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Speaking to Your Soul
Rachel Sheets  |  May 22, 2023

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:11

David is talking to himself here. He is commanding himself in thought and behavior. It’s a bit of self-talk, like “Get it together, David!” I don’t know about you, but I have to tell myself to get it together pretty frequently. I don’t think my methods are quite as healthy as David’s, though. I typically put the pressure on myself to figure things out, make myself believe that if it’s going to get better, it’s all up to me. But here in this passage, in the midst of his own crazy circumstances, David is reminding himself, “Put your hope in God! Praise Him! He’s your SAVIOR!” (Quite literally, the one to save you.)

Over the years, in various seasons when I’ve found myself “down-hearted,” discouraged, and full of doubt, this verse is one that has frequently come back to me. I think it comes back because I see I’m not alone in those emotions. David felt some huge emotions! But he also showed us what to do with them. Sometimes when things aren’t going our way, we just let life happen to us. We let our circumstances dictate our thoughts, our emotions, our attitudes, and even how we treat ourselves and others. But here David is showing us how to get out of those cycles…remind yourself of WHO God is. Again with the self-talk, David says:

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.” Psalm 103:1-5

He’s telling his very soul to “Bless the Lord. Don’t forget all God has done for you, all the promises he’s made to you! Bless the Lord!” You don’t have to be in control of everything; and everything around you does not have to be good in order for you to be good. It’s like Brandon Lake’s Gratitude song:

“So come on, my soul
Oh, don't you get shy on me
Lift up your song
'Cause you've got a lion inside of those lungs
Get up and praise the Lord”

We have to rally our souls in truth! Tell your soul, “Why are you discouraged? Hope in God! Bless His name! Don’t forget how he’s come through for you over and over again! He promises to work ALL things together for good.”

I once heard a teaching on gratitude and the difference it can make in the hardest of situations. The analogy was, if you are showing someone gratitude, you are focused on them. You make eye contact and make sure they know the sentiment is genuine because you really are grateful for their contribution toward you. You would get their attention, look them in the eye, and say, “Thank you so much, ____(their name). I really appreciate that.”

And do you know what you are not doing in that moment? You aren’t focused on all the other things going on. You aren’t distracted because you are focused on being grateful. When we intentionally focus on God, get his attention and thank him for ALL his goodness, we can’t give the bad stuff our attention. It changes the glasses in which we see everything! So, rouse your soul, call yourself out on focusing on your discouragement, on your problems, and begin to speak praise, speak hope in God, your Savior.