The Importance of Self-Talk
Integration Points is all about thoughtful faith. But we must concern ourselves with more than just what we think about. Thoughtful faith also considers to whom we address our thoughts. We need to develop the important life-skill of thoughtful self-talk. What we tell ourselves can transform us – for good or for ill.
The Apostle Paul urges us to “take every thought captive” (2 Cor 10:5) and this must be done in both corporate and individual ways. David models this for us in some Psalms. Note, for example, Psalm 62: 1 & 5. At first, David makes a declaration for all:
“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.”
But then, just a few verses later, he repeats the thought addressing himself:
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.”
Note the change. In the second instance, he’s urging himself to listen to the proclamation he just made to others. There are times when we need to grab our souls, so to speak, and tell it to focus its attention on truth, beauty, God’s word, the gospel, our position in Christ, God’s perspective, etc.
What I have found is, whether we realize it or not, we are constantly talking to ourselves. We proclaim a steady stream of observations of what we see all around us, complete with play by play commentary. Depending on a host of factors (personality, recent experiences, conditioning, what we just heard on the radio or elsewhere, etc.) we pass judgment or affirm, esteem or critique, celebrate or complain, delight in or spurn, all at a faster rate than we could ever imagine.
The key is to take hold of those thoughts and either affirm them or replace them with scriptural truth. We can tell ourselves messages like these:
“I give thanks in all situations – even this one, complete with rain, traffic, noise, or disappointments.”
“I choose to look to the gospel for my sense of worth right now instead of the evaluations I’m hearing from people.”
“I am drawn to find comfort in this fantasy of pleasure but I can choose not to. By the power of the Holy Spirit and fueled by the reality that Christ died for me, I can look to God alone as my peace, my stronghold, my source of strength.”
Developing fluency in this language of self-talk is no easy task. But the rewards are well worth the effort.