SELF-ENCOURAGEMENT

I was walking out of the grocery store the other day, deep in what you might call self-conversation, not really paying attention to anything or anyone around me. Suddenly, a man behind me began screaming at the top of his lungs. It scared the life out of me. I turned around to see where the noise was coming from. It was a wild-eyed man in raggedy clothes talking to no one but himself. My first thought was, "What a pity. This poor, disenfranchised homeless person is standing on the street talking to himself." And then I realized that before he started making noise, I had been doing the very same thing: talking to myself. The only difference between him and me was volume. Well, maybe that wasn't the only difference. Maybe the content of the conversation was different.

Some people think that talking to yourself is a sign that you're going crazy. Actually, research indicates that the act of using personal verbal clues can help an individual function more effectively. In one experiment, people were given a stack of 20 pictures and told to find the picture of a banana. Half were told to keep their lips sealed, the other half were told to repeat out loud what they were looking for. The half that were talking to themselves found the banana faster than the ones who kept silent. Of course, maybe that means that talking to yourself makes you go bananas faster.

When we get discouraged we often begin telling ourselves: This is the worst thing that could possibly happen. This is the end. I'm such a failure. God is finished with me. Nothing ever works out. In talking this way we continue to perpetuate the discouragement. It is in these very moments that what you say to yourself matters most.

When I get discouraged, there's a Bible verse that I come back to again and again. It's found in the book of First Samuel. I learned it in the King James Version...And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. (1 Samuel 30:6)

Did you get that? Everyone was out to get him and he was greatly distressed ...... but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.

There have been many times in my life when I've realized — and I've been just as discouraged as anyone that I know — that for me to get better and for my situation to get better, I must encourage myself in the Lord my God.

When you get to the point where there's only you, and you're all alone, that's a scary situation. But when you get to the point to where there's only you, and you know that God is with you, then you have all you need. There's an old saying, "You and God are a majority." The saying is true.

If you're discouraged and feeling hopeless, it's good to talk to somebody. You also need to remember that if you're feeling discouraged and hopeless, you need to talk to yourself. You need to encourage yourself in the Lord. Tell yourself once again what God has done for you. Tell yourself once again what God has done through you. Tell yourself once again what God has planned for you in the years to come. This kind of self-encouragement will help you see today's troubles for what they are: just a temporary storm, one that will certainly blow over soon.

The key is to get in God's presence, get into his Word, listen to what God is saying to you, remind yourself again and again of what God is saying to you ... and strength and encouragement will come your way.

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