I had carved out time in the middle of a busy week to travel 30 minutes downtown to apply for a passport.
After waiting in a long line, I turned in my application and photo only to hear a lethargic and impatient clerk ask, “Where’s your birth certificate? You can’t get a passport without a birth cert—”
“Okay,” I said. “I’ll get it. I’ll come back.”
The clerk let out an apathetic groan and yelled, “Next.” He didn’t say it, but in my mind, I knew what he was thinking: Idiot.
So, as I rode home, that’s what I said to myself.
Idiot. Why didn’t you think of that? Now you have to come all the way back and see that unpleasant person again. Anybody knows you need a birth certificate. Idiot. Idiot. Idiot.
Just as those wrong thoughts cascaded through my mind, I checked myself. I held my thoughts. And, as I did, I heard more clearly what I was saying.
That’s when I spoke truth to my soul instead.
Jennifer, I said firmly to myself, you are not an idiot. That was a lie. You’re just human, and humans make mistakes. I continued, Remember, Jennifer, you are the workmanship of God. He doesn’t make idiots.
I was still frustrated, still upset by my mistake, but I was no longer held captive by negative thoughts. Rather, I held those thoughts captive and made them agree with Truth.
Have you ever noticed what you say to yourself … and believe?
I could never do that.
She doesn’t like me.
Or, like me that day in the car, I am such an idiot!
You wouldn’t talk that way to anyone else, yet phrases like these flow through your mind leaving you feeling insecure and defeated.
Oh, sister, words matter.
The average woman uses approximately 25,000 words a day. That only includes the ones researchers can hear and record. As you know, we speak a heap more that no one but us ever hears. We speak those words in silence to ourselves, and we quickly stow them away in our “thought closets.”
So how do we know what belongs there?
On this episode of the 4:13 Podcast, KC and I help you get a handle on your negative self-talk. Now, this doesn’t mean you’re going to stop talking to yourself. Because, sister, you and I can’t avoid that! What it does mean is you’re going to learn how to speak Truth to yourself by using the 3 R’s of Self-Talk.
The 3 R’s of Self-Talk
- Recognize. Start to recognize what you say to yourself. Ask yourself questions such as:
— Would I speak this way to someone I love?
— Would I write it down and give it to my kids for them to speak to their souls?
— Would I talk that way to myself out loud in front of my pastor?
— How would I feel if someone I admire heard what I said to myself?
- Refuse. Once you realize what you are saying to yourself is untrue or unkind, then you refuse it entry. Imagine you have a thought closet and that thought closet has a door. Thoughts have to knock to get in. If it’s a lie, it isn’t allowed in. After all, a dirty shirt in a clean closet stinks up everything!
- Replace. You then replace the lie with Truth. But, to do this, you need to know Truth. God’s Word is Truth. Read, meditate on, and speak God’s Truth to yourself.
John Stott put it this way:
Sow a thought, reap an action.
Sow an action, reap a habit.
Sow a habit, reap a character.
Sow a character, reap a destiny.
Sister, no matter what destructive talk knocks on the door of your thought closet, remember, you don’t have to answer. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!
And, for all of you who want to see what the podcast closet looks like, here are the pictures I promised!
- The Truth Challenge: 5 Days to Healthier Self-Talk
- “Let the Words” free CD single
- “Let the Words” free MP3 download
Books, Bible Studies, and Music by Jennifer Rothschild
- Me, Myself, & Lies: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself
- Me, Myself, & Lies for Young Women: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself
- Me, Myself, & Lies: A Thought Closet Makeover Bible Study
- Remember CD featuring the song, “Let the Words”
- What Brave Women Say to Themselves
- 3 Things to Tell Yourself When You’re Disappointed
- 4 Strategies to Control Your Emotions So They Don’t Control You
- This One Change Can Make Your Bad Days Better
Links Mentioned in This Episode
- Prayers That Avail Much by Germaine Copeland
- Don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to the 4:13 Podcast here.
- Were you encouraged by this podcast? Reviews help the 4:13 Podcast reach more women with the “I can” message. Click here to leave a review on iTunes.
What’s one Truth you plan to speak to yourself today? Share it in the comments and let’s encourage one another with what God says about us.