How to Combat Negative Self-Talk

What you feed grows; what you starve dies.

This spiritual truth has about 1,000,001 applications in our lives, and I’ll let the Holy Spirit speak to your own heart as to how He wants you to apply it, but for this post, I want to focus in our one very specific application of this principle, and that is our inner monologue.

By inner monologue, I mean that litany of thoughts you have constantly scrolling through your brain about yourself.  When your brain is not actively engaged in some task, these are the thoughts concerning yourself that you drift back into, effortlessly.

These thoughts are usually rooted in your own sense of identity, but I am not going to explore the concept of identity comprehensively in this post – I just want us to peel back the layers and look at the scripts we use to communicate to ourselves what we are worth and why.

I use words like “monologue” and “scripts” and “self-talk” to help you think of those thoughts that you most often rehearse and repeat in relation to yourself.

Stuart SmalleyNow some of you have an inner monologue that is good & edifying & uplifting & life-giving & self-confident.  You’re scripts are “I’m awesome!” and “I’m attractive!” and “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”.  I’m not speaking to you tonight – you’re good to go – you can go ahead and click out of this page – I won’t be offended!

No, I’m talking to those of you (like me) who can sometimes have an overly self-critical inner monologue – one that borders on accusatory.  Defamatory.  Self-deprecating.  Self-depreciating.

When your inner self-speech starts to take on this tone, you are becoming the Accuser, which is a dangerous and deadly role to play.  You’re drinking a deadly poison, and it’s slowly killing you.

GUILT AND SHAME ARE NOT FROM YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER!  Neither are condemnation or accusation!  Sadly, these are common feelings in the life of a disciple striving to live and love like Jesus.  But they are not from God.

Self-hatred is NOT a fruit of the Spirit!  May our thoughts, concentrations, worries, and concerns NOT be on the Accuser, his voice and words – but upon the Advocate – our victorious Defender and Redeemer!  May our thoughts, concentrations, worries, and concerns be on Jesus, His voice and words.  For what He says about us is true, right, authoritative, and eternal.

Now, let’s go back where we started: what you feed grows; what you starve dies.  This is called the low of sowing and reaping, or, of planting and harvesting.

Galatians 6:7-9 – Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. (Or, a man harvests what he plants.) Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Therefore, let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

not good enoughThe law of sowing & reaping – sow lies about self, reap that fruit; sow in truth about self, reap that fruit.

If I plant apple seeds in the ground, I am not going to harvest corn.  If I sow watermelon seeds, I will not reap strawberries!  The same principle applies to our brains.  If I plant accusation, I will not harvest freedom and peace.  If I sow self-hatred, I am not going to reap self-love and confidence in who I am in God.

When your inner self-speech is filled with accusation and condemnation, it is caustic and corrosive.  It’s a poison that corrodes the spirit.  When you gulp down words of self-hatred, you’re killing yourself!

Romans 8:6 – The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

Romans 12:2 – Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 – For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

self-talkerHow does a fire grow?  Add fuel; feed it.

How does a fire die?  Withhold fuel.  Starve it.

John 10:10 – The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that you may have life, and have it abundantly.

If the thoughts in your head are stealing from you – stealing your joy, stealing your peace…  If the thoughts in your head are injuring you – hurting you, killing you…  If the thoughts in your head are destroying you – destroying your sense of value, worth, importance, significance – then those thoughts are NOT from Jesus.

His thoughts about you are life-giving, life-strengthening, life-expanding.

If your thoughts about yourself are NOT Jesus’ thoughts about you, then you must STARVE them out!  Do not perpetuate them by adding fuel to the fire.  What you feed grows; what you starve dies.

Repeat a lie to yourself enough times, and it will become your truth, or, at least you will start to believe it as true.

Gary Parker pic & quoteLet God’s Spirit dictate your inner monologue.

Romans 8:15-16 – The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship*. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

(*The footnote in my Bible says, “the Greek phrase that is translated as ‘adoption to sonship’ is a term referring to the full legal standing of an adopted male heir in Roman culture.”)

1 John 3:1 – Behold! What manner of love the Father has lavished upon us, that we should be called the children of God – and that is what we are!”

Failure. Fat. Worthless. Idiot. Insignificant. Loser. Friendless. Hopeless. Rubbish. These are not names used by our perfect adopted Father to describe His kids!

A famous theologian once said, “The uniform that’s put on people when you have these terrible deformities is, ‘You’re rubbish. You’re worthless. You’re spiritually cursed. You’re …’ And when you can change the uniform, it’s huge. And the person starts to imagine that they might not be rubbish after all. No one in our world is rubbish.  -Dr. Gary Parker, Chief Medical Officer, m/v Africa Mercy

Lucado quote slide

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