Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.”
Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again.
Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.”
So he got up and ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to travel forty days and forty nights to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God. There he came to a cave, where he spent the night. 1 Kings 19.4-9
In 1979 after my first husband announced his involvement with another woman I became immobile. In all honesty, I was what you would call one big hot mess. My world had caved around me and I didn’t know how to put one foot in front of the other. It was pathetic. There was a psychologist at our church who specialized in “home and heart repair.” I needed both. David came to my rescue.
Here was my predicament: My husband was gone from the house. I had three children: 9 yrs, 7 yrs, and almost-1 year. We lived out in the country with zero neighbors. My sis and her family lived one-half mile away. I did not work, nor had I ever worked outside the home. I had not graduated from high-school. I was a wreck!
When you have three needy kids, immobility doesn’t work too well. Dr. David would call me every single morning. He would ask me questions like:
- Did the kids get on the school bus?
- Have you diapered and fed the baby?
- Is there laundry to do?
- Do you have a plan for supper?
- Are the beds made?
Like I said, one big hot mess. Dr. David’s phone calls were my lifeline – those questions guided my daily activity and eventually the kids and I got through the hard places. We began to heal and move forward. Today, we would call that “doing the next thing.”
Elijah had a Dr. David too – except it was an angel of the Lord! Who came to him and told him what to do next.
I am writing this because this morning a funk came over me – not sure if it’s the winter blues or a pitiful pity party – the one thing I am sure of? It comes from the pit of hell and smells like smoke! I have learned how to properly diagnose this syndrome and I rarely cut myself any slack – I do give myself grace though! And, I preach to the choir.
When I feel this way? I do not want to do one constructive thing. Not one. I want to lay on the couch and eat bon-bon’s and watch mindless television movies. I don’t want to get dressed (different from a jammie day). I don’t want to comb my hair or make the bed. I don’t want to pray, read, or move (as in exercise). I do not like myself and I surely don’t like anyone else in my immediate area. Not pretty, right?
Today was one of those days. But, here’s what I did.
- I spoke nicely to hubs instead of the snippet way I wanted to.
- I combed my hair and put a little makeup on.
- I got dressed.
- I made the bed.
- I ate a good breakfast.
- I prayed on my knees, read my Lenten book selections, and I did my 20-minute workout.
- I prayed with my co-worker and straightened up my desk.
- I got a good cuppa and worked on this blog post and ate 3 bite-sized Snickers (ugh, they made me feel yuk).
- I did the next thing.
I didn’t need Dr. David and I didn’t call on an angel. By His sufficient grace and His sufficient strength I pulled up my britches and preached to the choir of one.
And, as it usually does, it worked and I’m feeling better.
You see, a Hope person sometimes has to do some self-encouraging, some self-edification, some self hope-giving. Because Hope Changes Everything and we don’t always have a Dr. David at the ready…but we can count on Dr. Jesus to come to our rescue!
Do you ever practice self-encouragement? What does that look like in your world?