One might deny it, not wanting to look like one is losing one’s mind wandering about talking to one’s self. But we all do it all the time. The question is not, do you talk to yourself? The real question is, do you preach positively or negatively, do you rationalize and propagandize or do you encourage your soul and cause you to see life as God does?
Paul David Tripp put it this way, “no one is more influential in your life than you are, because no one talks to you more than you do. You are in an unending conversation with yourself. You are talking to yourself all the time, interpreting, organizing, and analyzing what’s going on inside you and around you. You may be talking to yourself about why you feel so tired. Or maybe you woke up this morning with a sense of dread and you aren’t sure why. Maybe your mind has traveled back to your distant past and, for reasons you don’t understand, you’re recalling events from your early childhood.”
Further in the same blog post, Tripp said, “Here’s the question: how wholesome, faith-driven, and Christ-centered is the conversation that you have with yourself every day? Do you remind yourself of your need? Do you point yourself once again to the beauty and practicality of God’s grace? Do you tell yourself to run toward him in those moments when you feel like running from him?”
We see this Soul Talk very clearly in the Psalms. At one point King David plays self-counselor and another he is more like a cheerleader at a pep assembly:
Psalm 42:11 “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”
Psalm 62:5-7 “My soul, wait in silence for God alone,
For my hope is from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation,
My refuge; I will not be shaken. My salvation and my glory rest on God. The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.”
Psalm 103:1-4, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,”
What is the nature of your self talk? Are you holding pity parties and grudge fests? Are you beating yourself up or building yourself up? Or are you focusing on the majesties of God? What you tell yourself can set the tone for your day, your work, your marriage, and your faith. We can go over and over injuries and negatives about a co-worker or a spouse in a way that winds us up and sets us up for a heated encounter.
The scripture tells us to intentionally set our mind on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:1-3) In Phillipians 4:8 we are told, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Our self talk can affect even our physical health. But even more than me, I need to realize that I am training my children to be pep talkers or put downers. Have you ever listened to the things your children are saying to themselves? Are they repeating subtle messages you have said around them? Do we let slip out little things like, “You never listen.” “I’m not sure you will ever get this right.”
Stop and think. How much of your stinkin’ thinkin’ is a replay of tapes in your head from your childhood? Let’s break the chain. It starts with me intentionally storing up positive things from scripture to repeat often. It continues with me pumping myself up with God’s truths rather than my feelings. And it carries on to the next generation when I and my children make a game out of being positive preachers to each other’s souls.
Yours for Kingdom thinking to take root and reign in our souls, Christopher