How to Fake It Until You Make It (Without Faking It)
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. Psalm 42:5 and Psalm 42:11 NIV
In Psalm 42, the Psalmist is battling depression and loneliness. For whatever reason, he feels separated from God. He has a deep longing to be back in fellowship with God, to be filled with His Spirit. Matthew Henry calls it a holy love thirsting and holy love mourning. He is literally so thirsty for God that he feels devastated without Him. He remembers what it was like when he walked closely with God and he mourns for that time. But I love what happens in verses 5 and 11, when he says to himself:
He literally commands himself to 'fake it till you make it'. He tells himself to put his hope in God and wait expectantly for Him. But in that moment, the Psalmist is not faking it, because he is believing, in faith, when he says immediately afterward, I will yet praise Him. Even though the Psalmist is in the depths of despair, and feels like he cannot take anymore, he finds hope by remembering God’s goodness and love. He tells his soul not to be depressed, disappointed, discouraged, and discontent, but to remember all of the times that God came through. He reminds his soul to expect God to act! In his thirst, he drinks deep of God’s love and goodness.
There have been times when I have been overwhelmed by my sorrow and pain. Times when my heart was broken and my soul shattered. Times when all I wanted was to feel the comfort of God’s arms around me. Times when my enemy mocks me and asks “Where is your God you claim will save you?” Yet despite what my emotions may tell me, when I believe in God and praise Him for His saving grace, He will comfort me and satisfy my longing for Him. Our longing for God shows our love for God. Just as the Psalmist does, we can (and should) share our fears, our doubts, and our sorrow with our Heavenly Father, the One who loves us and comforts us.
Our living God is the only place our lives can truly find rest and meaning. Our soul was made for Him. It just needs to tell our heart and mind how to feel, trust, rejoice and delight in the One who created us and knows us. Our soul needs to remind us of God’s promises and the proof of His promises. The more sincere our love for God is, the stronger our hearts will be to trust Him. Just as everything we have and all we are belong to God, everything He has and all that He is, He wants to give to us.
When we are overpowered by our grief, we can be overwhelmed by God’s grace.
When we are drowning in desperation, we can dive in to God’s delight.
When we reek of sadness, we can rest in God’s salvation.
When we are bruised by our pain, we can bask in God’s power.
When we are paralyzed by our fear, we can find peace in our faith.
When we are rebellious in our faithlessness, we can run to God in His faithfulness.
When it seems that the whole world is against us, we can know that God is with us.
Our faith in God makes us a friend of God.
And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. James 2:23 (NIV)