Leslie Shields has a doctorate in Christian Education and Evangelism. Her heart is to help others apply the Word of God to everyday living.
Why Don't They Like Me?
Do you remember when you were a little kid how important it was to you to be liked? Your entire world could be turned upside down if you found out that one of your classmates didn't like you.
As adults, we look back and laugh at the childishness of that while silently recalling the name of the "friend" who hurt our feelings because they didn't like us.
Just the Same as Me
David felt the same way he and his army returned home and found that their women and children had been captured. Nobody liked David, they were all mad at him and they all talked about killing him. He was alone.
David was in anguish too because his family had been taken along with the others. But David was a leader and he knew that he had a choice. He could stay in despair, feeling sorry for himself or he could rise up.
David knew that if things were going to change, it had to begin with how he saw himself. His leadership mindset would not allow him to just settle and not do something. The goal of getting the women and children back was greater than his sinking into a personal place of despair and staying there.
I Remember - Do You?
So, he shut out the anger, the opinions, the dislike of those around him and HE ENCOURAGED HIMSELF IN THE LORD!
David began to recall the past victories he'd won by trusting God. He recalled the obstacles he'd overcome with the strength of God, victories over wild beasts like the lion and the bear. Victories over the most feared Philistine with just a smooth stone and faith in the name of the Lord our God.
David recalled his obedience to “not touch the anointed of God” at a time when he could have easily killed his persistent enemy. He remembered how the Lord God guided him to safety and kept him while the armies of Saul and Saul himself raged against him. He recalled the joy and exuberance of the recovery of the ark of the covenant.
The Strong Point
I believe that his most potent recollection was that he was called by God almighty, that the purpose and the destiny of his life was guided by the hand of his creator. He humbled himself and understood that not one victory, not one success, not one blessing came by his hand alone. Not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord.
Do it On Purpose
David didn’t casually confess these things as meaningless mantra hoping that mere repetition would bring him out. No, David connected to them as truths, realities, certainties. These recollections birthed forth new confidence, new faith, and a new resolve.
In the midst of nobody liking him, in the midst of everyone being visually and verbally mad at him, and in the midst of the “Should we kill him?” question, David encouraged himself until his strength returned. He continued until he knew his mind and heart have been strengthened.
Renewed and Empowered
With renewed strength, David inquired of the Lord as to what should be done. Being taken out of personal despair through self-encouragement he was now able to seek the Lord without any hindrances. The Lord told him to pursue the Amalekites and recover all. Had David remained in a state of despair, he would not have had the strength to pursue or to even believe that they would be successful in their pursuit. But fighting his way out of despair by encouraging himself in the Lord, David was now able to believe again.
Davis was able to face those who were against him and convince them to follow him once again into battle. Those who just moments before despised David, those who had turned on him and wanted to kill him were now rallying with him. And, of course, they followed the instructions of the Lord and recovered all of the women and children without fail.
The result of his self-encouragement caused a turn of heart in his men. No longer divided, they were able to rescue all of their women and children. - Victorious again.
How Can It Be Done If We Don't Do It?
When we are self-absorbed in our situations, our hearts and minds are cluttered, we are not able to hear the Lord clearly. Everything becomes filtered through our despair. We are full of ourselves and in this state of mind and emotion, we turn to God and ask Him where is He. We cry out and say Lord I can’t hear you, why don’t you answer me.
How can God answer us when our hearts and minds are on our situation? God works through our faith, not our despair. Yes, it is hard, but it is incumbent upon us to fight through our negative, painfilled attitudes if we want to hear the clear direction of the Lord.
You've Got What It Takes!
God has given us the tools to recover ourselves from whatever pit we may be trapped in. Our praise, our recounting of past victories, our encouragement in the promises of the Lord, and the victories of the Lord are our way out.
The answer is the same to every question……………..
Every problem - except maybe math word problems - have their answer found in the same way! Use the knowledge of the Word of God to remember who you are in His sight and then, once no longer self-absorbed, seek the Lord.
He never fails to answer us or guide us.
What Are You Going to Do?
Today is not the day for you to let the opinions of others stop you. True, it may have been your fault, they may want you fired, or transferred you may actually be standing alone. But, like David, you too have the ability to ENCOURAGE YOURSELF!
It is up to you - it is your choice - stay down or rise up. You are the only one who determines your thought life and your thought life determines your decisions and, your decisions direct you to the broad path or the narrow path. God guides, God provides, but you/we decide.
Be Blessed [1 Samuel 30:1-8]
Leslie A. Shields (author) from Georgia on August 25, 2020:
Thanks for the comment Ambrie - I am thankful for that as well
Ambrie Anders on August 23, 2020:
I enjoyed reading this and many thanks Leslie for this reminder that God gives us the ability to encourage ourselves. I’m so thankful we don’t have to rely on others for build us up.