Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Clean Out the Closet

Lelia is hosting an online study on the book "Self Talk, Soul Talk" by Jennifer Rothschild. I've read Jennifer's book "The Lessons I Learned in the Dark" and I've seen her at a conference. She is amazing, wonderful, gifted, and you would never know by seeing her that she is blind and has been since 15 years old. In chapter one, "Not So Well with My Soul", she discusses our thought closet and how we should take an inventory of it. I have so often thought "it is NOT so well with my soul."

I've always struggled with low self-esteem. I've lacked in the confidence department. Of course these were elevated when I wasn't invited to so-and-so's slumber party or not picked for a team. And then even today when I'm...not invited to dinner, not chosen for others to confide in, not deemed as one's best friend. After almost 35 years, I think I've come along way...from high school teenage stuff to even five or ten years ago.
I believe low self-esteem is just a product of continual negative self talk. I just never labeled it as such.

Like Jennifer, I "suffer" from perfectionist tendencies. As a child, teen, and young adult I felt I could never be good enough. That would be true of today also but now I see it more that I fail than that I'm not good enough. I fail at eating healthy. I fail at exercising. I fail at disciplined quiet time. I fail at being giving or loving in all situations. I fail at attempts of making my introvert self into an extrovert. The list could go on and on.

Unbeknownst to me, this has been my self talk. As Jennifer says "our self talk actually begins to shape the life we live, affecting our very destiny." For the most part my self talk would probably be rated as condemning or at least negative. I'm working toward neutral and realizing my real value in Christ. I can admit on occasion, and talk to myself positively, about my gift of writing, my skills at work, my true concern for family and friends, etc.

I like how Jennifer relates our self talk to a closet and uses phrases regarding clothes and shoes. Aahh...the addiction of every woman, huh? :-) We can store in our thought closet "shelves and racks and bins full of hidden thoughts, secret insecurities, lies, illusions, and reminders of former failures." She really hit on all the uglies. Smacked us square in the eyes with the big uglies we tell ourselves. Insecurities. Failures. Oh please, don't remind me.

She says "Somehow, I had to stop my mind's reflex of continually rummaging through those boxes of ugly, ill fitting thoughts and words." When I read these words I thought of this...
Reflex...a natural, uncontrollable reaction.
Rummage...looking needlessly without any real purpose or direction or goals.
Ill-fitting...not suited, not matched, not intended.

We can control what we store in our thought closets. Nothing passes down our hallways and into our closets without our permission. We choose what will find storage in our closets, bins, and shelves.

What have I allowed to be stored in my thought closet? Not good things, that's for sure. Mostly not-so-good thoughts with an occasional good. What will I allow to take occupancy in my thought closet? Hopefully, I will be able to install a better security check before I buy into those thoughts, remove the alarm activating device, and take them home for my closet. Prayerfully, what consumes space in my closet will be more of what passes God's checkpoint.

It seems like I need to do some spring cleaning of my thought closets. I do not think the contents are fully what they should be or what God would desire. They would probably rest on the side of: negative, anxious, selfish, and condemning. To replicate Jennifer's words the content would be "ugly, outdated, out of line, and out of place." Maybe much like my real closet (with clothes).

I love the analogy Jennifer gave about what our mind captures. We tend to forget things so easily like: why we went into a room or where we placed things. Ever tried to place milk in the cabinet or clean dishes into the fridge? No, not me either. :-) Yet when it comes to our thought closets "our minds are like steel traps" says Jennifer. Isn't that the truth?! It can be so hard to remove the negative/unhealthy contents of our closet. And even harder to replace the contents with positive/healthy thoughts.

I like how Jennifer puts it here: "We have the appalling ability to remember all the wrong things at all the wrong times. Like a finely tuned GPS, we can locate just the right memory of failure, the perfect insecurity, or the timeliest untruth--just when we don't need it most!" Wow...such a very thick sentence with a powerful punch of truth!!

Paul tells us to "be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2.

It can be a scary and intimidating thought that we are a reflection of they way we think. Jennifer says: "What you hang in your closet is what you will clothe yourself with." Basically what God says. For as he thinks within himself, so he is. Psalm 23:7

I leave you with Jennifer's last statement in this chapter. "When you speak truth to your soul, you'll live out the truth. your soul talk really can help it become well with your soul."

Amen. I want it well with my soul and full of soul talk in my closet. "Jam-packed with healthy soul talk." Let's stop drawing from our dilapidated closets.

Cleaning My Closet with Soul Talk,


Beth in NC said...

Hello Dear Paula! You have won a bloggy award. Please come to my blog to retrieve it.


Pam said...

Well said, dear sister... sounds like a good book!

JnL4God said...

Great Post that book sounds really good. That is how the "Battlefield of the Mind" by Joyce Meyers hit me, and why I am doing the study and posts of it on my blog. Very similar we need to get rid of the stinking thinking. Or as you stated she says "Clean out our Closet."
Thanks for the heads up, I'll check it out.
Hope your New Year is starting out good (sounds like it is)
Talk to you soon,

Runner Mom said...

Oh,girlfriend! This book is something else! You did a great job of sharing the first chapter! And sharing yourself. I think I need to do a little inventory of my thought closet as well!

For as he thinks within himself, so he is. Psalm 23:7 This is truly a wonderful scripture. We do need to be postive in a negative world. He believes in us, and we should too.

Thanks for visiting my blog! I tresure your comments! You did share your story with me a while back, so I do know the backgorund of your comments :). You both continue to be in my prayers.
Love you!

grey like snuffie said...

Hi Paula, I loved reading your post. So many of my thoughts that I just couldn't put into words. I'm really looking forward to hearing everybody's thoughts on this book. I peeked in on the last study Lelia did and loved what I read.

Stacy said...

Thank you, Paula, for sharing your thoughts. This 1st chapter hit me like a brick. I am excited to see where God chooses to lead each of us during this study.

God Bless!

Pam said...

Looks like you got two awards tonight!! YEAH YOU!! come over and accept a tall glass of lemonade!!

Joyfulsister said...

Hi Paula,
I love Jennifer I subscribe to her newsletters and devotions, She is such an encouragement to me as well, Be blessed as you pursue this time of study and thanks for sharing it with us.

Hugz Lorie

Paula said...

A great post my friend. This book study is going to be truly amazing. It's shocking when you really think about what you let your mind think. It's time to turn it around, and time to call on God and His Word to lead the way. I can't wait for next week! Love ya, P :-) xo

mommaof4wife2r said...

great post...i tell my hs students that even if you don't believe what people say, you will begin to live it if you hear it enough.

as for the closet...i'm sure my rummaging has couased me way too many problems! i'm a perfectionist about myself...only. wierd. i'm never good enough. i'm working hard on this one...have been for yearS!

Cindy said...

I'm so glad to be back studying with my wonderful bloggy friends. I love this post and will be looking forward to many more lessons learned as we journey together.

Laura said...

Hey, friend!
I'm so excited to get back into scripture and jump back into a study with all my bloggy friends. I love your post on this first chapter. I think I need to do a little "spring cleaning" too! I can't wait to see what Jennifer has to teach us about cleaning out the closet!
I just sent you an email...
Love you, my friend.


Sharon said...

Great writing Paula, I would love to read this book, I must admit I need to clean my closet out as well. But actually this is confirmation to me because I was just thinking something similiar.
I felt your heart in this as you wrote, but I always can feel your heart in your writings, but there just seemed to be alittle something different here. Thank you and I will ponder this for the day and infact the rest of the week.
God Bless

Abba's Girl said...

Great post...I can remember when I was a perfectionist...I am so filled with joy and much happier now that I am free of perfectionism.


Pamela (His maidservant) said...

"When you speak truth to your soul, you'll live out the truth. your soul talk really can help it become well with your soul."...which follows that verse in the Bible that says "whatever things are TRUE...think on these things". Since reading this book last year I have been trying to control those negative thoughts. Enjoy the book!! Sheis an awesome lady.

I finished the book you sent me.
prayed for you frequently. Thank you!!

In His Graces~Pamela

Anonymous said...

1st step is realization...I had no idea that I said so many mean things to myself!! Just recognizing this has allowed me to kick some of that clutter out of my closet!

This is going to be a great book study...so glad to be along for the journey with YOU!


Liz said...

Super summary on chapter 1.
"When you speak truth to your soul, you'll live out the truth. your soul talk really can help it become well with your soul."
AMEN to that!

Heather@Mommymonk said...

Isn't it the truth that our minds remember the wrong things (but, in my case, never the things I really need to remember!).

Amy said...

Paula, I need to clean out my emotional closet too! I have way too many ill fitting things. *Sigh*

Your words always encourage me.

(((BIG HUGS!))

P.S. In answer to your question about the bread sticks at Olive Garden...we asked the waitress not to bring us any, because we are both trying to watch what we eat more closely. If she brought them out....we would have felt "obligated" to eat all of them. LOL!:) Then my "real" clothes would be ill fitting.;)
Love ya,

much2ponder said...

You have just been given a very special award. Come over to my place to see what it is:)

Denise said...

When I think of all the ill-fitting clothes in my closet because I am just not ready to let them go...makes me wonder how many ill-fitting thoughts have I kept well past the time they were useful or even truthful.

Anonymous said...

Paula, you always right straight from the heart that make me question how you are able to see my heart at times. If that's not the Lord, I don't know what is.

Mariel said...

sounds like a good book. I have always liked Jennifer R. anyway. Love your blog, too...especially the beautiful pics in the sidebar!

valerie said...

It's so true about renewing our minds. I have spoken with three different ladies about this very thing this week. It's important to replace the thoughts that come to us...condemning, negative, self destructive thoughts into thoughts straight from God's Word.
I am trying hard to memorize more Bible verses so when the enemy tries to start in on me, I can replace those thoughts with what my God says about me and that situation.
This looks like a great book. Jennifer is beautiful inside and out.
Love ya,

Toia said...

This book sounds really good and an eye opener. It's good to clean out your closet. It's hard to get a clear voice from God when your closet is full of junk.

Thanks for sharing!!