From Despair to Faith: A Biblical Approach to Stress Reduction

Published on Sep 25, 2023
Category: Devotion

Psalm 42:5-6a
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. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you

Years of research and study have given today’s psychologist a powerful therapy tool called Self-Talk.

Self-talk refers to the act or practice of talking to oneself, either aloud or silently. Self-talk is actually something that goes on in your head and mine, on a regular basis, often without even realizing. There are things each of tell us ourselves, constantly. These thoughts can be positive or negative. Research and study tells us that when negative self-talk is stopped, stress is reduced, while positive self-talk helps manage stress and even improve health. But the beauty is that, this discovery made by man recently was in the Word of God thousands of years ago!

Have you had days when you simply can’t think straight, you just feel so very blue, tears are waiting to roll, and many a time, you barely can even figure out why! Well the psalmist definitely did. But he also knew just how to deal with it. You find him counseling his own soul. He is talking to himself. When the psalmist is miserable and down in the dumps, he is talking to himself.

The psalmist is telling himself three things:

Hope in Him – says the psalmist. He is telling his soul, hope in God! Hope is to expect with confidence. And so, to hope in God is to put your confidence in God and expect that He will come through for you. The key being to hope in God and rather than man, for it is God alone who can make a difference that matters!

Praise Him – Because of who He is! Recognize and acknowledge that God is worthy of your praise, says the psalmist to himself. The other very obvious and practical fact is that when in trouble, when feeling low, shifting focus from yourself or even the problem, to the One who can bring you out of the problem, helps tremendously. Focus on who God is rather than what your problem is, says the psalmist.

Remember Him – Finally, when down in the dumps, we typically focus and live in the present, and to keep thinking of how sad and bad our situation is. But the psalmist is saying, the thing to do instead, is to remember! Remember, how God has led you in the past, how He has been faithful through other times of trouble. This would not just shift focus but help gain confidence, knowing that the One who brought you through earlier, is more than able to take you through the present situation too.

Next time you are down in the dumps, would you like the psalmist, choose to do some positive self-talk? To say with the hymn writer It is well with my soul, reminding ourselves that God’s faithfulness is our hope and stay?

Dear Lord, when I tend to be miserable and low, help me to counsel my heart, like David did.

  1. Can you think of a time when you felt downcast or troubled, like the psalmist in Psalm 42? How did you cope with those feelings?
  2. How often do you engage in self-talk, both positive and negative, throughout your day? Are you aware of the tone and content of your self-talk?
  3. What steps can you take to incorporate positive self-talk into your routine?

Author

Preethi Alice Jacob

Preethi Jacob is the author of the yearlong devotional At the Potter’s Wheel, Day by Day. Her journey includes teaching a Bible Study Fellowship class, teaching and leading the Sunday School ministry in her church, leading Bible studies, besides counselling young women. She serves on the Global Mission Team of the United Bible Societies and lives in Bangalore, India with her husband and two young adult children.

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