Because the Lord has called me to write about the red-hot topic of stress, I get lots of feedback from readers of my Too Blessed to be Stressed books. I consider it a privilege – and a responsibility I take very seriously – when I get messages requesting prayer.

Letters come from many cultures on many continents in many languages. Yet they contain common words and phrases like: frustration, anger, out-of-control, my soul is weary, I’ve lost myself, feel hopeless.

My heart melts within me when I receive these raw, aching pleas for help in dealing with major obstacles in someone’s life. Obstacles much like the rocks in a creek.

Despite the rocks that block the easiest path down the mountain, the water somehow finds a way. Over, around, sometimes even through fissures in the rocks that form walls, still the creek bubbles forward.

So how can we, like the dancing creek waters, overcome the obstacles blocking our path?

Papa God gives us an example in the Old Testament prophet Nehemiah, who faced a rock wall (literally) of disappointment and found a way to conquer it. Nehemiah knew discouragement. He was tasked with repairing a decrepit city wall with no material, time or help. Despite horrendous obstacles, he prayed, developed a plan, and conquered his wall.

Turn to the book of Nehemiah with me, where we can learn a lot about dealing with discouragement:
Tears are okay. “I sat down and wept … for days” (1:4). Weeping and mourning are natural, healthy reactions to disappointment. But we mustn’t languish there.

Fatigue weakens our resolve (4:21-23). When we’re exhausted, it’s easy to quit. Take regular rest breaks and fun frolics. Schedule something fun. Refresh yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually so your resolve stays strong.
Frustration rises as rubbish accumulates (4:10). Clutter in our lives needs to be addressed and removed, not tiptoed around.

Feelings of failure diminish hope (4:1-3). If we lose hope, we also lose joy, peace, and our heart-connection with Jesus. To counteract, we must change the way we see, think, and speak. Yesterday’s failure doesn’t dictate tomorrow’s. Step away and pray to gain perspective.

Yep, getting around the rocks often takes diligence and perseverance. We’re all up the creek at one time or another. Who in your life might be stuck behind a rock wall of discouragement today? How can you help?