Wednesday, May 15, 2019

How to Encourage Yourself on Rough Days

I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was sitting talking with friends at lunch and I heard a blood curdling scream coming from across the gym. I immediately knew my daughter's yell and ran to find her.

A friend was carrying her across the gym and her arm was bent in the wrong direction. To be honest with you I thought I was going to pass out. But mom mode instantly kicked in a I knew what I needed to do. Another friend drove us to the hospital while I sat in the back seat trying to comfort my little girl.

A broken arm is an extreme example of a rough day. Maybe your alarm clock didn't go off and that just set off a chain reaction that led to a terrible day and caused you anxiety. Perhaps you had a flat tire or it's raining and you need to get groceries. The cause of distress, trouble, stress, or anxiety can be different things for different people. Everyone has a different tolerance for how much they can have on their plates.

In 1 Samuel 30 we read the account of David and his conflict with the Amalekites. He and his army of 600 men were returning to the city of Ziklag after being dismissed from the army of the Philistines. When he returned to Ziklag, he found it had been plundered, burnt and all of the women and children had been carried off and taken captive.

The Bible says that David and his men lifted their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep.

Does this remind you of anything? Have you ever had such a terrible day that all you can do is cry? Me too! That day, in the back of the van, while my daughter cried, I cried too. I was scared, frustrated and truly didn't know what was going to happen.

I felt like a terrible mom for letting this happen. David felt was in distress because his men wanted to stone him.

Although David was in despair, he regained his focus and did 3 things.

1. He encouraged himself in the LORD his God (v.6)
The Bible doesn't tell us what he did to encourage himself but we know that David played the harp for Saul when he was tormented in his spirit. David also wrote Pslams when he was in distress. I can't imagine that this time would be any different.

That day in the car while my baby girl was crying I started to sing. It was a song that I had sang since she was a baby. It was a song that I used to sing when I couldn't get her to stop crying. It was a song that I sang when I needed to stay calm to help her.

Psalm 34:1 says, "I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth." What better way to praise the Lord than through singing.

When you need to be encouraged sing to the Lord.

2. He went to the LORD (v. 8)
David asked the LORD if he should pursue the troop and if he would overtake them. The LORD responded to pursue, that he would overtake them and without fail recover all.

Amidst the tears that day in the car, I cried out to God. I asked for peace, comfort and wisdom. I truly don't remember the exact words but what I do remember is the peace that I sensed afterwards. Although I was scared, I could feel God telling me it would be ok.

In Psalm 107:6 David reminds us about the Israelites' wandering in the desert. He says "They cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distress." The same way God heard the Israelites when they were in distress is the same way he hears us.

When you need to be encouraged call out to the Lord.

3. He trusted in the LORD's faithfulness (v. 9)
After David heard from the Lord, he went. It doesn't say he hesitated, it doesn't say he spoke with a friend, it doesn't say he asked for a sign, it says "So David went..." He had absolute trust in what was said and he knew the Lord would do for him.

When we got to the hospital and were admitted to the ER. While we sat there I remembered the other times I had been stressed and anxious and God had helped me. I remembered God's faithfulness in times when I felt like I couldn't go on anymore. I knew he'd done it before and I knew he'd do it again.

David grew up singing Psalms and trusting in God. He fought lions and bears. He fought a giant. He escaped from Saul. David's trust was built because he knew that the Lord had done it in the past and he could do it again.

When you need to be encouraged trust in the Lord. 

David went on to win that battle and recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away.

When we are in distress we too can do as David did to encourage ourselves. We can sing, we can pray and we can trust.

We can't plan for a terrible day but we can plan for our reaction to a terrible day.

I'm praying for you!

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