So you talk to yourself. Everyone does. It’s called self-talk, and it is made up of four different voices clamoring for attention in your head (see last Thursday’s post on Every Christian Has a Multiple Personality Disorder.)
To review, you have four mental voices conversing at any given time:
- The voice of the Holy Spirit
- Your new-self voice
- Your old-self voice
- Little “thought starters” thrown your way by demonic busybodies
It isn’t easy to tune into our self-talk, let alone distinguish what the current conversation is about. Our new-self usually doesn’t recognize when our old-self is dominating the conversation. In fact, we are much more comfortable with our old-self doing the talking—it feels so much like home, it feels right, and dang, it feels good. So let’s learn a little about the party going on in our heads.
Important information about your self-talk
1. Self-talk is so automatic and inaudible that you usually don’t notice it or how it is affecting your moods and reactions to people. Do you think much about what you were telling yourself right before you got angry with someone or had a pity party? I doubt it. Because of this, your old-self thinking goes unquestioned and unchallenged.
2. One little word or mental picture can contain a whole series of memories or thoughts. For example, a simple message such as “The IRS called, ” or “Your ex came by,” can trigger a whole range of emotions and thoughts that must be unraveled to find out what you are really telling yourself.
3. When your old-self is talking, it is typically irrational and almost always sounds right until it is challenged with Scripture truth.
How to manage your self-talk
I have a hard time following a conversation on a verbal level, let alone one going on internally. *eyes cross* I’ve discovered that tuning in to self-talk takes practice—lots of practice.
It’s important that you learn to slow down and notice your internal monologue—eavesdrop on yourself. You have been operating according to your old-self for years, so it’s going to be difficult to “take your thoughts captive” (see 2 Corinthians 10:5).
1. Stop throughout the day and ask yourself what you have been thinking about, especially if you have been feeling any type of negative emotion. Identify what you have been feeling and thinking.
2. Has that inner conversation drawn you closer to the Lord and others, or has it distanced you from God and others? (Hint: distancing is bad.)
3. Ask the Holy Spirit what his opinion is on your thought processes, then listen. Closely.
4. Does your inner conversation line up with the way Scripture instructs you to conduct your thinking? (See Philippians 4:8; Ephesians 4:31; Matthew 15:18-9)
5. Challenge your old-self thinking with Scripture truth and the revelation given you by the Holy Spirit earlier. (See #3)
Your actions and reactions are tied into your inner dialogue. Therefore it would be wise to start monitoring that inner conversation and learn to govern your thought life. Your relationships, and therefore, your spiritual legacy depend on it.
For more on self-talk:
If you find your self-talk consumed with stress because of what another is, or isn’t, doing, see my post on Do You Suffer as a Mental Busybody?
If you find yourself having anxiety conversations in your head, see my post on How to Leave a Problem in God’s Hands and Not Steal It Back.
Now it’s your turn: In the comment section below, share with us what works for you in managing unhealthy self-talk.
Susan Gaddis, Helping you build your spiritual legacy