Watch Your Words Wednesday : Defeating Negative Self-Talk

Image I talk. I talk a lot.  Sometimes too much. I can keep a secret.  I’ve matured to a place of discretion, and most of the time I know when, where and in front of whom to say what. Yet and still, I’m a communicator.  Conversation and words are my thing. At times when my husband and I disagree, I find myself analyzing what he says , and breaking those words down to what he means.  Drives him bananas. (sorry, honey.) Knowing this about me, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that my primary love language is WORDS OF AFFIRMATION.  When my husband tells me I’m a good wife and mother… I feel loved.  When my daughter tells me I’m pretty….I feel loved.  When my son thanks me for “the best dinner ever” (because let’s face it…tacos really are the BEST DINNER EVER)….I feel loved. When my friends text and say they appreciate me….I feel loved. Words are just my thing. Sadly, I’d noticed that while I value words of love received from others, I do not value the words I speak to myself. I am my worst critic. I know my deepest secrets, worst shortcomings and flaws. I notice every time a new mole appears on my face and without a thought I say, “Eww. I look ugly”. I tally up every chore I didn’t accomplish in a day and without a thought I say, “You’re lazy”. I was praying one afternoon while attempting to clean my room. I HATE cleaning our room. There are certain things I’d like for our room that we just haven’t been able to finish or have.  So instead of our room being an oasis, it can sometimes be a reminder of the things we don’t have.

Every time I began to pay more attention to what I want and don’t have more than I acknowledge what I’ve already been given….negative words are soon to follow. My mouth follows the direction of my mind.

As I was praying (let’s be honest….I was complaining), the Holy Spirit sort of interrupted me and made me aware of the negativity spewing from my mouth. It was like hot lava. So hot that I couldn’t keep it in my mouth.  So hot that it left a trail of damage behind it. I began to think about my every day conversation.  While I have a pretty good prayer life and consistently make time to spend with God, I had made little progress in allowing Him to transform the way I perceive myself. I was so convicted.  It was evident to me that I often spent time praying scripture over and encouraging others, all the while speaking defeat and hate over myself. I knew I had to be intentional about changing the way I talk to and over myself.

I asked my friend Antracia to attack this head on with me.  I knew I’d need someone to be accountable to .

For the last week 1/2 I’ve been writing down almost every negative comment I’ve said out loud to myself. For each negative comment, I then write and say something positive dealing with that same issue.

 

For instance….the most frequently used comment I’ve made in the last week is “I’m OLD.”

I’m replacing “I’m old” with “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well”. 

Just today I realized I say “I’m tired” WAY TOO OFTEN.  I’m replacing that with ” I NEED STRENGTH. The joy of the Lord is my strength. “ 

The more I  “watch” my words , I am utterly embarrassed by some of the things I’ve been confessing over myself.  Seeing them on paper makes it real and I have no choice but to confront what desperately needs to be changed.

Maybe you’re like me and readily have something nice to say to someone else, but consistently speak negatively about yourself. Will you take the challenge to watch your words? 

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I Was Beginning to Wonder…….

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I’ve been in a struggle this week.

It’s not the first time. When I am physically tired, my mind and spirit have a tendency to follow closely behind.

I’ve been struggling, and my struggle left me tangled, weary and asking hard questions.

My struggle was not IS GOD REAL?

I know the answer to that.

I knew He was real when I held a broken fetus in my hands 6 years ago. 

I knew He was real 2 weeks later when I finally came outside of  the cocoon of disappointment and grief I’d snuggled into. I walked outside into the sunshine, opened my arms and laughed. He was there. 

He was real when we drove to California and the majestic Colorado Rockies declared His name. 

He was real when I had to wear the same black dress to church every week.

He was real when I gave everything I had in church, and someone walked up to me afterwards and handed me $100. 

No….that I’ll never question.  I know God is real.

But I was beginning to wonder if  I was real to Him.

 

I thumbed through the pages of my journals, and it seemed that a great deal of the pages were filled with prayers I’d prayed more than once. A lot of the prayers I’d prayed for others had been answered. Just this week I received 2 baby shower invites from friends I’ve prayed with over the last 3 years after multiple miscarriages and health challenges. {I told you….He’s real}.  Prayers for provision and financial intervention had been answered with stuffed envelopes, paid off debts and surprise increases. But my prayers….my prayers for my husband, my family, my dreams….lay unanswered. Just words.

My heart was stirred as I read through notebooks filled with revelation and mysterious revealed after reading God’s word.  I loved looking back at passages that came to life through prayer or early morning reading.  Lyrics of songs unfinished, poems and stanzas telling our love story ; revealing my heart for Jesus despite my imperfections.

I was beginning to wonder if what I thought we had was real.  Was He really in love with me the way I’d fallen in love with Him?

 

In my rather ordinary , but busy life; I often need a break.  Just an hour or two by myself to regroup and recharge. I have a dear friend whose got the sweetest backyard filled with trees, a barn, a hammock and in the spring & summer, beautiful flowers and a vegetable garden.  She’s got 4 children and her yard is also often scattered with remnants of their latest adventure…which I love. They were out of town this week and she suggested I relish in the quietness of her backyard when time permitted, even though they weren’t home.  I took her up on that offer.

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Coffee on the ground to my right.  Scarf swept over my head and neck. Blanket behind my head as a pillow.  Book on my lap.

The sun began to warm me.  The birds sang to one another and I listened in. Their song carried me away , and I rested. I was eager to read my book but I was so enraptured by the joyful melodies the birds sang. While lying in the hammock an airplane flew right over me. Although I knew it was thousands of miles away, I reached up and followed its trail with my finger. Further out in the yard 2 squirrels chased each other up and down a tree.  I laughed at their folly.

I rested.

As the time drew near for me to leave…I laid down my book, and began to pray.

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My prayer was sacred.

I prayed about the wonder….

I prayed about the future…

I prayed for strength….

I prayed to do more for His name’s sake…

I prayed to be a better wife & mother…

and I prayed these words…

“Show me.  I need to know that you’ve heard me TODAY.  I need to know that you see me, and you love me.

I took a few more deep breaths, lifted my face towards the sun and heard a still small voice say “Look”.

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Walking through the yard were three deer.

They hadn’t made a single sound to make me aware of their presence.

All three looked at me and as the tears feel, I snapped this picture.

 

I was beginning to wonder…..but now I know. 

This might not be the last time I wonder.  Life has a way with it’s illusions and hardships. It attempts to scream loudly over the still small voice of the Savior.  But He spoke today, and He’ll remind me again…

I hear you. I see you. I love you. 

Like a Child

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My prayers have been changing. 

They’ve been evolving from “Lord, fix this person…this situation…give me more of this ” 

to….

“I want to see you like a child sees you”.

My children are often like gigantic marquees reminding me of how multi-dimensional God’s love is. 

I’m an adult. And let’s face it….sometimes as adults…we suck. 

We’re so consumed by…well let me just talk about me….this may not be your plight. 

Sometimes I’m so consumed by the responsibilities of adulthood that I fall into the trap of micro-managing rather than living.  And I hate it.  I hate when everything has gone according to schedule; homework, reading, chores, dinner, bath time, bed time, learn your script time, learn 4 songs for church time — it’s all gone according to schedule, but I’m left feeling drained and exhausted instead of inspired and exhausted. Some might think we’re not supposed to be inspired every single day.  But have you seen this planet? Have you traveled across oceans to other countries? Have you taken a road trip that led you to scenery you’d never seen before? Have you ever seen fog dance over a mountain in the morning?  — ( like the Colorado Rockies that frightened and enchanted us as we drove to California ) . Have you ever watched the sun rise? Have you ever walked on a beach of sand and felt the the grains in between each toe?  The God that created the world is not a boring God.  He’s creative, colorful, and expressive. As His child…shouldn’t I be as well? 

I was watching my daughter dance barefoot in the kitchen the other day. She was absolutely, positively in my way as I was trying to cook dinner.  I asked her at least twice to move towards the hallway.  But she must’ve like the feeling of the tile on her bare feet, and although she’d move towards the carpeted hallway, she’d somehow drift back to the kitchen floor. 

She swayed. 

She danced. 

She hummed. 

She tossed her imaginary hair. 

She smiled. 

She even jumped. 

And I was so moved that I began to sway, dance, hum, toss my hair, jump and smile…right along with her. 

The rice on the stove burned. It burned badly in fact. 

But in that moment, I got lost in the dancing and the freedom. 

It wasn’t until that night as she was whispering her prayers with that same abandonment, that I realized that what I desire more than anything…is to love God like a child. 

No fear. 

No rules. 

No hesitance. 

No micro-managing. 

No schedule. 

Just complete, intentional, reckless love for Jesus. 

Faith that knows He is, and that’s enough. 

Belief that lingers through every storm and disappointment. 

Trust that never leans out, but always leans in. 

Joy that dances. 

I want that….again.