Not long ago I read a book entitled ‘Telling Yourself The Truth’ and in it I learned that the way we talk to ourselves influences the decisions we make. Since the decisions we make determine who we become I consider this to be of utmost importance. I realized that my self-talk hasn’t always been for my well-being. In fact, after monitoring my inner critic for some time it became clear that if I heard someone in public talking to a stranger the way I talked to myself I would have a serious problem with them. Some of us are living our adult lives according to the words that were spoken to us back in childhood. Put another way, some of us are living according to other people’s thoughts about us versus what we think and desire for ourselves. The evidence showed that I was operating from a programming which limited my experience instead of one that supported my growth. In a search for a solution, I began using affirmations to rewire the way I thought about and spoke to myself. In the same book it lists three steps to reprogramming our self-talk: 1.recognize what we are saying to ourselves, 2.resist giving in to them and 3.replace them with the truth.
There are four people in the Bible who stood out to me regarding this experience: Moses, Jeremiah, David and Jesus.
We all need to be reprogrammed
When Moses heard the call of God to stand before the Pharoah and command him to let the Israelites go free from slavery he responded by saying: “Oh my Lord, I am not eloquent…but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” Exodus 4:10. When Jeremiah heard that God wanted him to be a prophet he responded by saying “Ah Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak because I am too young.” Jeremiah 1:6 Imagine these two men telling the creator of the universe that He must have been unaware of their handicaps which prevented them from doing what He called them to do. Well, I can relate to both of them. They were rehearsing misbeliefs that they had believed about themselves and were unable to fulfil their mission until they had received a new programming that supported who God called them to be.
David was just a young man when he displayed that he understood the value of affirmations. While he was serving his brothers who were engaged in a battle with the Philistines he observed the giant Goliath taunting their nation and their God. He then volunteered to defend their honour but was resisted by King Saul who reminded him that he was too young and inexperienced. David replied “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock I killed it and delivered the lamb. I will defeat this giant just like I did the lion and bear with the Lord’s help.” 1 Samuel 17:32-37. David affirmed himself and informed King Saul of his past record to strengthen his confidence in standing against the giant.
While Jesus was tempted by the devil after fasting for forty days and forty nights he affirmed Himself with the scriptures. When the devil told Him to turn stones into bread He replied “It is written, man will not live by bread only but by every word that comes from God.” And when He was tempted to jump from a cliff He responded that “It is written again, You should not tempt the Lord your God.” Matthew 4:5-7. Both David and Jesus demonstrated the three steps listed above: recognize the misbelief, resist it and replace it with the truth.
What if we started affirming ourselves with the truths of God’s inspired word? Instead of being conquered by fear we could affirm ‘I will not fear because the Lord is with me.’ Or when tempted with doubt we can affirm ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me and all things are working together for my good.’
How we speak to ourselves determine the choices we make and the choices we make determines who we become. By taking the time to affirm ourselves with life giving words we are able to rewire our thinking and bear the fruit that reflects the goodness of heaven. Remember, as we think so we become.
Father in heaven, please help us to change the way we talk to ourselves so that we follow Your voice instead of the voice of strangers. In Jesus’ name, amen.