I have been in a hole for some time. A deep hole of discouragement and doubt. This mindset is a crippling mental bear trap that once you’ve step in it, it’s tough to get out of it. I’m only now returning to the idea of encouraging myself as a way to dig myself out.
You would think it’s simple, right? Say nice things about yourself and the dark cloud goes way. It’s not that easy. You have to actually believe the things you’re saying to get anywhere. So, grab a shovel, and join me as I dig myself out right in front of you.
The first thing I discovered is the I must admit what is not true about me. I can’t say I’m a great singer if I am not a great singer. Lying to myself only deepens the hole.
The key is not to focus on the negative, but to see simply nod at them as if to say, “I see you over there, you’re real, but you’re not my focus.”
Next, I have to know what is true about me. I’m making two lists, one is a skill based list and the other is character based list. This is so important, I am not my job or my skills. My human qualities are what enhances by skill not the other way around. Example: I am not a kind person because I am a Pastor, I am a kind person and this makes me a good Pastor.
Third, I draw from what others have told me about myself. They were not just being kind, they actually meant it and I have to take the affirmative things people say to heart rather than brush them off. Based on this, here are my lists.
- I am honest.
- I am kind.
- I am generous.
- I am helpful.
- I am creative.
- I am an encourager.
- I am caring
- I am faithful.
If you’re like me, you’re tempted to stop because it sounds like you’re bragging. This is the point. You brag on yourself, to yourself, because no one else is encouraging you. So, don’t stop (I will stop here because you probably already know how awesome I am).
- I am a good writer and improving.
- I am good at creating positive programs.
- I am a good video editor and improving
- I am great communicator and improving.
- I am good at breaking down complicated ideas and thoughts.
- I am a pretty good marketer and improving.
- I am very good on camera and connecting with my audience.
- I am a good collaborator and teammate.
Once again, I’ll stop there because you already know this about me 🙂
There’s one more dynamic of my life I have to look at in order to see a complete picture of myself. As a Christian, I believe in a God who created me, loves and gave his son Jesus Christ for me.
This truth speaks to my overall value and worth. This is not to say that people who are not Christians are not of value or worth or that I am more valuable than others. What these spiritual truths speak to me are realities beyond my character and skills and speaks to my spirit.
Who am I when I fail or when I blow it? Do I have worth and value then? If you’ve ever blown it big time, its sometimes hard to find the encouragement you seek from others. Others can only see the mistake(s) where God sees beyond the mistake to redemption.
Here’s my brief list of spiritually encouraging truths
- God loves me no matter what, so I can love others the same.
- God shows me grace and forgiveness when I cannot forgive myself. This means I can sho grace and forgive others
- God stays with me in my worst moments when other walks away. I will never be truly alone.
- God values me, so I can value others.
I’ll close with a Psalm from David, where David declares the realities of his discouragement, but then turns his heart towards deeper truths that encourages his heart. I hope they encourage yours as well.
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.