Back in the old days, if you saw a guy talking to himself while he walked down the street you assumed (1) he had just walked out of a bar, (2) he was slightly on the loony side or (3) he had misplaced some money and was retracing his steps—like when absent-minded Uncle Billy lost his cash deposit in It's a Wonderful Life.
Today lots of people talk to themselves and we know they're not drunk, crazy or confused. They are wired to their phones, either with ear buds, headsets or Bluetooth devices. (What do you call more than one Bluetooth? Blueteeth?) What's weird is when you go into a men's restroom in an airport and guys are standing around talking to themselves—and closing business deals—with the sound of toilets flushing in the background. Welcome to the wireless generation!
|"David told his weary soul that God was greater than his enemies. He talked to himself in order to remind his doubting heart that God's promises are certain."|
I still prefer to hold my phone to my ear, maybe because I want people to know that I'm not muttering to myself. And I'm sure Miss Manners would agree that it's not acceptable, even in this high-tech age, to place a call from a public restroom.
But regardless of what kind of phone you use, or where you use it, I believe there is an acceptable time to talk to yourself. In fact, there is a time when talking to yourself is imperative—and this is when you are discouraged.
We learn this truth from King David, who faced an overwhelming amount of adversity during his journey through life. One of his worst moments is recorded in 1 Samuel 30, when the Amalekites raided his camp, burned his army's possessions and kidnapped all the women and children. The loss was bad enough, but then David's men turned on him and threatened to stone him. Things went from bad to worse.
Yet everything in David's situation turned around dramatically after verse 6, which says, "But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God" (NASB). Other translations say he "encouraged himself in the Lord." After his unusual self-counseling session, David's spiritual batteries were recharged, his demoralized army was miraculously remobilized and the men recovered all that the enemy had stolen.
How did David encourage himself? The Bible doesn't tell us his choice of words. But we know from reading the Psalms that David had certain patterns in prayer, and that he did not always direct his words to God. Sometimes he praised the Lord, and sometimes he spoke directly to his own weary soul.
In Psalm 27, David says he went to "the secret place"—his private haven of prayer—and there he offered shouts of praise. He became bold and rambunctious in God's presence. He knew that in times of discouragement, when dark clouds of depression seem to smother all hope, we must open our mouths and turn up the volume. Praise, especially the loud variety, is the best way to break the chains of doubt, fear, worry and despair.
But we also need to speak God's truth into our situation by making faith declarations. David said in Psalm 103:1, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless the Lord!" He commanded his emotions to rejoice. He reminded his weary soul that God was greater than his enemies. He talked to himself in order to remind his doubting heart that God's promises are certain.
Are you in the midst of a personal crisis? Has the enemy raided your life and left a trail of havoc? Are you under a cloud of discouragement? After you have gone to your secret place and praised the Lord with all your energy, go one step farther and confess your faith out loud. I do this on a regular basis, and I say things like this:
- · Greater is He who is in me than he that is in the world.
- · I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me.
- · My God will supply all my needs according to His riches in glory.
- · Nothing can separate me from the love of God.
- · The Lord will guide and counsel me with His eye upon me.
- · The Lord is with me even when I pass through the valley of the shadow of death.
- · God has not given me a spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind.
- · There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.
- · I can boldly come before the throne of grace to find help in time of need.
- · When I abide in Jesus I will bear much fruit.
- · The Holy Spirit will flow out of me like rivers of living water.
- · The Spirit of the Lord has anointed me and sent me to proclaim liberty to prisoners.
The Word of God has the power to revive you, no matter what you are going through. Speak His promises over your situation. Talk to yourself using His words. True faith will arise and new joy will give you the strength to face every battle.