WHO ARE YOU LISTENING TO?
Do you ever talk to yourself? Or talk out loud when you’re home alone? Last week I was at home doing a low-impact cardio workout I’d found on YouTube. I’ve done it several times, and it’s a great little workout. Twenty minutes long and, thanks to my quivering muscles at the end, I know I’ve been exercising. However, the trainer who runs the session keeps saying motivational things that drive me crazy! “Those who believe they can and those who believe they can’t are both right. Which one are you?” What he’s saying may be true, but in the middle of a workout it annoys me! I find myself interacting with him – out loud – and telling him to keep quiet, not always politely. Funnily enough, he doesn’t appear to take any notice! The next time I do the workout, he keeps giving me the same advice.
While many of us may have more sense than to do that, we all have an internal dialogue going on in our head, whether we are aware of it or not. What voices are we listening too? What are we telling ourselves?
Especially in times of stress, crisis or pressure, these voices can clamour for attention, and they often predict worst-case scenarios, remind us of our failures, or focus our attention on our circumstances.
Perhaps it’s not internal voices you listen to, but the voices on the news? Or the messages on social media? Or family and friends? Some of these are good and helpful, others not so much.
Early on in this journey with Covid-19, I found I had to limit my exposure to both social media and the news. While there was information I needed to know, it was all-consuming and everywhere I turned. The constant conversation and barrage left me feeling anxious and fearful. Six weeks further on and I now cope better and don’t have to be so strict.
I was recently reminded of this beautiful passage in Psalm 42.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon
from Mount Mizar.
There is such a wonderful lesson contained in these verses. What did the composer of this Psalm do when he was downcast, sad, and in turmoil?
He talked to himself! He asked himself why he was downcast. He reminded himself to hope in God. He remembered God.
TALK TO YOURSELF!
I have found that when I’m feeling anxious, or overwhelmed, or sad, or discouraged, it’s time to talk to myself!
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are not on earth.
I tell myself those things I know to be true. Let’s consider a specific example.
With our state boundaries closed, and with two-week quarantines in place, it means we’re not able to see our daughter Brooke, who lives in Victoria. She can’t come to us, and we can’t go to her. I can’t hug her or visit her or be with her. There are times when this makes me sad, and there were times when it worried me. “What happens if she gets sick?” I’d think. “We won’t be able to go to her! She’ll be alone.”
The first step is to recognise our feelings. God gave us emotions, and sometimes we feel sad! But feelings can quickly get out of control, and sometimes they can simply be wrong. When I start to notice these feelings, I pray for Brooke, and I remind myself of what I know to be true. I know that God has placed her in Melbourne. I know that if He wanted her home now, He could have made that happen. I remember example after example of how God has cared for her in the past few years. He has planted her in a church and given her beautiful friends. If she is there by His design, and He has cared for her so beautifully in the past, will He not continue to do so? “Do I believe this” I ask myself? “YES!”
When I remind myself of these things, instead of giving in to sadness or anxiety, faith and hope rise. I remember that God is absolutely worthy of my trust. He has never dropped the ball, and He won’t start now! He is sovereign. He is good. He is able. I choose trust instead of fear. I can be thankful and worship God for His faithfulness and goodness.
How about you? Are you having a hard time? Feeling overwhelmed or discouraged or fearful or anxious?
WHO ARE YOU LISTENING TO?
Can I encourage you to take some advice from this psalm? Talk to yourself about the truth of God contained in His Word, remind yourself how He has already worked in your life, place your hope in Him! Focus on what you know, not on what you don’t know.
He who did not spare His own Son but gave him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?
May God bless you abundantly, and I long for the day I can see you again.
Your Care Team pastor,
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