Walking through these days of Covid-19, we are wise to follow the example of David in Psalm 116:7. He wrote…
Return, O my soul, to your rest;
for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. (ESV)
In this beautiful moment recorded for all history, the shepherd-King David…is talking to himself. And his message to himself (his soul) is powerful: “God has dealt bountifully with you, soul, in the past, and so you can rest now. You need not be anxious now, soul! Look at God’s record of faithfulness to you. He has taken care of you in the past, and he will do so in the future.”
This verse alone is worthy of our meditation – it’s one I’ve got in my memory verse pack – trying to get it deep into my heart. I hope you will do the same.
But my point here today is broader than the hopeful truth in Psalm 116:7. We often struggle in life because we are our own worst enemy – we don’t talk to ourselves, instead we let “ourselves” talk to us.
It wasn’t just David who practiced the spiritual discipline of talking to himself – the Sons of Korah did as well:
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. Psalm 42:5, 6 (ESV)
In one of the greatest Christian books ever written (that’s a recommendation if you didn’t notice), Spiritual Depression, Martyn Lloyd Jones wrote this applying the truth in Psalm 42…
“I say that we must talk to ourselves instead of allowing ‘ourselves’ to talk to us! Do you realize what that means? I suggest that the main trouble in this whole matter of spiritual depression in a sense is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self. Am I just trying to be deliberately paradoxical? Far from it. This is the very essence of wisdom in this matter. Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you.”
Lloyd-Jones, D. Martyn. Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cures (pp. 20-21). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
I have told the story a few times, but briefly, it was years ago in college that I struggled greatly with anxiety and obsessive thoughts. And it was this biblical truth of talking to myself which God used to transform me.
Many of us are struggling with fear and anxiety in these days. We have the promises of God. We have reason for great hope. Let’s begin to remind ourselves of God’s faithful provision in times past. Let’s begin to talk to ourselves instead of letting ourselves talk to us.