I work with an awesome lady who happens to talk to herself quite often. She used to sit in the cubicle right beside mine. Until I got used to it, I’d hear her say something and find myself regularly responding, “Excuse me, Martha?” before I realized that she wasn’t talking to me, she was talking to herself! Martha is well aware of this practice and freely laughs about it.
The truth is we all talk to ourselves. I often catch myself talking audibly in the car on my way home from work. Even for those of us who may not talk to ourselves out loud, there’s that inner self-talk that we engage in on a daily basis.
In Psalms 42-43, David goes a step beyond typical self-talk and actually speaks directly to his soul. Three times in these two chapters we read the same words, “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.” It’s one thing to mutter a few words to yourself, in frustration, or to help you remember something. It’s quite another to take a time out and specifically have a conversation with your own soul to get to the bottom of what’s going on with your perspective in life.
David finds himself in a terrible predicament as he writes these words. Many scholars believe that David wrote these words after his beloved son Absalom had turned on him and usurped the throne, which forced David to flee the palace and dwell in the wilderness while trying to sort things out. He had every reason to be discouraged and depressed. But in the middle of this funk, he made a decision to start talking to himself!
Are you down in the dumps today? Maybe it’s a health challenge, the death of a loved one, the loss of a relationship, a financial crisis. We’ve all had challenges that have left us in a deep, dark pit. We all have days where we wake up depressed because of a current struggle. I’m so grateful that we have the example of David in Scripture: a man who refused to stay there. A man who talked to himself and encouraged himself in the Lord.
In the same way that the worlds were framed by the word of God (Hebrews 11:3), our own world is often framed—built upon—what we talk about. Although it may seem silly or even insignificant to talk out loud to your soul, God’s word always builds our faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). If you’re discouraged today, I challenge you to talk to your soul like David did! It certainly can’t hurt and it might just transform the way you go through this day.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21)