Yes it’s true; I talk to myself.
My wife gives me a hard time because I’ll be in the shower or just sitting around talking quietly to myself about stuff. Sometimes it’s practicing something I’ll say to someone, making sure my responses are appropriate. Other times I’m just chewing on a problem. I think that kind of talk is good. But there’s a kind of self-talk that is very bad and I want to talk out loud about it today.
You see I’m not the only one who talks to themselves; we all have negative self-talk that goes through our head. You know exactly what I’m talking about – that little voice that tells you that you failed, or you’re not smart enough, or you’re not good enough, or someone else is better, or you’re not pretty or handsome enough, or you’re just plain stupid. The fact is there are thousands of negative messages we tell ourselves because we condition ourselves through habit to say them to the point where we actually believe it.
But there’s an even worse kind of self-talk we do; there is negative self-talk that is initiated by Satan who just loves to tell you how inadequate you are, and when you buy into that argument you reinforce it through negative self-talk. Satan will tell you that you fall short of the glory of God so there is no way He can love you. Satan will tell you that you’re such a hypocrite in your faith and Jesus himself hated hypocrites so Jesus can’t forgive you for your premeditated hypocrisy. Satan will tell you that you are not living a life worthy of God so you may as well stop trying because you’re not impressing the Creator. Satan will tell you a hundred other things and because there is a twisted truth about them we buy in and start feeding that into our own negative self-talk.
I’ve met a lot of broken people whose relationship with God is rocky because of their own negative self-view which has been encouraged by Satan. These folks don’t feel worthy to even pray to God because they think so badly of themselves. And that is Satan’s plan; make you think so badly of yourself that it actually disrupts your relationship with God. And when that happens you become vulnerable to nearly any scheme Satan has for you!
Negative self-talk is really difficult to deal with because our society feeds on it. Everything that is worldly is based on comparative worth. What I mean is every message we get through the media and from each other is about where something or another ranks as compared to something else. Let me see if I can give you some examples.
- Very few of us regular people are supermodels, but that is the image we are to strive for, especially young girls. Men in turn are most attracted to that standard.
- Very few of us are professional athletes, but that is the image we are to strive for physically, especially young men. Society rejects the fat, the lame, and the unattractive.
- Very few of us are wealthy, but that is the goal the world has established for work, especially for men. The first thing we ask each other when we meet is “What do you do?” It’s not a question of inquiry; it’s a question of rank as in, “Do I do something more important than you do?”
- Even salaries are ranked – the smarter you are the more you earn. The faster you are the more you earn. The more attractive you are the more you earn. Conversely, the dumber, slower, uglier you are the less you make.
And those are the black and white terms in which we tend to see ourselves. Be honest, have you ever told yourself during a negative self-talk conversation that you are:
- Dumb, Stupid, or an Idiot
- Ugly, Fat, Unattractive
- Lacking Potential (You’ll never be….)
- Lacking in Worth (Nobody will ever love me…)
Don’t be shy; raise your hand if you’ve done this. I certainly have. So where do all these negative thoughts come from?
Unfortunately these thoughts can originate with parents, siblings, relatives, friends, school mates, TV, and even church. Then there is Satan who is constantly in our ear as well. The real question is what can we do about it?
There is only one truth and that is God’s truth and there is only one place to find it and that’s in the Bible. The key to toning down our negative self-talk is understanding what God’s truth is in scripture, especially as it comes to how he sees us. When you compare God’s truth to what is going through your head you can easily see a battle is taking place and you need to grab on to the truth! Here’s what God says:
- “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
- “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
- “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
- “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:16-17
- “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7
- “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39
Obviously I could quote scripture all day, but I think you get the idea. God loves us; He cares for us; He considers us His children and heirs; we are not under condemnation for anything – our sins (past, present and future) are forgiven completely; and we are conquerors who cannot be snatched from God’s hand.
So why all the negative self-talk? Do you not believe God? Do you believe God but think your opinion holds more importance than His? You believe God but you think other people’s opinions hold more sway than His?
When we compare the truth – God’s truth – against the lies of our negative-self talk we quickly realize that not only do we have worth but we have worth in the eyes of the creator of the universe! God made you on purpose; he knew your name before you were born! He has a plan for your life and if you submit yourself to Him and that plan your life will be incredible. It’s only when we fight Him that we run into trouble!
So here is the take away: The next time you start with the negative self-talk stop and ask yourself this question: What is God’s truth versus what I’m saying? Want to stop the negative self-talk? Walk into the light of the truth and tell all those worldly influences and Satan himself to buzz off.