Psalm 42

When you’re feeling down, it’s easy to listen to more negative thoughts.

“This is awful.”
“There’s nothing I can do.”
“It’s hopeless.”

But I recently read that sometimes the problem is that we are spending more time listening to ourselves than we spend talking to ourselves. Psalm 42 sets a good example for us when we feel down, and shows us how to talk to ourselves.

First, we see that the psalmist isn’t trying to hide how he feels – not from himself, and not from God. In fact, God wants us to talk to Him about how we feel. (Besides, He already knows!)

More importantly, we see that this self-conversation doesn’t end with dwelling on negative thoughts and feelings. After each acknowledgment of feelings, the psalmist speaks encouraging truth to his soul.

When we feel down, it can be hard to speak encouragement and truth to ourselves. It can be hard to even see it or think of it. It can be really hard to feel it and believe it. But that’s the first step in breaking the cycle of negative thinking that the devil uses to keep us down. If we continue denouncing the lies and speaking the truth, eventually it will begin to break bonds and feel true.

And as we focus on truth and speak honestly with God, we can ask Him if there are any specific steps we need to take to change our circumstances or if we simply need to rest in Him while He works.

Read through Psalm 42 today. Can you relate? Now re-read the pep talk portions and let them sink in.

Psalm 42

Why Are You Cast Down, O My Soul?

To the choirmaster. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah.

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.

When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”

These things I remember, as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.

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.

My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.

Deep calls to deep
at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.

By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God, my rock:
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?”

As with a deadly wound in my bones,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”

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.

Photo Credit: Gary Bendig

Amber Oliver

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