10 October 2011

Talking To Yourself

A couple of months ago, I was in class and the pressures of some tests (or was a test?) that were around the corner were weighing hard on me. I hadn't touched a page of notes and the shear amount of work I needed to read left me pretty much despairing. In a state of anguish, I turned to my neighbour, a devout Christian from a pentecostal/charismatic background (I am yet to draw a proper line between the two -if any), and narrated my doom and impending failure.

He turned to me and grabbed me by the collar lifting me off my seat and asked me a series of questions.


"Yes." I replied a nervously.


"Yes." I replied getting concerned about how costly a wrong answer might be.


"Yes." I replied.

His tone and grip softened as he proceeded to give me the most encouraging and uplifting words I had heard in quite a while. Obviously I have exaggerated the incident quite a little but hopefully have made my point.

I would have tried to write what he told me but I couldn't possibly do his few but stirring words justice. Needless to say, I was ready to take that bull by the horns after the incident. My friend, like me hadn't touched a single page of notes either but left me confident that everything would be alright.

Well, we both failed. But I think my friend was onto something.

In life certain facts surround us, some positive and others negative. A balance is required to handle both. Sometimes we go to one extreme and dwell too much on the negative. Some people are like this by personality, pessimists, while others, optimists (and pentes!) may find themselves dwelling on the positive to unwise extents.

Human beings are always talking to themselves. Did you know that? When a challenge comes your way, you speak to yourself. Sometimes, you say, "I remember this, I failed last time." Other times its, "I remember this, I hope I don't fail again." Etc. I think it is important to speak to ones self positively, but realistically.

My friends encouraging words were true but my response to them (as well as his own response) was wrong. Where I'm I getting this? Well, David was always talking to himself as seen in many of his compositions. Here are a few, notice how he speaks of both positive and negative facts that surround him but encourages himself with the former:

1 LORD, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
2 Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”
3 But you, LORD, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
4 I call out to the LORD,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.
5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
6 I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side. ~Psalm 3

 8 In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, LORD,
make me dwell in safety. ~Psalm 4

3 In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.
7 But I, by your great love,
can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
toward your holy temple. ~Psalm 5

8 Away from me, all you who do evil,
for the LORD has heard my weeping.
9 The LORD has heard my cry for mercy;
the LORD accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish;
they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame. ~Psalm 6

10 My shield is God Most High,
who saves the upright in heart. ~Psalm 7

3 My enemies turn back;
they stumble and perish before you.
4 For you have upheld my right and my cause,
sitting enthroned as the righteous judge. ~Psalm 9

I have left out quotes that are not direct (i.e. quotes that aren't I, me, mine, my etc) and have only quoted some of David's Psalms from the first few. That's six quotes from nine Psalms after a rough browse through leaving out the more subtle quotes -clearly the Psalms are littered with this kind of language!

You will notice that David also mentions the negative facts but the choruses of his songs, the refrains of his poems and the conclusions of his Psalms all say the same thing, David's emphasis is on those things that are true and encouraging to his own heart.

We are all guilty of indulging in self pity at times, speaking of things negative when there is so much that is positive in our lives one of the most outstanding being (and one which make the negatives pale in comparison) that we hold the hand that holds the world! We must emulate David's example. The man who spoke words of encouragement to himself. But lets be realistic while we're at it!

Thanks for reading.