January 20, 2009

Choose Words Wisely

Today's entry is for "Yes to God!" Tuesdays

Words matter.

Not just the words we write or the words we say to others, but the words we say to ourselves. Why is it we can receive 50 compliments and one criticism, and it’s the negative we believe? See, I knew all along that’s how I really am. Everyone else was just being nice.

This is S.O.P for me. How many compliments or affirmations have I received only to toss them aside because a few negative comments seemed to hit the real truth? I fill my thought closet with untruths, pulling out just the right outfit of self-condemnation for the occasion. They’re like familiar friends (or as the saying goes, with friends like this, who needs enemies?). Who cares if most of these “garments” are out-of-fashion, threadbare or too small? They’re mine. All mine.

My friend’s single moms’ Bible study just started studying Jennifer Rothschild’s Self Talk, Soul Talk. Knowing my inner dialogue she recommended I read the book. Then when Lelia at Write from the Heart announced the same book for her online Bible study, I felt God give me a nudge. Go ahead, give it a try.

Because of all the chaos in my life with our home renovation and my deconstructed office, I missed the first two weeks, but I’ve been reading along. This week we’re on chapter 3.

Each of us runs a soundtrack, both good and bad, inside our souls. Sometimes it’s a whisper. Other times it’s a high-decibel assault. According to Rothschild, “The thoughts that run through our minds become the inventory we store away in our closets. And out of that inventory we daily draw truth or error—powerful, life-shaping beliefs that go on to influence both our feelings and our actions.”

While we can’t remove the negative thoughts, hurtful memories and untruths from our minds, with God’s power in us, we can defuse their ability to control us. (The way I see it, it’s our only chance.)

And it all starts with wisdom.

Our behavior (the fruits we display) is rooted in something deeper. As Jennifer says, “Our assumptions are the root, and our thoughts are the fruit. The root of wrong thinking is always faulty assumption. The root of right thinking is always an assumption based on truth…The fruit of hypersensitivity grows from the root of pride and an unhealthy level of self-conscious thinking…The fruit of perfectionism springs from the root of low self-esteem or insecurity.”

Defensiveness, anger, loneliness, intolerance. These fruits all grow from an unhealthy root? Hmmm, I hadn’t thought of it that way.

Change can start when we’re able to identify our “roots.” According to Rothschild, the way to this wisdom is threefold:

  • Ask God for wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)

  • Choose to revere God. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)

  • Receive wise counsel..be it from a wise friend, pastor or godly counselor. “Wisdom is with those who receive counsel.” (Proverbs 13:10)

So far, Self Talk, Soul Talk sounds good on paper, but I’m traveling its pages a bit skeptically. After all, I’ve played this negative inner dialogue for a loooooong time. Can Ms. Rothschild’s book provide an “aha!” moment and open the door to real change? I don’t know, but I’m willing to try.

Of course, in the end, this isn’t a journey I travel with the author, but one I travel with God. And I do believe, with Him all things are possible.

What about you? What's filling your thought closet? Do you want to join me for some early spring cleaning?

Parting thoughts from Jennifer’s interview with Patsy Clairmont:
- REFUSE things that are inaccurate, unkind, or unedifying.
- REPLACE them with what is good, pure and just.
- REPEAT the process
for as long as it takes to bring my thoughts under control.


nicdoug said...

Kelli - I just bought this book and Shane from heartreflections told me about the blog/study. I am a bit behind in my reading (and everything else around here - see, I really need this book!). Your post today isn't an accident. I need to pursue this book/study. Thank you! I love your writing! Nicole

JerryLyn said...

Kelli - This book is a true blessing to those of us in the single moms' study, but it seems a universal message for women. What has hit me strongly is that I can give everyone a healthy helping of grace, except for myself. This book is really helping me live in the truth. Thanks so much!

Liz said...

Thanks, Kelli. I am glad you posted this week; your words bless. We are all cleaning away!

Paula (SweetPea) said...

I would definitely say that's a God whisper when He put this study in your path two times. Glad you are on this journey with us and being open to what He wants to do in us.

I am so with you on the one negative thought that out rules the 50 positive ones. I don't like when that happens but I acknowledge it can and it's easy for the negative to over power.

I always heard in our relationships that for every one negative comment we have to say five positive ones to counter react it. That sure could cause us to be careful what we say...along with many other motives. :-)
Thanks for your comment on my blog.

Sue said...

Hi Kelli,
Thanks for visiting my blog. Isn't amazing how many there are of us who speak to ourselves in unkind ways, and can forgive the mistakes of others easier than our own? In a way, it's comforting, because the things we tell ourselves must not be true if a lot of people feel that way about themselves. We can't all be inferior. It must be lies we are believing. With God's help we can recognize and cut out the roots of the incorrect thinking.

Laura said...

I'm so glad you've joined us, Kelli. I'm with you, a little skeptical. Jennifer urges us to be patient with ourselves, and I have noted some progress, but honestly--I'm wondering if I'll ever overcome this side of glory! I guess it depends on which day you ask...

I love your blog title, and your header is so cute. I'm excited to get to know you better.


Chatty Kelly said...

Guilty. Where can I buy the book? LOL. I totally beat myself up over stuff...I have this tape in my mind that starts up. I'm learning how to stop the tape. STOP. And love myself.

Heather@Mommymonk said...

I think those inner thoughts will be hard to uproot. They've been there a long time, but like you said, it's God's work. He is in the business of changing lives and making things new. So, I believe He wants to change our bad thought patterns and I'm trusting Him to work that miracle!

Gail W. said...

Kelli, you are right that beliefs that have been in place for DECADES are a formidable foe. It helps me to remember that it took many years for me to fill my thought closet with rubbish - it will take time to clear it out. We all grow weary with the effort, but God is always there to inject new life when we ask for it. Thanks for sharing your heart.

Carol said...

Hi Kelli,

I am doing the study at Lelia's too, and popped over here to say hi and read your post. I love your header so cute. Anyway.

It sounds like you've done some of the work just from your profile, I hope you find this study and encouragment in your journey with God. I know that I have so far. Look forward to visiting your blog and doing the study with you.


Cindy said...

Hey Kelli,

I'm so glad you have joining in on this study.
For each of us the book will speak differently.
I love to read and ask God to just speak to my heart what He needs me to hear and leave the rest alone.
When we open our hearts to God he may use a book as a tool to chisle a new area in our heart in order to make us more like Himself.
Happy reading!