Tuesday, January 13, 2009
"Self talk, soul talk," Chap. 2; Renewing your thought closets...
OK, folks, this week has been tough.
Has anyone else found it as tough as I did?
Oh, I really hope I am not alone!!!
I can only hope and pray that I do better this week than I have done the last few days. With cold (and I mean bitter) weather in our area for the next few days at least, I am going to be dealing with 2 wiggly, confined kids, in a 2 bedroom house, which is small enough to begin with, until you tell us all that we can’t go outside cause it’s too cold!!!!
Talk about negative self talk… the trash that has been running through my head has been pretty bad. And I haven’t even realized it was going on. I just have felt a lot of the “I can’ts,” the depression, the uncontrollable urges to cry. Today, it was the plain, sad, “I’m tired so just put me back to bed,” ever since I got up at 6:30 this morning.
And I did. Go back to bed that is. I got my son up, Dave took him to school, I stayed up with Marina till Dave got home, and then I went back to bed. Literally, I did. I climbed right back in, and didn’t get out until 11:30am. My getting up was under a lot of mental protest. My brain was trying to tell my body that it didn’t really want to get up and that there was nothing I was going to be able to accomplish at all today, anyway.
In the middle of the pain I was in on Sunday, I read our 2nd chapter in our book, “Self Talk, Soul Talk,” by Jennifer Rothschild.
She reminded us again about how powerful our words really are.
“The writer of Proverbs tells us that the words of the wise are persuasive, that a person’s words can be life-giving water, and that wise speech is rarer than gold and rubies.”
“…some of the most powerful words we utter are words no one else ever hears. The are the words we speak to ourselves.”
We pick these negative words because they are available to us. Our memories have them right there within easy reach. Sometimes they are words that we have been called by others in the past, that pain has sunk very deeply into the core of our memories of who we are.
“We’re taking dirty, ill-fitting words and storing them in the sanctity of our minds! We have borrowed unbecoming beliefs from other people and hung them in our thought closets. We have grabbed clumsy considerations and careless characterizations and made them part of our wardrobe even when they didn’t come close to fitting.”
Jennifer urged us to take control of the thoughts we have. We need to match those thoughts we have (and I am speaking specifically right now of the thoughts we have about ourselves) with the truth.
Of God’s Word.
I have been labeled by words from my past. Words that I have picked up and accepted as my own from other people. Words that I have called myself as I haven’t lived up to a standard I set for myself. I could list a whole host of them right now.
I have gone through what Jennifer calls my thought closet, all through this past year with my counselor, Tricia. She has helped me identify big words that I called myself. Big lies that I believed about myself. She has helped me to, over and over again, line up my thoughts with the truth of God’s Word, and start to let the truth in, and kick out the lies.
At the beginning of the process, I didn’t even really have the wisdom to recognize the truth. I mean, I did recognize the truth when someone else talked about themselves, but when it applied to me… no way.
I like what Jennifer said about wise words.
“When you talk to yourself, do you choose wise words? Are they words God would put His loving stamp of approval on? Are they like life-giving water, or do they drain away your vitality, leaving you parched, dry, and arid? Words matter. We cannot risk speaking untruths to ourselves because of the strong likelihood that we will believe them.”
Truth. It is live giving.
Jesus is Truth. He is life giving.
When He used words,
He always used them in truth.
Even if He was telling someone a hard truth,
His words were gracious and His words were powerful, they had authority.
When we speak with authority about something, either to someone else, or to ourselves, that authority should never be harsh, or abusive, or condemning, but gracious and gentle… but those gracious and gentle words must never be lacking the power of truth backing them up.
The ultimate question is,
“Do you tell yourself the truth without condemning yourself when you blow it?”
Even when we have to speak some hard truths to ourselves (and I have as I have gone through this year) we shouldn’t be condemning, we should feel built up.
This is where I am learning. I need to learn to counsel myself with the truth, without doing it harshly. I need to learn to build myself up with the truth in my own thoughts and my own talk to myself. I don’t have someone (typically anyway, now that I am done with counseling) to talk to about what I am thinking weekly about myself. I don’t always have someone there to check me and say… “Hey, do you realize what you just said to yourself?” I have to be able to do that myself.
Just like the words others say to us, and the words we say to others have a huge impact on our lives, so too, the words we say to ourselves have enormous impact.
“You see, we all write on the surfaces of our own minds when we speak to ourselves.”
I think I was doing a lot of writing on my own mind this weekend. It took me nearly 3 hours to get to the point on Sunday (in the time I had set aside for me and God) where I was able to start to pray through scripture, and really let it into my mind and heart. Only then was the pain inside, that I had been feeling all weekend, able to start to come out… and moreover, only then was I able to relinquish it all to God. I was finally able to give Him the hurt I was feeling.
I have felt like I was, and still am, under major spiritual attack.
For the last week, almost since we started this study, I feel like I have been taking major steps backwards, rather than holding my own, or getting better.
It has been over a month since my final appointment with Tricia. I know it isn’t going to be easy going on “without” her. Though I know I can always go back if something happens that I am not able to deal with or process through on my own or with the help of a friend.
But since last week, my anxiety is up. By that I mean way up compared to where it was before. Even the last few months of counseling with Tricia, I was down to taking my Clonopin only once a day (rather than twice a day) if that. And all through the month of December I was probably not taking it at all at least 2-3 days a week. I was so thrilled to find that when I did get hit with anxiety, a lot of the time, I was able to employ one or more of the relaxation techniques I was taught, and able to process through and deal with the anxiety without medication.
Not so this past week. No amount of relaxation techniques (or even going to my “safe place” at Beatitudes) was helping me. I have been on Clonopin everyday, twice a day. When it wears off, I can immediately tell. My stomach starts to hurt, and nothing I do seems to help, I start getting snappy with the family, and it all starts to go down hill rapidly.
The negative self talk has heightened even more since I started this book. In my mind, that means to me there is something here the enemy doesn’t want me to learn, grab hold of, or incorporate into my life. What do you think?
Here was the key sentence for me in the whole chapter this week.
“You can’t remove those hurtful thoughts, words, and memories, but by the power of God, you can drain them of their potential control over you.”
Taking captive every thought for Christ, by replacing the lie with the truth, relabeling the old with the new. That is the soul-talk that Jennifer is talking about. It isn’t easy. Especially when I have felt hurt and broken, burdened and weary.
But I know my God, and I know that He can and will work wonders in my life… in our lives… if we surrender to Him. So, I am proceeding to start new tomorrow… with surrendering to Him. I have to. He is the only one who has the power to change lives, to change how I view myself, to continue the healing He started, to help me talk to myself with the gracious and powerful words of truth.