Encourage Yourself (part 1)

Have you ever found that its so much easier to pray and lift up your friends/family rather than yourself. When it comes to my close friends/family I’m Pacquiao in the ring with the shield of faith and the sword of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6: 16-17) fighting against the attacks of the devil and the flesh. My prayers are bold and filled with confidence because I know that God is able and that He has plans to prosper them not harm them (Jeremiah 29:11). But when it comes to myself, my own trials and tribulations all of a sudden that spiritual swagger diminishes to a smoldering flame as I’m overwhelmed by my problem. Lately, I’ve been struggling against anxiety about my job, the direction of my career and discontentment with being single as I see so many of my friends in relationship heading to marriage. I worried that the best years of my life were over that, at nearly 27-years-old, I was stagnant like a hamster running on a wheel doing the same routine day in and day out. I felt a heaviness of discouragement set over me as I started to doubt that God would answer the desires of my heart.

Then I had a wake-up call, Paul encourages us to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18 NIV). Feeling sorry for myself and defeated won’t get me anywhere and that is when I realized a few methods to encourage ourselves in the Lord:

  1. Pray and honestly open your heart to God. Paul encourages us to pray on all occasions whether we are happy, sad, mad, disappointed or joyful. We have to remember that as our divine Creator nothing about us or what we’re going through surprises God.
  2. Remind yourself of past victories. Spiritual amnesia can be one of the biggest obstacles to self-encouragement. When I took the time to go through a mental reel of all God has brought me through: how He has deepened my relationship with and love for Him I was humbled  and in awe of the God we serve. Recognizing that God had the power to do it back then reminds us that He is more than able to come through for us now.

Isolation is a key tool in Satan’s arsenal, he wants us to feel too embarrassed, ashamed or upset to go to God. But if we look at the Psalms David went to the Lord at all occasions he asks the Lord directly, “how long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?…Look on me and answer Lord my God” (Psalm 13: 2,3 NIV). We can’t be afraid to cast our cares upon God, in His omniscience, He already knows our thoughts and most importantly He cares for us 1 Peter 5:7.

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