Every time I visited my sweet Southern grandma, she would tell me, “Honey, don’t ever watch ‘so-poppers.’”
“Mama” taught me a lot through her words and her life. I giggle now at that stern admonishment. As a little girl, I vowed I would never watch one—even though I had no idea what in the world a “so-popper” was.
Now, be aware that each time my petite Mama preached her anti-so-popper doctrine, she was eating a Moon Pie, sipping an RC Cola, and her eyes were glued to Days of Our Lives or All My Children.
It was not until I was a young adult that I finally realized what she was actually warning me against. The words “soap operas” had gotten lost in her thick as sweet-Southern-molasses Georgia accent.
While that is actually really good advice from my grandmother, even greater wisdom comes from her favorite Psalm. She quoted it to me often—not just during the soaps!
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).
My precious Mama knew the power of words, and she wanted her granddaughter to know it too.
What about you? Do you ever think about the power of words—and, more specifically, the power of the words you speak to yourself?
The words of your mouth and the meditations of your heart are what make up your self-talk. Because the words of your mouth aren’t just the ones you say out loud or to other people who can listen. You say them silently to yourself too.
And, the truth is, we all say mean things to ourselves, don’t we? We belittle ourselves. We disparage ourselves. In short, we slander ourselves.
But, friend, we need to stop this awful self-talk. Self-slandering words, when we use them, are ugly and powerful. They damage our souls.
So, how can we stop this self-slander?
On this episode of the 4:13 Podcast, KC and I look at what Psalm 19:14 has to say about how we talk to ourselves. So, if you struggle with self-slander, you’re going to learn two doable ways to stop. You’ll also discover how to change your inner vocabulary to match the grace-filled truth of God’s Word.
2 Ways to Stop Self-Slander
- Set a new standard. I remember when our younger son, Connor, was in the second or third grade. We were in the kitchen together and he dropped something on the floor. He immediately said, “Stupid! Connor, you’re so stupid!” I hated hearing that as his mom. So, I told him, “Connor, you’re not allowed to talk about my son like that.” Because, the point is, nobody can talk about somebody I love like that. It was my standard that Connor had to meet, not the standard that he set for himself.It’s the same with God your Father. Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you.” This verse tells you that God sets the standard for how you talk to yourself. What you say to yourself and about yourself needs to be acceptable to Him. God loves you and He doesn’t want anyone talking trash about His girl—and that includes you.
Think about what the standard is that you’re trying to meet when you talk to yourself. It’s possible that your standard may be way too low. You may be accepting untrue and unkind words because it’s a habit. It may be time to reset—or set for the first time—a new standard.
So start by asking the Lord if what you say to yourself and about yourself is acceptable to Him. It might be acceptable to you, but it’s not your standard you’re trying to meet. It’s His. You may need to switch your standard for how highly God esteems you.
- Seek a new source. You may want to use healthy self-talk, but maybe you have bad habits that you don’t know how to break. Or, it’s possible you’re trying to pull from your own strength and you just don’t have it. If you’re like many of us, sometimes you may feel too weak and clueless to make your words acceptable to God. But, here’s the wonderful thing, my friend. You don’t have to have it all together.The end of Psalm 19:14 says, “O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” God equals your strength. Your strength is not just from God, it is God. You can be weak and needy because He’s your strength.
So, if you are struggling to meet the standard God has set, you can rely on Him to provide what you need to change the way you talk to and about yourself. He becomes the source of your healthy, truthful self-talk because He’s your strength. And, as this source, He gives you the words to say. The Bible is full of the truth-filled verses that you can speak to your soul.
This verse also tells you that not only is He your strength, but He’s your redeemer. This means those old lies that you said to yourself can be redeemed and replaced with Truth.
If you are in the bad habit of self-slander, ask God to be your strength, your source, and your redeemer. Look to Him to help you change your inner vocabulary.
Friend, your words matter because you matter. Even if your self-esteem is sub-zero and you can’t find motivation to stop slandering yourself for yourself, ask God to help you stop for His sake. Because when you hurt yourself with ugly words, you hurt Him. You’re His, He loves you and He doesn’t want anyone—including you—slandering His daughter!
And remember, no matter what you are facing or how you feel, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength!
Books and Bible Studies 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
Links Mentioned in This Episode
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What’s one verse in Scripture that reminds you of who God says you are?