“Sometimes you have to encourage yourself.
Sometimes you have to speak victory during the test.
And no matter how you feel,
speak the word and you will be healed;
speak over yourself,
encourage yourself in the Lord.”
–Encourage Yourself by Donald Lawrence
One of my favorite songs is Encourage Yourself by Donald Lawrence. This prolific gospel songwriter reminds us that, in times of trouble and despair, you have the power to encourage yourself. I will be honest, the first time I heard the song I didn’t like the message. At the time, I was in the middle of a very trying period in my life and called on my husband, my family and my friends expecting them to carry me through it, but their words didn’t do enough to speak to what I was feeling. When I heard the song, I thought, “So I have to go it alone?” I missed the point completely!
We can learn a lot from David. Here was a man, a giant slayer, chosen by God to be king. He had favor in God’s eyes, and the eyes of King Saul…that is until Saul lost his own favor with God. For years, David lived on the run from Saul whose life’s mission was to kill his successor. David hid in some of the most wretched places and, I’m sure, experienced moments of doubt. However, he continued to encourage himself by reaching out to God.
Perhaps you have reached this point. You’ve poured out your anger and confusion about your missing loved one to family and friends, yet little they say has helped. The fact that no one seems to listen long enough, pray hard enough or make enough time to be there as much as you want them to makes you feel totally abandoned and alone. What if I told you that you’ve reached this point for a reason? How would that sit in your spirit? Not too good, right? Well, the fact of the matter is that you are at this rock bottom moment so God can have his moment with you. Life is so busy that, though your family and friends mean well, their lives may not allow them adequate time to help you deal with your grief. Sure, they were there in the beginning, but at some point, they have to re-engage in their own lives, and it is unfair of you to expect them to be available for you 24/7, 7 days a week. But “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Psalm 18:24), that is there whenever you call. This friend never has to call you back, never has to put you on hold, never has something more pressing seeking their attention. This friend is God.
The book of Psalm is filled with David’s prayers to God. In them, he asks for everything from being granted protection from his enemies (Psalm 140) to asking for peace (Psalm 131) while in his situation. David also praises God in Psalm with his words. A great example is Psalm 145, which contains some of the most beautiful phrasings of praise and worship in the Bible. In addition to praising God in this scripture, he also shares eight attributes God shares with us:
1. “God is compassionate and gracious” (145:8)—God has a heart for you and the situation you are in, and wants to be that shoulder you lean on to get through it.
2. “God is good to all…and loving toward all he has made” (145:9,13)— God loves you. Nothing more need be said.
3. “The Lord is faith to all his promises” (145:13)—God never tells a lie. He will do what he said he will do…in his time.
4. “The Lord upholds all those who fall” (145:14)—God love transcends your sins.
5. “The Lord is righteous in all his ways” (145:17)—God and all of his ways, are honorable, blameless and just.
6. “The Lord is near to all who call on him…he hears their cry and saves them” (145:18, 19)—God hears your prayers and comes to your when you are in despair. He is with you right now.
7. “He fulfills the desires of those who fear him” (145:19)—God knows the desires of your heart and will grant you those things if they align with his purpose for your life.
8. “The Lord watches over all who love him” (145:20)—God will never leave, nor forsake you. He is with you always.
There is no way that you can read this Psalm and not be encouraged. Give God a try this week. Write down what you are grateful for, read Psalm, listen to gospel music and fast from depending on others. Allow God to encourage you, and watch your relationship grow. “No matter how you feel, speak the word and you will be healed. Speak over yourself. Encourage yourself in the Lord.”
Please enjoy listening to the entire song, and allow it to encourage you.
Candance L. Greene is Editor and Writer for Black and Missing Foundation, Inc. Her work has been published in several anthologies including Bittersweet: An Anthology of Contemporary Black Women’s Poetry; Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction; Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir, and the Huffington Post. She is the founder of Cherishedflight Communications, LLC, an editing and writing service. Follow her on Facebook: cherishedflightcommunications and Twitter @cherishedflight.
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