Thursday, January 24, 2013

In Need of a Good Talking To

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” (Psalm 42:5 &11; 43:5)

         It’s okay to talk to yourself if you need a good talking to and what you’re saying is right. If you have the Spirit of God living within you, and a healthy knowledge of, and reverence for, His Word, you’re worth listening to. This is not to say you’re infallible, but more available, to be sure, and in the end, we’re more apt to follow our own advice. As you can see, David was not averse to repeating himself, even to himself, if need me. This tells me that many of life’s most important lessons must be reiterated and reapplied.

         Granted, there are some among us more inclined to depths and heights (Psl. 18:9), but none among is exempt from occasional depression. This is true whether there is an obvious reason or not. Despondency is capable of finding its own justification. I’m thinking today of two covert culprits that can wheedle their way into our consciousness and cloud our days and nights, quite expertly.

         First, long, monotonous stretches in our lives are capable of sapping all enthusiasm from it, if we let them. The sameness of our days can make us feel more like automatons than people. If, as the old saying goes, “Variety is the spice of life,” then a life without it must be bland and tasteless, I guess. Doing the same work in the same way, being around the same people, seeing the same scenery can churn up a restlessness that can lead to dejection…or departure. I could recommend practical things like connecting with other people, learning a new skill, or “visiting” other places, if only through books and movies. But that would be shortsighted of me, as you will see.

         But it would seem to me that a feeling of uselessness must surely be the most disheartening of all, especially when laid alongside other times of intense usefulness. Whether it comes from the loss of gainful employment, limitations of health, or the result of advancing years, it’s easy to feel as though we’re taking up space more than contributing to anything or anyone. Rather than appreciating what still can be done, we lament all that used to be done. And no amount of assurance by loved ones and friends seems to change our estimation.

         At times like these, and others like them, we need to follow David’s example and talk to ourselves. And thankfully, we can tell ourselves the same thing he did. “Hope thou in God.” See, here’s the thing; we can be presented with many good reasons why these feelings are unreasonable, unhealthy, and unproductive, but they can be argued against, quite skillfully, as it turns out. They’re only bandages, easily pulled off. But…the goodness of God cannot be (legitimately) disputed. Everything He’s doing in our lives is part of a well-planned process to perfect us and do us better at our latter end (Job 42:12a); and like David, we “will yet praise Him.” There’s your hope, your real light at the end of the tunnel.

         Are you someone who needs a good talking to today? Well, old buddy, old friend, you’re the one to do it. And don’t forget to remind yourself, “Hope thou in God!” Then you can be sure there’ll always be Someone right beside you saying, “Amen!”    

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