Why are you downcast, O my soul? 

This is a common verse in Psalm 42. It’s planted in the middle of a suffering song written by David. I’ve read it dozens of times and yet, not up until this year, did I really look at the first verse and realize something crucial.

David is talking to himself.

He’s giving his soul a pep talk. He’s engaging in self-talk and it makes all the difference.

As I began to dig into this, I came across a quote by Lloyd-Jones:

"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 are 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. Now this man’s treatment [in Psalm 42] was this: instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says,: “Self, listen for moment, I will speak to you.”

(Spiritual Depression)

 These words are critical for any of us who listen to a critical voice inside our heads that tells us: you can’t do it. You can’t go further. You cannot push past the boundaries and break the barriers.

Daily, I am tempted to listen to the little voice in my head that says I am helpless or I am worth nothing.

I know it has nothing good to say to me but the voice is so familiar. I feel like it knows me so well. That same voice wants me to sleep in and not get out of bed. That voice wants me to cut corners and only give half of my efforts to this day.
It’s not the voice of God. I can’t claim to know everything about God but I believe this:

God’s voice is one of encouragement and love, motivation and power. It is not fear. It is not deprecation. It is not a voice of less but a voice of more.

God does not whisper half-hearted anthems into our ears or taunts us to give up.

So why do I listen to this voice? Why do I let it wake me up and speak to me before I’ve even had a chance to pour the coffee? 

I want to be like David in this Psalm. I want to be able to stop the noise in my brain that wants to define my worth and say, “No, what’s going on with you? Why are you so upset? What are you letting in?”

I want to be smart and switch the script, tell myself I am capable even when I don’t fully believe it.

It might just be time for a little David soul talk, friend. It might be time to sit down with yourself and look at all the ways you’ve been your own worst critic, the least effective cheerleader for your own cause. Because I promise you this, those sorts of voices stand in our way. They hold us back. They squelch our willingness to step out into the world and make real change. You may need a better anthem. You may need to be a better friend to yourself today.

Here’s to switching the script.

The pressure is off. 

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. - Psalm 42:5
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