Last time we discussed how to silence the voice of the enemy,(read how here). Now we can identify any self-talk left that is hindering us. Listening to that negative self-talk will stop you from entering into the abundant life God has designed for you to live. That life is what we want and dream of, so let's talk about how to handle our self-talk.
First, we have to become aware of when that voice is speaking and what it is saying. It will most likely show up as a negative emotion before you realize the thought. When you feel something negative, stop and examine it. Identify what thoughts accompanied that feeling. Make a mental note of it and write down the emotion and thoughts that were present as soon as you can. That way you can realize what is going on and work with it.
2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us it is our responsibility to bring every thought into captivity. We can't stop thoughts coming into our minds, but we can make a decision not to dwell on them. As these thoughts come, we need to immediately replace it with what God says about the situation. That is why it is so important to have your mind filled with the word of God. When a negative thought or emotion arises, immediately replace it with scripture. We meditate on that and not on the fantasy those negative thoughts and emotions are creating.
Let's look at an example in the bible from the life of David. The story begins in 1 Samuel 27.
David had been running and hiding from Saul. He was living in caves and responsible for 600 men and their families. Tired of running and overwhelmed with responsibilities, he was unable to see a time when things would get better. At this point, David allowed his negative self-talk to determine his actions.
"Then David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines."
God had anointed him to be king and had promised to rid him of his enemies, yet he chose to listen to his negative self-talk. He let weariness and circumstances determine his self-talk rather than what God had promised. That self-talk led him to take action that wasn't in Gods plan for his life. He takes his men and they become mercenaries for the king of Gath, fighting battles that he shouldn't have been fighting. Until one day, even the Philistines don't want him fighting for them. So they return Ziglag, only to find their homes had been attacked, burned down, and their families were taken captive. Then his men lost faith in him and wanted to stone him. Can you imagine what kind of negative self-talk was coming at David then? But at the end of the verse, it says that David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord. In other words, he talked with himself. He changed his negative self-talk by reminding himself what the Lord had said about him. He replaced the negative emotions and thought about his leadership skills with what God had spoken. Then, he was able to hear the plans and strategies for getting back everything that was stolen.
So what do we need to do to make sure our negative self-talk doesn't take us to a Ziglag? We don't want to waste our strength fighting battles that are not meant for us. We do not want to lose everything and have to go to battle to get it back. Wouldn't it be better to start with acting on what God says rather than on negative self-talk? Here are 5 steps you can use to combat and replace negative self-talk.
- Learn and become confident of who you are in Christ. Take ahold of this by faith and don't let any voices or circumstances take that away.
- Take care of yourself. Being overtired, stressed or hungry allows your normally sharp and godly mind to be distracted. Then you are more likely to engage in negative thoughts and have less will to combat them. We will talk more about this next time.
- Write down the negative self-talk as I talked about earlier. Start by praying over what you have written and ask Holy Spirit to reveal anything hidden, to give you clarity and perspective on the situation. Ask for the truth in the matter to be revealed.
- Repent quickly and receive forgiveness. If you have indulged in negative self-talk, repent for it and any time you acted on it. Most important-after you repent, receive forgiveness. Don't continue to beat yourself up over it. God has forgiven you so forgive yourself and move on.
- Make a game plan to combat negative self-talk. Take a moment to think about the negative thought you come up against the most. What situations are you facing at that moment? What are the triggers that activate negative self-talk? Look up the scripture that addresses those issues and start to memorize and meditate on them.
Before we can create out game plan, we need to identify the negative self-talk that is challenging us the most. Today's journal page gives you a place to record your thoughts and observations on your negative self-talk.
Next time, we will talk about how being good to yourself improves your self-talk. Until then,