Devotional Thoughts

A Soul Help Kit

Confession: I find myself emotionally low on a fairly regular basis. And I’ve now lived long enough to know this is not just a female thing or a parent thing or a during-really-busy-times thing. It’s a human experience to feel discouraged and to struggle. Our negative emotions can arrive on the scene with surprising speed and mess with our minds and our hearts. One quick turn of events (or even no event at all!), and we plummet. What do I do to combat this?

For purposes of this post, let’s call my method a “Soul Help Kit”—not a very clever name, but it’s a way of saying, (1) it’s a spiritual issue, (2) it’s solvable, not hopeless, and (3) it’s definable—specific habits do help.

When discouraged, I often find hope in two sources: Scripture and song.

1. God crafted His Word to answer our emotional needs.

One of the best encouragements when I’m struggling is to read Scripture. It’s a habit I’ve been learning over time. But it works. It works because God’s Word is 100% true. It works because God wrote the Bible to meet human needs perfectly. It works because repeating specific verses to myself develops a soul habit. It works because it moves my mind off my troubles and onto God.

Here are several verses that have become my go-to’s. Perhaps they will be your favorites also. But embrace these, or make your own list, or go on a topical hunt. However it works for you, choose Bible verses to be part of your Soul Help Kit.

Matthew 14:27 NASB
Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

Psalm 46:1 ESV
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Psalm 94:17–19 MSG
If GOD hadn’t been there for me, I never would have made it. The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,” your love, God, took hold and held me fast. When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up.

Joshua 1:9 CSB
Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

2 Corinthians 4:8–9,14,16–18 ESV
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…. He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence…. So we do not lose heart…. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.

Isaiah 41:10 MSG
Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.

Psalm 68:19 MSG
Blessed be the Lord. Day after day, he carries us along.

Isaiah 40:28–29, 31 NASB
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired.… He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power…. Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength.

2. God uses Christian song lyrics to lift my soul.

The other steady source of encouragement for me has been music. When I am tired, discouraged, or weak, it helps me to think about the words of a spiritual song or take a few minutes to listen to it. My Soul Help Kit playlist is stocked with multiple lyrics that I’ve latched onto and try to sing to myself when I’m down.

Many of the Church Works Media songs are favorites of mine—browse the titles available! Here is the text of another very comforting song, by Cindy Berry—music video with lyrics available here.

By the gentle waters, you will safely lead me,
In green pastures feed me, knowing what is best.
Though I often stray, wander far away,
I can hear You say, “Come to me and rest.”

Though the path be rough and rugged,
Though the trail be dark and steep,
Still the gentle Shepherd watches o’er His sheep.

There’s no need to fear when the Shepherd’s near.
When your voice I hear, I find comfort sure.
Free from all alarm, sheltered from all harm,
Safely in your arms, I can rest secure.

With the flock abiding, all my needs supplying,
Comforting and guiding, leading all the way.

Jesus, loving Shepherd, You’ll forsake me never.
In Your flock forever, I am not alone.
Though the darkness hide me, You are close beside me.
Gentle Shepherd, guide me, ’til I’m safely home.

Don’t despair, friend. The Lord has created us to navigate this world emotionally, but He also has provided these and many other sources of help for us when we experience discouragement. Developing a Soul Help Kit is incredibly beneficial. Make it a habit to go to God with your griefs. And build a ready reference of verses and lyrics in your mind as resources for encouragement when you’re low.

Another Resource for Soul Help

The Psalms are balms. They have brought help and healing to God’s people for over 3,000 years. Scripture’s 150 inspired songs give us words to pray during times of joy and sorrow, triumph and loss, worship and conviction. They are so vibrant, so beautiful, so real. This 31-day devotional presents short studies of thirty psalms, exploring their connection to the gospel and their direct application to our everyday experiences—our ups and downs, our highs and lows.