One Sunday afternoon I happened upon a television show that I had not seen before. It was on the History Channel. It was called ALONE.
It immediately caught my attention. The premise was this: A number of preselected men agree to stay in the Pacific Northwest alone with a few survival tools and some cameras to record the whole process.
Unlike Discovery’s Naked and Afraid these participants are totally alone. There is no one to talk to. No film crew. No producer. You are just alone with nature and yourself.
Guess what the biggest threat to their survival is? the mental struggle.
Sure, they have to watch for bears and mountain lions. And yes, the weather is not always their friend. Sometimes they can’t get a fire going. Sometimes it’s raining, thundering and lighting.
As the show progressed from week to week you would see how each man was coping with his aloneness. Some would recite poetry. Some would sing and make up songs. You would see this on camera because the men had to document everything they were doing with various cameras they had at their disposal.
They would also talk to the camera. They would talk about missing their wife or children. They talked about the struggle. They would even cry when they were really lonely.
Eventually, there was just one man left ALONE and he won a large sum of money for being able to endure the hardship of being totally alone in the wilderness.
The Bible tells us of a day when King David had no one to encourage him:
You see the enemy had come into their city and burned it. Then they took their women and children as captives. When David and his men arrived they were inconsolable.
3 So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives.
4 Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.
And then, you know what happens when you are tired, hungry, depressed, angry, etc? You generally want to take it out on someone else. Look what happened to David.
- David and his men come back home to a burning city and their families are gone
- David and his men weep for their loss
- David’s men decide to stone David, since he must be the problem
- David decides to still be the leader that he is and find encouragement alone
Sometimes you just have to reach way down inside, to the very bottom of your emotional or spiritual well, and you have to pull up whatever bit of strength and encouragement you can find. It might only be the size of a teaspoon, but pull it out and hang on to it.
Leader, don’t wait for someone to send in the court jester to make you laugh. Don’t wait for your friends to come up to you and give you a “high 5.” Don’t wait for anyone around you to slap you on the back and say “Attaboy!” Don’t wait for the thank you card or the “Like” button on Facebook. Be the Leader that you are and ENCOURAGE YOURSELF!
One of the synonyms of encourage is hearten. Look at this definition of hearten:
Hearten implies the lifting of dispiritedness or despondency by
an infusion of fresh courage or zeal
I love that. An infusion of fresh courage or zeal. That’s exactly what David had to do. That’s exactly what you’ll have to do from time to time. Get yourself an infusion of something fresh. When you are all alone…stand! When you are almost tapped out…get yourself an infusion of fresh courage! When no one else will encourage you – Encourage Yourself!
David took that little bit of encouragement and was able to go on. Here is the rest of the story.
17 And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled.
18 And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives.
19 And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all.