Things I would never allow my kids to say to each other.
Why is it okay for me to talk to myself like that?
When it comes to self-talk, unfortunately I don’t always practice what I preach. I come down on myself, focusing on my failures and scolding myself for my shortcomings. None of this makes me want to rise up and be a better person. In fact, it has quite the opposite effect.
Lately I’ve been challenged to pay more attention to the messages I send to myself. I’m trying to listen more carefully to the way the LORD speaks to me.
What if I patterned my internal speech after His?
Perhaps I’d talk to myself more like this…
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, bring her into the wilderness and speak kindly to her.” (Hosea 2:14, NAS)
When God speaks, He is always and unbelievably kind. We should be as kind to ourselves as He is, and as we usually desire to be to others. For “I myself am in need of the alms of my own kindness.” (Carl Jung)
“If you can’t think of something nice to say…think of something!”
Our former pastor, Rick Mann, coined this phrase to encourage his three boys to practice a discipline of kindness. If I applied this to my self-talk, I could start by refraining from berating myself. Then I might take it a step further. For example, instead of dwelling on the fact that I’ve gained a few pounds, perhaps I could applaud my sedentary self for actually starting and keeping up with an exercise program the past few months! (Yay me!)
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29, NIV)
Of all the attributes Jesus could have used to describe Himself, He chose gentleness and humility. He is so gentle with us in our weakness and woundedness. He is never harsh.
“We learn to be gentle with ourselves by experiencing the intimate, heartfelt compassion of Jesus.” (Brennan Manning)
Rather than beating myself up when I fail, why don’t I try instead to be careful, tactful, and gentle with my heart? It really is a much more Christ-like response.
“I tell you the truth…” Over and over again in the Gospels, Jesus uses this expression. We can always count on Him to tell us the truth about ourselves. As Adrian Rogers once said,
“The truest thing about me is what God says about me.”
But He doesn’t just tell us the truth. I find it intriguing that whenever ‘truth’ is mentioned in the Bible, it is often paired with something else, like kindness (Proverbs 3:3), grace (John 1:14) or love (Ephesians 4:15). The Lord is both truth-telling and grace-giving.
Following His example means I can be honest with myself. I can own my sin and acknowledge my mistakes. But I can do it in an atmosphere of acceptance, in a safe place called grace.
“God told them, ‘I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!’ “ (Jeremiah 31:3, The Message)
Just the other day I was assuring my twelve-year-old daughter that she can trust us and our decisions as her parents. Because, the bottom line is–and always will be–that we LOVE her. I too am a daughter who needs to be reminded that she is unconditionally and deeply loved by her heavenly Father.
“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. God’s love for you and his choice of you constitute your worth. Accept that, and let it become the most important thing in your life.” (John Eagan)
He chose me, loves me, and values me! This changes everything, including how I treat and talk to myself.
I am a daughter of the King! Remembering who I am should affect my self-talk. (I can just hear Him saying, “Don’t talk to my daughter that way!”) He is kind, gentle, truthful and loving towards me. Shouldn’t I respond to myself in the same way?
I am “one beloved by God.” And so are you!
Let’s address ourselves accordingly.
Take a few moments if you can and let the words of the Kari Jobe song, “My Beloved,” speak to your heart! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeP_hMttXDs
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