For most people, the difficulties of the past year have been a strong reminder that life doesn’t always go the way we think it will. First Samuel 30 records a similar period in David’s life. Thirteen years after he was anointed to be the next king of Israel, he was still living as a fugitive from King Saul. Then one day David and his six hundred men came home and found their city had been burned, their possessions taken, and their families taken captive. It was so heartbreaking and distressing that the men in his army were threatening to stone him. Yet at his lowest point of discouragement, the scripture says David “encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God” – verse 6. He rose up, inspired his men to fight again, and they defeated their enemy. Too often when we go through a challenge or a setback, we think it must be our fault. I talked with a friend who told me about his painful breakup with a woman whom he had thought loved him. He said, “I tried to figure out what I had done wrong. I felt so hurt, so discounted, and so discouraged that I didn’t want to go to work or go out with friends. I just wanted to stay home. One evening I saw a short television program and as I became encouraged, hope rose. I started to like myself again. Little by little, I would look in the mirror and say, ‘You are beautiful, talented, and valuable.’ Slowly this fun person came back into my life – the person I really was. And now I say to myself, ‘God is going to bring the right person across my path, because I’m in the palms of His hands”.I love that! As David did, he made a choice about his discouragement. He took the encouragement he received, and he began to encourage himself, to affirm what is true about himself, to remember what God says about him. Hope began to rise in his heart, confidence was restored, and faith caused him to move forward with his life.You have to learn to encourage yourself in the Lord every day. He made you, He formed you, He fashioned you just the way you are. Rather than be critical of yourself and what you think are lacks, start celebrating yourself and all your good qualities. Remember what God has done in your life. Get in agreement with God and say, “Thank You, God, for who You made me to be. You made me to be more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. I’m an overcomer because I have Your Word in me, and I will overcome this”!