Our lives move in the direction of our strongest thoughts. If we’re going to do everything God has called us to do in our families, lives, and communities, we must replace negative thoughts with God’s truth.
I found the previous sentence in my prayer journal this week. I’m not sure if that was something I wrote from my heart or if I heard it somewhere and liked it. (Pretty sure it was a quote from a Craig Groeschel podcast.) It was followed by affirmations and things I declared in faith. I don’t know about you, but I am pretty good at using negative self-talk to self- sabotage reaching new heights in my life. It’s probably the biggest sin in my life and the hardest thing I struggle to overcome. I say it’s a sin because it’s not of God. It goes against his promises in his word. It goes against having faith in and trusting him. It’s opposite of what God’s word tells us to dwell on. (Philippians 4:8,9) I believe it’s offensive to our Creator because it limits his power in our lives.
Why am I writing about this? Because I’m not alone in this fight. I’m not the only one who struggles with negative self-talk that halts life, family, organization, and ministry progress. It’s a pandemic of the human race. It’s no respecter of persons. Every age, income bracket, education level, and socio-economic status is affected by destructive self-talk. Recently, I had several conversations with a client that suffers from Schizophrenia. I am fascinated by how he copes with what he described as torment from voices that are telling him lies about himself. They tell him how horrible he is and how much of a loser he is and it depresses him greatly. He shared what they would say and, as I pondered that and researched his condition, it began to seem less obscure. Granted most are not suffering from Schizophrenia, but the thoughts and feelings sounded very familiar to others we’ve worked with that are not disabled. Some of it even sounded like things I’ve told myself. Do any of the following sentences strike you?
“You’re stupid” “No one can stand you.” “You’re so annoying.” “People are talking about you behind your back.” “You’re a failure and everyone’s going to find out.” “Give up now. You’ll never make it.”
Hopefully, for most of us, it’s not paralyzing our day to day lives. But left unchecked, it will certainly limit the successes and happiness we experience in our lives. Our negative self-talk can become our default worldview. We can subconsciously project those thoughts onto others. It will impact the way we act, problem solve, and relate to others. What is the antidote to this subconscious destructive behavior?
Scripture commands us to ‘Bring every thought captive and submit it unto the obedience of Christ…’ (2 Corinthians 10:5) When the destructive, overly critical, negative thoughts start to flood our minds, we should focus on the word of God and check every thought we’re having and ask ourselves, ‘Does this thought agree with what God’s word says about me?’ If it doesn’t, then it’s not of God. Pray about the things you believe about yourself. Ask God to reveal his truth about you to your mind and heart.
Isaiah 41:10 declares “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” When you read promises like this in scripture, declare them over yourself. If I believe God inspired the bible, that his word is true, then I must believe all of what it says. What about God strengthening, helping, and upholding me do I not believe?
Isaiah 54:17 “No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.” The definition of confute is to prove (a person or an assertion) to be wrong. Our wrong our unholy thoughts about ourselves will be proved wrong when we hold them up to the word of God. Let scripture be our standard by which to judge ourselves.
My prayer for you now is for you to seek the Lord for his will in your life as you rest in knowing you are his child. I pray that you be transformed by the renewing of your mind. I pray you will speak scripture over yourself, your life, family, business, and church. May your mind be focused on greatness, goodness, abundance, strength, and joy.