If you ever run into me in the grocery store, your first impression might be that I am a little crazy. I talk to my groceries. I think I began that habit due to the sensory overload of most stores. It’s my way of staying focused on what I need to buy and not becoming overwhelmed. And don’t worry, the groceries don’t talk back!
Unfortunately, the grocery store is not the only place that I talk to myself. I have a very bad habit of allowing negative thoughts to talk to me during the day. Maybe some of you can relate. The voice of fear, the voice of not good enough, the voice of anxiety and on and on.
The problem, surprisingly, is not so much that I talk to myself, but that I listen to myself. I begin to listen to the negative things I am saying and then I start to believe them. Last of all, I begin to act in a way that shows I believe the negativity.
There is more bad news about listening to negative thoughts. Fear can actually get bigger the more we focus on it. I know my mind can work in this spin cycle where a thought keeps coming around and it seems each time it does, it has grown in size.
So what is the solution to this problem? Oddly enough to fix this cycle of negativity, we need to talk to ourselves. However, this kind of talking needs to be deliberately thought through and based on truth. The best place to find truth about ourselves is in God’s love letter to us, the Bible.
When I start to spin out, that is when I know I need to grab my Bible and open it up. I usually head for the book of Psalms, sometimes reading it out loud to myself. I love how real and honest the writers of that book were. It doesn’t matter what I am facing, I usually find my feelings mirrored in the words of the psalmists. As I read, my fears and insecurities shrink away.
It takes a lot of work to catch negative thoughts. They have a way of sneaking in undetected. The more we deliberately think about the truth of who God says we are, the quicker we will be to catch them and shut them out. So the next time you find yourself talking to yourself, make sure it is the truth: God is your strength, He is for you, He loves you!
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8