The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

September 30, 2013

Encouraging Ourselves

By Doug Creamer

Monday, September 30, 2013 — When the workday was over on Monday I was tired and ready to go home. I checked my box in the office, talked with one of the women who works in the office, then headed back to my room. There is a bulletin board outside the office and something caught my eye as I walked by: a picture of me. I turned and saw one of my columns on the board. I went to my room, got my reading glasses and went back and read my own column. It brought a smile to my face because it was about my favorite topic: gardening.

I was chuckling to myself as I drove away from school. My own column had encouraged me. I wasn’t sure what I planned to write about in this column … am not quite sure I know exactly where this one is going yet. But my spirit was lifted. It’s easy to let Monday get to you, just because it is Monday, but this Monday could be especially discouraging for some because it is the beginning of the fall season.

While my favorite season is spring because everything is waking up and it is the beginning of the gardening season, I also enjoy spending time outdoors in the fall. I like fall’s arrival because I am generally tired of the extreme heat of summer. Most fall afternoons are still plenty warm, but you get to start the day with those crisp, cool mornings.

I love to watch the leaves change color in the fall as nature puts on a glorious fireworks display in the trees. I will admit that I am not a big fan of raking the fallen leaves, but that is part of the cycle of life. I got a pleasant treat the last couple of weeks, as some lilies my mother-in-law gave me bloomed. I didn’t realize that they were fall bloomers. I’ve had them for several years and anxiously waited for their promised glory; what a nice fall treat.

I just sat and watched a hummingbird eating at one of our feeders. I know they will soon be departing for their winter feeding grounds and I will miss them. I have watched some Canadian geese and some other flocks of birds starting their southern journey; fall does bring some sad farewells.

My neighbor pointed out that my garden needs to be cleaned out for the season. He’s right, but I do have a few treats that I am hopeful will make it to my table. Don’t tell the raccoons but I do have some corn that is tasseling and maybe some fall beans and squash. I also planted some sunflowers which are about to bloom; they are such cheery flowers. I know I am pushing my luck, but this has been a tough year for gardening.

I believe we have a choice. We can allow our circumstances to affect our vision. When things are good, so are we. When we get into the tougher places in life, we can allow that to taint our view and become discouraged. We have to learn how to encourage ourselves through the tougher times in life.

David often wrote about how discouraging his circumstances looked. He was honest about the situations he found himself in. But he also expressed his faith in God and the fact that he believed God was going to come through for him. His faith was in God, not his circumstances. He wrote to encourage himself and God honored his faith.

If your perspective on your circumstances is not what it should be, encourage yourself. Review your past victories with God. Remind yourself of God’s faithfulness. Consider God’s goodness to you. Look beyond your immediate situation to God’s overall faithfulness to you. God is with you in your current situation and He wants to show Himself strong for you. Have faith in Him; trust Him to lead you through your circumstances.  

I want to encourage you to remind yourself of God’s faithfulness to you. God is good and He promises never to leave or forsake you. Your circumstances might look overwhelming but God is bigger than your circumstances. If you want to assure yourself that God is with you and in control, read Psalm 139 and allow those verses to surround and comfort you. Be filled with courage as you stand up and find your victory in God.  

Doug Creamer teaches Marketing at East Davidson High School. His website is Contact him at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or email