Encourage yourself -- don't wait for others to do it for you

Let me be blunt. You aren’t going to receive the encouragement you crave -- at least not the amount you crave -- from the people who surround your life. You’re going to need to eliminate that expectation. Don’t get me wrong; encouragement is a great thing.

“Don’t you wish you received a little encouragement more often than you do?” Of course, I do. Who doesn’t? People stop me occasionally and say, “Pastor, you probably hear this all the time, but I want to encourage you.” I usually stop them and say, “Thank you so much, and no, actually, I do not hear it all the time!”

WHAT I WISH I COULD TELL THE LOST GIRL I WAS IN COLLEGE

A lack of affirmation used to be discouraging until I finally realized it’s not another person’s job to keep me encouraged. I had to stop expecting people to do for me what I was completely capable of doing myself -- regardless of the situation or season of life I am currently in.

Maybe you have recently lost your job.

Your financial situation is a disaster.

Your marriage is on the rocks.

No matter how hard you try, it seems you can’t do anything right.

You are overwhelmed at having to make major decisions without a clue what to do.

What do you do when life is spinning out of control, and feeling encouraged is the furthest thing from your mind in the exact time you need it more than ever?

I read about a man whose story will inspire you. His family and the families of the men he led had been taken hostage while they were out of town. He and his men were exhausted, scared, confused, and angry. Multiple people wanted him dead, including his friends who were in danger of turning on him because they realized their families were in harm’s way.

That's enough to make almost anyone throw in the towel, but that's not what happened. Instead, he did the opposite of what came naturally, and it’s written in the Bible that David “encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” No one else would do it for him. If he was going to muster the courage to rally his men in order to get their families back, he was going to have to do it for himself.

It doesn't matter how loved you are -- you can’t always rely on your spouse to encourage you. You can’t always rely on your kids or your parents. You can’t always rely on your friend, your teacher, your co-worker, or your boss. Sometimes, when it seems like hell is coming against you – you are going to have to encourage yourself. I promise it’s not as far fetched as it sounds. Let me show you how...

TEACH THE BIBLE IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS SO THAT STUDENTS CAN LEARN TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE WORLD AROUND THEM

When you are scared and/or alone --  I will fear no evil for you are with me! Psalm 23:4

When you feel like the pain will never end -- Weeping may stay for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

When you feel like giving up -- But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

When you feel overwhelmed -- Greater is He who is in me than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4

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David made it through (I encourage you to read the rest of the story in 1 Samuel 30), and so will you! Don't ever doubt in the dark what God has shown you in the light... You are loved by God. He has a plan and a purpose for your life! Be encouraged today. When we are at our weakest – God is at His strongest. Be encouraged! When no one else can or will do it for you - be like David, and ENCOURAGE YOURSELF in the Lord your God!