“I’m never going to feel better.”
“I’m not sure this project will not turn out well, so I’m not even going to start.”
“I’m sure I’ll forget to bring the Bible study book to Sunday School.”
“I can’t change bad habits.”
“That isn’t fair.”
All of these statements have been thought or expressed in my house lately. Mostly by me, if we’re talking truth. How about in your household?
Are these statements true? It’s possible some could be. It’s true that I might forget a book or something isn’t fair (okay, that one may have been spoken by a 7-year-old). Even if they are true, are they helpful? Probably not.
A few weeks ago I (ever so gently) laid into one of my children who was disparaging her own abilities. I knew I needed to help her see that her thinking and beliefs were hindering her from progressing. I had some ideas of what I wanted to tell her: “You bring about what you think about.” “You’re a product of your beliefs.”” As man thinks in his heart, so is he.”
I didn’t think she would understand what those saying mean. Then these words came:
“What you tell yourself about yourself comes true.”
That seemed to get her attention. And it got mine too. How often do I speak doubt and discouragement into my own life and then see the self-fulfilling prophecy come true?
Why do we do this to ourselves? There are plenty of options: false pride, fear of failure, fear of success, avoidance, habit, and more.
Yes, there is a time for self-critique and evaluation. That’s an important part of how we grow. But what if you had a friend who talked to you the way that you talk to yourself? Would you want to have coffee with her every Tuesday night? Or would you begin to make excuses about needing to take your pet parrot to the vet or having your shoes, all of them, shined?
Don’t be your own worst friend.
Begin to examine, in a good self-critical way, what your critical words – your “shoulds,” “can’t dos,” “I’ll nevers,” and “I’m nots” – are doing to your spirit. Are they helpful? Constructive? Causing real growth and joy in your life? If not, maybe it’s time to try something different.
So what can we do when we speak doubt and defeat to ourselves? If what we tell ourselves oftentimes creates the reality we live in, we need to think and speak truth; truth about God, truth about ourselves, and truth about others.
Tomorrow we’ll talk more about how to tell ourselves truth in a good and healthy way. For now, think about why it might be a problem to speak discouraging words into your own life. And leave me a comment about any insights you have.