The things we say to ourselves, our self-talk, will effect what we attempt and accomplish in life. If your self-talk is negative, you won’t even try great things. If your self-talk is positive and sane, you will accomplish much in your life and for the Kingdom of God. In this episode, we explore why positive self-talk has such an affect upon our lives and some calibration tools to help us stay on the positive track.
Listen to the Podcast or Continue Reading for the Episode Notes…
The Importance of Positive Self-Talk to the Joyful Life
I’ve heard so many “knee-jerk-reaction” sermons in my life time warning of the dangers of “positive confession” that I became a “negative confession” person. Admittedly, I did not need a lot of encouragement to be a negative thinker because I have an innate gift for negativity, but the warnings of the dangers of being positive were further drilled into me through bad theology.
When we preach to the extremes we get negative extremes as a result. In our need to speak to the culture we are motivated to speak out against extreme evil and extreme unrighteousness, when most of us are just trying to do out best to live out our lives in a way that is pleasing to God. When we constantly attack the extremes, a pendulum effect pushes people to the other extreme. Since we have a desire to live a life pleasing to God, and since I am being warned of this extreme scenario, I will move as far away from it as I can.
In some ways this is good. In other ways…
When I was in kindergarten there was a boy in the class that was restless and asked to go to the bathroom every 5 minutes. Our teacher informed the class that we needed to hold it until breaks and not be asking constantly to go to the bathroom. Not long after that I had to go really bad, but being the compliant youngster I was, the extreme rule set was don’t ask. I eventually had to go in my pants because I simply could not hold it any longer. The teacher privately asked me why I did not ask to go to the bathroom, I told her, and she assured me that I was not the problem and that when I did really need to go I should ask.
I can’t believe I am even telling this story because though it happened 5 decades ago, I still am embarrassed as to what that story says about how I am wired. But think about it. When we give inordinate energy to combatting the extremes when our primary audience is a group of people that are trying to live a life pleasing to God, we are going to push them to extremes.
Truth is truth and it should be proclaimed, but the way it is framed can sometimes bring misalignment and damage. We preachers are under the directive to “rightly divide the Word of Truth.”
I’ve been programmed throughout my life to not think of myself highly. To see myself as unworthy of the love of Christ unless I attain a certain level of righteous proficiency. Worse, somewhere along the way I picked up a habit and proficiency of identifying my weaknesses and then picking on myself for how stupid and incapable and unholy I am.
I’ve noticed a life long pattern of beating the snot out of myself every time I’m less than perfect, calling myself names and belittling myself for the things that are conversely my greatest assets and gifts.
It’s self-talk. The things we say to ourselves that either encourage us or discourage us. If we are going to talk to ourselves we should at least be accurate. The things we tell ourselves of what we can and cannot do will absolutely affect what we attempt, and what we are willing to attempt will absolutely affect what we accomplish.
Our Self-Talk Will Determine What we Accomplish
Our motivation is what we see in the Presence of God. When we see wonderful visions and we hear prophetic words leading us forward into incarnational activity we are motivated. We are motivated to get up and do something of value.
If I see nothing of value in my spirit I will accomplish nothing of value in the physical world.
[shareable]If I see nothing of value in my spirit I will accomplish nothing of value in the physical world. [/shareable]
We aren’t just going to go out one day and stumble on something unique and wonderful that is already done for you. You are going to have to recognize the opportunity and then you are going to have to seize the opportunity… Why? Because you believe you can. You have to believe you can overcome the obstacles and the difficulties. You have to believe you can rise above whatever stands indoor way because what you see in your spirit is so compelling and important it is not a matter of wanting to do it, it becomes a matter of HAVING to do it.
This is why positive self-talk is so important.
Our Self-Talk Must be Based In Reality
The Word of God tells us to have a sane estimation of our capabilities:
Romans 12.3-8J.B. Phillips New Testament “As your spiritual teacher I give this piece of advice to each one of you. Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance, but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities by the light of the faith that God has given to you all. For just as you have many members in one physical body and those members differ in their functions, so we, though many in number, compose one body in Christ and are all members of one another. Through the grace of God we have different gifts. If our gift is preaching, let us preach to the limit of our vision. If it is serving others let us concentrate on our service; if it is teaching let us give all we have to our teaching; and if our gift be the stimulating of the faith of others let us set ourselves to it. Let the man who is called to give, give freely; let the man who wields authority think of his responsibility; and let the man who feels sympathy for his fellows act cheerfully.”
Look at the encouragement from Romans 12…
- Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance. (Don’t think more highly of yourself or your capabilities than you ought. It is what it is.)
- Have a sane estimation of your capabilities. (Don’t think of yourself more critically than you ought. God has given you the gifts you have, and they are valuable.)
- If you have a gift, exercise that gift to its limit.
When I was 21 years old I applied for my first level ministerial credential. The leader of the interview team, Jack Carnally, asked me this question, “Son, are you a good preacher.”
My response was, “I’d like to think that I am.”
I shall never forget his reply. He said, “God wants you to be a good preacher, if you are a good preacher then say that you are.”
Another statesman I know, Marvin Dennis, put it this way, “A frog that can’t croak in his own pond isn’t much of a frog.”
The other day, in a Facebook group, someone posted, “Who in here has an incredible podcast, post a link if you do.” My first reaction was to not post ours because I wasn’t sure anyone else would deem it as incredible. The words of Jack Carnally echoed in my head. I posted, “If I didn’t think our podcast was incredible we should stop doing it!” I posted the link.
Own the reality of the gifts God has given you and their importance to the mission of Christ.
Our Self-Talk Must be Based in God’s Revelation
For some reason, perhaps for some of the reasons we’ve already stated, I’ve always struggled with a feeling of unworthiness. I’ve believed that God could and wanted to do incredible things in my life, but I just struggled with the feeling that I was not yet worthy. I had to be more righteous, more holy, I had to prepare more.
All of those things are based in truth, but our self-talk can talk us out of our position in Christ given us by God himself.
Losing a spouse threw me into a spiral of telling myself that I deserved the loss because I am such an unfaithful idiot. It’s been a journey for me to come to the place of embracing my worth in Christ. I am one of God’s kids. I live sincerely. My heart is right before God. I am not perfect, but I am submitted to Christ. Christ has made me worthy to be a partaker of the goodness of God.
I can remember as a teen called of God desiring with my whole heart to do something that would please God with my life. And the negative self-talk started. Like it always did. I would convince myself that I had to pay some price first (and I have). I had to be more broken, more humble, more holy, more perfectly righteous. In short, I had to earn the right to do the things I thought God might possibly want to do through me.
My worth is found in God and I am uniquely prepared to do what God is asking of me today.
[shareable]My worth is found in God and I am uniquely prepared to do what God is asking of me today.[/shareable]
I am going to make a statement that will blow your mind… (at least I think it will because it blows my mind…)
YOUR RIGHTEOUS PASSIONS ARE GOD’S BLUEPRINT FOR YOUR LIFE!
[shareable]Your righteous passions ARE God’s blueprint for your life![/shareable]
If you have sincerely submitted to Christ, God’s design for your life will begin to emerge in your passions. This is what is meant by the scripture, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Our Self-Talk Must be Positive
Again, as mentioned earlier, we simply will not accomplish anything without faith, and faith is positive.
Remember Romans 12, “Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance, but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities by the light of the faith that God has given to you all.”
We can only gain a “sane estimate” of our capabilities by the “light of the faith that God has given you.”
Interactions in Elementary School and Junior High School have a way of beating gifts our of our kids.
I think of Van Gogh. I don’t have a high opinion of his art. Not my taste. It is good, no doubt about it, and some of the pieces are very inspiring. Had I been in 3rd grade with Van Gogh I would have told him his tree didn’t look like a tree. I don’t know if that would’ve affected him, but someone saying those things to me have shaken me many times.
We did a podcast a couple of weeks ago about the time to stop listening to everyone else and focus upon what God is saying. This week we take it one step further to say that you’ve got to be saying the right things to yourself.
If you don’t believe in who God has made you to be and the gifts he’s given you, sooner or later you will convince yourself and everyone else in your life that you can’t.
When you convince yourself that you can’t… then you can’t because you won’t try.
How about we realize who we are in Christ and tell ourselves, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Calibration Tools… Calibrating our lives and lifting those we love and lead.
- What are the stories you tell yourself about your calling and capabilities? Are those stories accurate?
- Take note of your propensity to positivity or negativity. Which way do you lean? Do you generally think positively? Fix this in your mind over the next few days. Over the next few days, every time you think or speak negatively, stop yourself and frame the thought in the positive reality.
- If you need to grow in this area of your life, have someone close to you challenge you and point out every time you speak negatively (and don’t get angry at them, because you did ask them to do it).
- Take out your journal and write down some positive observations regarding your calling, your capabilities, and your gifts. Frame your vision in the context of the positive truths you have observed that you start estimating your capabilities “in the light of the faith God has given” to you.
Just speaking positively will change nothing if the positivity is not based upon truth. But until we can embrace the good possibilities in the light of God’s faith, we will not move forward in joyful living. You see, we just are not capable of making the necessary commitment to pursue and embrace something in which we are certain we will fail. Our sufficiency is not ourselves, our sufficiency is in Christ. Don’t beat yourself up, but build yourself up in faith.