Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Speaking Yourself

“Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them but they are talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment [in Psalm 42] was this: instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says, “Self, listen for moment, I will speak to you"... the main art in the matter of spiritual living id to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must turn on yourself, unbraid yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: 'Hope in God'-- instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, of who God is, of what God has done, and of what God has pledged Himself to do. Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: 'I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance..."  -Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

How many times do we listen to ourselves? You're not good enough. You're not pretty enough. You're not smart enough. You're not fun enough. You're not skinny enough. You're not spiritual enough.

And why do we do this? We do this because we are not talking to ourselves. We are listening to the words in our head instead of clinging to the truth. What is the point of preaching to ourselves, you ask? Well, we are so prone to wander and forget truth and the gospel that it isn't just a suggestion... it's a necessity. Like Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminded us in his quote... it's biblical. Psalm 42:5 proves it. 

So how can we preach to ourselves?

-We need to know scripture so we can combat the lies we are listening to with truth.

::I'll give a personal example... today I was listening to lies about my body image and having thoughts of hatred towards myself. But I remembered what I have been learning about preaching to myself so I began doing it in the car. "Stephanie, you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)." "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised, Steph (Prov. 31:30)." "Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious (1 Peter 3:3-4)." Its crazy how when you begin to fight off the lies with His promises how renewed and uplifted you instantly can feel.::

-Another way of preaching to yourself is to realize what the ROOT of that sin is. Like, I know I have self-esteem issues.... but besides being displeased with my body, what am I really struggling with? Come to find out-- once I poked and prodded around the issues I saw the answers. 

"I am upset about how I look and how that makes me feel!".... well...why do you care? "Well, I don't like that this is how people perceive and see me!".... well.... why do you care? "Well, I just want to look good in people's eyes!".... well.... why do you care? "Well, I just want to be liked by people and I think that if I don't look good then they won't see me a certain way or like me."....well (you see the pattern)... why do you care? "WELL, I guess because I am a people pleaser to the core and am really finding my acceptance and approval in them and not in Jesus!" Ding Ding Ding.... we have a winner. 

My issue isn't about being a certain size, or looking a certain way, or even feeling a certain way. My issue is that I have an idol of approval in my life. My heart is more concerned with others than Jesus.... and THAT is a problem. Bottom line... if we don't understand the character of God, we will default to thinking God doesn't love me! These seasons of hurt or difficulty or suffering can make us bitter towards God. However, when we go through these situations they are intended to bring us closer to Him. He knows what to bring us through so sin is exposed and we can become more Christ-like! And ultimately-- this will make us sharper tools in His hands. Wow... how humbling? So if I have to go through the valleys to become more sanctified.... bring on cruddy valley. But during those times I need to remember to not be a victim or passive in my struggles.... but to run to Him and speak truth and the Gospel to myself.

 Listening to yourself "assumes" your right. Talking to yourself assumes you're wrong!