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Grab the Umbrella!: The Power of Self-Encouragement

Growing up, I was gifted diaries and journals from my mom. She felt strongly about having a safe place to write out thoughts and feelings, as to not bottle them up. When I would first receive them, I was pretty diligent about writing in them daily. After about two or three weeks, it would go to every other day or three days. Eventually, the entries would be months apart due to the fact that I was busy and didn't get around to it unless there was something very exciting or very frustrating going on. Looking at the journals I've kept, I see a roller coaster effect of highs and lows written out on the pages. When I was up, I was on top of the world. When I was down, it felt like rock bottom.

When I hit adulthood, I found myself trying to find a higher purpose and calling in my life, which lead me to Jesus. Reading the Bible, I found myself drawn to the many men and women in the chapters, but my heart connected with David. Yup. The Giant slayer, crazy-dancing, war hero king of Israel. He was a great and powerful man of faith and I had respect for him and his journey, but it wasn't those accounts that made him relatable to me.

What truly resonated with me were his writings in Psalms. Much like the journals of my youth, I saw the writings of wonderful highs and extreme lows. In one chapter, he proclaimed God to be above all and in all, protecting David from his enemies. The next, he is asking where the Lord is and if He can even see his suffering. It's crazy how someone can go from writing revelations of greatness to doubt and fear within a few moments, but that's the human heart and mind for you. David was a man after God's own heart but never wrote in a way that made him beyond the thoughts and feelings of everyone else. So, yes, I like his writings because it reminds me of the drama-filled roller coaster ride of thoughts and emotions you'd see penciled on the pages of a young girls' diary, but there's more to it. Between the raises and falls of mindset and emotion, David did something that we often forget to do.

He encouraged himself.

There was venting and anger released in his words, but then he went to recounting what the Lord had done for him and how there was more for him than against him. No matter what he may have been feeling at the time, reminding himself of the truths of his journey and who he was following lifted him up. Doing this dug David out of the mindsets of fear and despair he would find himself in throughout the course of his life.

I've heard it said that your thoughts are either your best friend or your worst enemy. Reading through Psalms and some of my own writings, I'd have to agree. Whether you're a Christian or not, the ability to self-encourage is skill that can be beneficial to anyone. We often wait for people, happy life events, or an inspirational quote to encourage and lift us up. (I would like to pause for a second and state that I am not dismissing those with conditions such clinical anxiety and depression. There will be times you need outside help and assistance to get to where you need to be and that's okay). While there's nothing wrong with that, we can't always depend upon others to pull us out of our mindset ditches. We have the power to redirect our thoughts from discouragement to encouragement, but it takes practice to break old habits. The narrative of our thoughts needs to be rewritten. We need to stop putting periods where commas belong. The difference between "This is how it is." and "This is how it is,...." leaves space to fill in the blank instead of making the situation or the emotion feel final.

Am I saying that if we change our mindset we'll just be happy all the time no matter what?! Absolutely not. Life is hard and it can really suck sometimes, but waiting for the sun to come out while sulking in the rain just leaves you cold. Self-encouragement is the umbrella we need to pull out to keep us from soaking ourselves in the rain of our anxieties and fears. At first, that umbrella may have holes as you learn to speak life and hope into yourself. The more you turn your thoughts, those holes will start to fill, keeping you dry from the worries around you. Once you have that umbrella whole, the hard part is remembering to carry it with you and pull it out when needed. It's a tool readily available to us, but it's up to us to equip it.

There's nothing wrong with having sadness, sorrow, depression, and fear. These are all emotions that are felt by everyone, but if we allow ourselves to stay in those mindsets, we deprive ourselves of get to see the beauty of the rainbow when the sun finally peaks through the clouds.

I don't know what you're going through reader or where you're at, but I believe in you and you can do anything you put your mind to. You're awesome and there's only one you and the world needs it. Believe in the wonderful amazingness that is you. You got this!

That's all from me this week! Enjoy the spring showers and I'll see you guys next time. Have a blessed week.

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