So, all that to say that I'm going to participate in a study on the book Self Talk, Soul Talk by Jennifer Rothschild with Lelia. I'll do my absolute best to post each week on what I'm learning from this book and I might even add in a little smidge here or a comment there from the other books on my nightstand right now too (Having a Mary Spirit, The 4:8 Project and Oswald Chamber's book on Prayer).
The first section of Jennifer's book is about the life-changing power of soul talk. It's really weird and funny to admit it, but don't we all talk to ourselves in some way or another?
I talk to myself out loud often and that's when people give me strange looks, but I'm a verbal person and it's how I process my thoughts, so give me a little grace, people! But, the really damaging self talk is usually more silent. The words I repeat over and over to myself about how I'm a failure as a mother when my kids misbehave or I'm such a loser when I trip and fall (both literally and figuratively). I know all about that kind of self-talk, but I never really paid much attention to it. I mean, I say mean things to myself, but I don't think I ever realized how dangerous that habit can be.
Jennifer points out that the writers of the Psalms talked to themselves too - they spoke truth to their souls and encouraged themselves with God's word. I've always thought that Psalm 42 had some great soul-talk in it:
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
I finished reading the chapter and then I started to read Joanna Weaver's book and I had one of those moments when it seems like God's voice booms straight from heaven to my heart. Right in the middle of the chapter I was studying was a description of the wrong ways to talk to our selves. Joanna even used some of the same research as Jennifer did.
I knew right then that this habit of degrading myself had to be turned around and turned into the kind of soul-talk the Psalmist used. Instead of condemning myself when I make mistakes (which is bound to happen...and frequently), I have the choice to speak the Word of God to my soul and encourage myself with Truth. That's the way I would talk with a friend, so why not with myself?