by Dawn Lindholm
I know that when someone observes someone else talking to themselves they are suspect of all sorts of psychological issues. If we hear or observe someone talking with no one else around, we tend to roll our eyes, or think, “nut case” or “schizophrenic…”
But we all talk to ourselves. We carry on an internal dialogue with ourselves. Thankfully, most of us do this silently! It is when those thoughts are spoken out loud that we are ostracized or suspected of having some emotional defect.
The content of our internal dialogue should be carefully monitored. We tend to either listen to words that were spoken into us (good and bad) and as we repeat those things to ourselves we reinforce those messages.
I can be very hard on my “self.” I can wound and destroy my own personhood with my inner berating and verbal abuse. I tear down and injure the person Jesus found valuable enough to die on the cross for. I destroy that very person God claims to have designed and “knit together in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139). I attack the person my Lord found precious enough to bestow gifts and talents upon.
When I internally speak these damaging words, I am ultimately attacking God. I deny his goodness, his sovereignty, his providence, his knowledge and will. I am rejecting his sacrifice and all he endured to purchase me. I am lifting up my fist at him and saying he isn’t good enough, loving enough, merciful enough.
In a previous blog I brought up the wonderful example of Deborah. In Judges 5 we can read a victory song Deborah wrote. Within it we are given a glimpse of her own self-talk! In Judges 5:21 Deborah proclaims:
“March on, my soul, be strong!”
God directed Deborah, but Deborah also had an internal dialogue that was encouraging and supportive. She learned how to champion what God was doing through her. She built herself up, knowing that God had a plan for her and that plan called her to be faithful and strong. God called her, gifted her, and would have the victory. Her job was to step out in faith and be strong in the Lord. Her self-talk supported her and reflected her trust in God.
To each of you: May you know God in such a way that leads you to value yourself as he does. May you internalize his love and goodness. May you stop the verbal abuse that destroys and replace it with words like Deborah, “March on and be strong!”