomorrow. Tomorrow’s outcome is determined by today’s choices. We are writing tomorrow’s script today. Tomorrow’s harvest is sown today in our words and deeds.
When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem with the task of rebuilding the wall, his greatest challenge was helping the people overcome their discouragement. They would eventually build the wall in the face of opposition, but Nehemiah would have to inspire them to change their attitudes. At first, all they could see was the rubble. Their vision was so blurred they could not even imagine a finished wall for all the rubble.
When we are discouraged, we have a tendency to blow things out of proportion in a negative sense. When we get negative, it really gets depressing, Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall” (Neh 4:10).
The rubble had become insurmountable. It had become an impossibility. What changed? It was the same rubble that had been there when they began the project, and now they were halfway finished. The difference is what discouragement does to a person. It was an exaggeration.
What happens with a person that is discouraged? They carry with them an attitude that since everything is terrible with me, everything must be wrong with life. Everything they look at is through the lenses of negativity. They literally carry their feelings on their sleeves, and everything is terrible and getting worse.
The next thing that happened is that the people became fearful. Rumors were flying that an attack from the enemy was imminent. They saw enemies everywhere (Neh 4:11). Negative thoughts and negative talk motivated by fear and has the potential to grow fear exponentially.
Nehemiah’s response is remarkable because he encouraged the people by turning their attention away from their problems and their fear toward God. Listen to his words: After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives, and your homes” Neh 4:14.
This is the hard part. It is called getting people to take their eyes off the problem and off themselves and help them look to God. You and I will always be afraid as long as we keep the problem front and center.
Nehemiah gives us some famous words when he said, “Remember the Lord, He is great and awesome” then fight for your families. When we remember who God is and how great he is, our fears melt away. When we remember to fight for our families because they are the most valuable thing in our lives on this earth, our attitudes change for the better. Your marriage is worth fighting for, no matter how hard it seems. Relationships with your sons and daughters are worth fighting for, no matter what has happened. The secret to overcoming discouragement is remembering God and being willing to fight for what is valuable in your life.