Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Talk Yourself Down

Today Anne Jackson put up a post on her blog that talked about the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other shoulder. Her question was, what do you do when the devil latches on and screams at you that you're not good enough, you're worthless, etc.? You can check out her post and the ton of great responses by clicking here.

I had a similar problem this past year - the devil on my shoulder was leaning on me real hard and tempting me to the breaking point...almost. He was in my thoughts, all the time, working out tons of scenarios that could happen. My inside voice was saying the way wrong things I didn't want it to even be thinking. I was being tempted big time and I wasn't sure how to stop it or what to do to get past it.

Then, the answer came to me as I was reading Chapter 8 of Oz Guinness' book "God in the Dark" one day. He had a few quotes by several different men in there, and I found a few similar ones at the same time too. I'll share them:

"Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?" - Martyn Lloyd-Jones

"Unless we train our emotions, they will lead us around by the nose, and we will be captives to every passing impulse or reaction." - Oswald Chambers

"For my part, I run with a clear goal in front of me; I am like a boxer who does not beat the air; I bruise my own body and make it know its master." - The Apostle Paul

"We have to take ourselves by the scruff of the neck and shake ourselves, and we will find that we can do what we said we could not." - Oswald Chambers

"Moods never go by praying, they go by kicking." - Oswald Chambers

The main point is that we need to take control of the situation. Whether it's a foul mood, temptation, not feeling good enough, or just feeling like the world is getting too overwhelming - we need a new perspective. We need to stop listening to ourselves (because we know our minds can race 100 mph and come up with all sorts of nonsense and fantasy) and begin talking to ourselves. Not in the straight jacket rubber room sense, but speaking truth into the volley of lies and deceptions. Speak Scripture to yourself. Have a couple memorized that specifically deal with a situation you're struggling with and when it comes up, repeat those and ponder them for a while.

You can also call a friend to get some encouragement or a reality check - again, getting a different perspective. You literally can also take over the conversation raging in your head - NO, I'm not like that, I won't do that, it's NOT over. Resolve to think on what you DO want to happen, not what you think could happen in the worst case.

And if you're in a foul mood, sometimes you just need to kick your own butt - snap out of it, watch a funny movie, go for a run, lift weights - go get it out, but take the bull by the horns. Stop letting life run you down and start running your life again. Help is available to you through the aid of God and His Holy Spirit - you're not in this alone. And God is bigger than anything else. Get Him in on your side and the opposition will shrink away.

One last thing - I'm not peddling some you-can-make-it-so-life's-always-easy method. It's not. Life can beat the ever-loving crap out of you sometimes and you just want to crawl in a hole. That's real. But don't let that rule your life - you can bounce back, you can fight it, you can get past it, over it, through it. I know it's not easy, but He's there.

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