Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Renewing: Untruth to Truth

In chapter two of Jennifer Rothschild's book, "Self Talk, Soul Talk", she discusses renewing our thought closet.

As I began reading, I jotted down two questions. From where do these things come? From where have these thoughts taken root?



I found it very interesting that Jennifer mentioned that we can never remove thoughts from our closet. Once there, they can be permanent. Don't we all have memories and hurts that no matter what we do, those never leave us. Our mind seems to capture them and our cells can never rid our brain of them. With God's help, their power can diminish. We can relabel our thoughts. We can replace our false thoughts with truthful thoughts. This process is what Jennifer calls soul talk.

Silent words are not just silent words. Rather silent words quickly become residents in our closets. Thoughts taking space are likely to be believed by us. The silent words spoken become habit. It is through repetition that we speak to ourselves the same pattern of thoughts. Whether good or bad. We are creatures of habit. Just as it has become habit to speak unhealthy untruths, it is through habit we can speak truths. We need wisdom and training to replace the untruths with truth.

As Jennifer says, untruths are "too easy to retrieve and too hard to relinquish." Think about that. Read it again. Isn't that ever so true. We can so easily grab at those untruths. They are right there on the edge of the shelf. They are the first thought hanging in the closet. They are the top item in the bin. We can sort and organize all we want. We can replace them with truth. But for some reason we can always remember they were there. So are they really gone? Nah.

What are truthful words? Those that follow Jesus' example. Those filled with grace. Those filled with power. Jennifer says "Authoritative words should never be harsh and gracious words should never be without power." Wow...that's some good stuff in that statement.
Gracious. Powerful. Truth.

Does is really matter what we say to ourselves since no one is listening and no one is hurt? Yes, it does. "The words you say to yourself - both true and false - have the same impact as words you speak to others or they speak to you." That is so true. For me, I see that it hurts me by stomping on my self-esteem. When I lie to myself and beat myself up in my silent words and thoughts, I'm being destructive to the person God created. When I'm harsh to myself, it may also come out in how I represent myself. I may draw inward with negative self talk. I may seem rude to others because inside I'm beating myself. I may not give of myself because my self talk says I have nothing to give.

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5b

Correction. Not condemnation.
Instructive. Not destructive.

"Even the hard truths we speak to ourselves should not be condemning. They should build us up." I am a big supporter of constructive criticism and giving feedback. It seems in the working world we are quick to give negative feedback. I see the power of constructive criticism or positive feedback. A person cannot learn when not instructed of errors. I believe Jennifer is saying the same here. We are not to excuse ourselves when we make mistakes. But rather, we should give positive feedback. Acknowledge we could've done this better or should've done that a different way. We can learn through our self talk. We can instruct ourselves of our errors and how things should be done next time. We don't, however, need to beat ourselves into a hole until we are covered in muck, beaten to a pole, and left with no motivation to do it better next time because we are just a "screw up" anyway. No, no, no. We love ourselves and we speak to ourselves in love just as we are to speak to others with love.

The tongue has the power of life and death. Proverbs 18:21a

When this scripture is read, we probably all automatically think of the spoken word--out loud and to others. It also means those silent words to ourselves.

Words. Vitality. Demise.
We choose.

Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone. Colossians 4:6

Thoughts to ponder...
What hangs out in your closet?
What is pushed into the back corner but needs removed?
What untruths need to be replaced with truths?
What thoughts need to be relabeled?

To see what others have to say about the thoughts in our closets, visit Lelia.

Renewing with Truth,

17 comments:

Sharon said...

Sooooo Good. I have been thinking about this since your last post, What I call "The Quiet thinking" We can do soooo much damage with the thoughts we don't speak out with. Yes to our selves and to others as well.
Really has taught my mind and my heart. I am so trying to clean this closet of mine everyday, I can't just do it everyother day, or every weekend, this has to become one of my daily tasks in life.
Praise God for you and this Blogging world, I have learned so much, and know there is so much more for me to learn as well.
have a Blessed day
Love,
Sharon

P.s. Glad to get my Paula fix this morning!! :)

Pam said...

This is so true Paula... I've found (and forgotten) that having note cards full of truth at my fingertips (where are those note cards) was so helpful to me... I think I lost my note cards!

Beth in NC said...

This is great Paula and true, true, true. Back in the "day" ... many years ago, I learned so much from Kenneth and Gloria Copeland! One of the main lessons that stuck with me is the POWER of our WORDS. Even when we speak them over ourselves.

You are right. We have to replace lies with the truth of God.

Great post!

Love,
Beth

Natalie said...

What we believe internally has a lasting effect on our whole self-being and eventually comes out to affect our relationships.

grey like snuffie said...

Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone. Colossians 4:6

Excellent, because after all we are part of everyone, precious to Him, created by Him, walking with Him---whoa, there's a thought.

He is ALWAYS with us, most of us would cringe if we said a cuss word, knowing that He heard....
What does He think when strolling through our day we call ourselves something not of His making.

hmmmm

Laura said...

Your comment on my post made me laugh! I guess it wasn't so much the "Oh, crap" as it was the "Oh, crap" in my heart! One of those whiny, "Oh, crap, is it morning already? I don't wanna get up..." You know what I mean.

Okay. Enough crap talk. :)

I love this post. Seems like a lot of the same things spoke to us, friend. That blouse image...yuck! Jennifer can really drive a point home!

I am really enjoying this book. It has truly made me look closer at what I think and say...and we're only on chapter two!

It can only get better!

Love to you, Paula!

Denise said...

I jumped over here from Edge of Design .. Love the blog and more than the blog I love the post..... I have for many years now listened to the word of God over my ipod.... I let my ears hear what the word says... I know that I need to undo all the things that I have fed my spirit and spoken to myself..... I will come back more often and read....

Amy said...

I definitely hang on to criticisms much more than compliments. It is SO hard to believe truths...and SO easy to believe lies.
I have said many times for every nine nice words spoken, it only takes one bad word spoken to erase all that good.

Philipians 4:8
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."

I pray that you have a blessed week, Paula.

Much love,
Amy:)

Cindy said...

I love this post Paula. I am glad to read that I am not the only one who struggles with my thought closet.

Thank you for sharing your heart.

Lelia Chealey said...

I love this: "too easy to retrieve and too hard to relinquish."
Reminds me of when I have "junk food" in the house. It's too hard to resist...very easy to get to, then I see the results of the junk I ate on my body and it's always harder to take the weight off then it is putting it on.

Thanks for participating in this study.
I had emailed you about your comment on Alivia's post but it came back as 'failed' for some odd reason. Anyway...just wanted to thank you. She had my phone one day and announced how many comments she got. Then she was reading aloud and I asked her who's she was reading.."Paula, Sweet Pea's." It was cute. Also, I wasn't driving I was sitting in the passenger's seat...safety first! :) I was just messing around while my husband was driving teasingly calling me "vain" cuz I started being goofy snapping pics of myself. So needless to say, I was surprised that a few of the pics came out decent. :)
Alrighty...got to get back to work.
love ya,
Lelia

Cheri Bunch said...

Hi Paula!!!!!
So good to connect with you again. I have been so distracted lately.........life has been whirling past at a rapid rate!
Thanks for sharing this post! I have often been a punching bag for my silent words. They have beaten me to a pulp at times! I am the one at fault. I have control over their blows. Sometimes they get the best of me before I realize what is really going on. I pray that the Lord will continue to help me get a handle on these meditations that give my mind such despair!!!!

I will be in touch soon!

Caught up in His loving ways!!!!!

Cheri

Sue said...

Hi Paula,
I've never participated in an online group study before. I'm finding with this one, I want to read all the comments people have had so far as well as the post.

I like what you said about the need at times to correct something about a thought or something we've done without being condemning. That's so true. We know that as soon as we realize it, we confess it to God, and there is no condemnation from him, so why should there be from ourselves?

Sue

Liz said...

Silent words are not silent words.
So true.
Your entire post is great, so much truth. Thanks for the thoughtful insight.

Pat said...

Paula,
This is so good and so true. I am always "cleaning out" my closet and making room for NEW and BETTER stuff. You are a sweetheart and always stir up good thoughts in me!
Bless you,
Pat

Carol said...

Hi Paula,

I love this post and what you said here "I believe Jennifer is saying the same here. We are not to excuse ourselves when we make mistakes. But rather, we should give positive feedback. Acknowledge we could've done this better or should've done that a different way. We can learn through our self talk. We can instruct ourselves of our errors and how things should be done next time. We don't, however, need to beat ourselves into a hole until we are covered in muck, beaten to a pole, and left with no motivation to do it better next time because we are just a "screw up" anyway. No, no, no. We love ourselves and we speak to ourselves in love just as we are to speak to others with love."

Such truth. I have done this so many times, but never added the last part to speak to my self in love.

I have caught myself today starting with condeming words but turned them around. Today I have felt spiritually lifted up all day.

You are a wise woman my friend.

Love ya girl,
Carol

did you get my last email? I'm just checking up on ya. ;)

Lisa said...

Love the insights and thoughts here, Paula. It seems this study is getting into your soul and causing you to do some great thinking! Thanks for not keeping those great thoughts to yourself! :)

I'm trying to get "unburied" and visit my friends in blogworld to hear what's in your heart. You were among my first stops! I pray that God is continuing to keep that heart of yours open and exposed before Him. You are a precious soul and on His mind constantly! Continue to be that Paula He's created you to be.

Much love and care,
Lisa :)

HIS Daughter said...

Hey Sweetie,

I love your determination. I'm going to have to drop out of Jennifer's/Lelia's study because of so much on my proverbial plate. Trying to do alot of things and none well, I'm afraid.

I thought I had that closet of the mind pretty clean and then today at LPM where everyone was telling their insecurities....boom...there it was....the door fell open and out those ratty, old things fell on my head!

"Why do you think you have anything to contribute or why in the world do you think you can even help start a women's ministry at your church with YOUR past! You can't be annonymous there cause they all know you and knew you before!"

Maybe I needed humbling, maybe I needed to stand up against it, or maybe I just needed to get some catch up sleep because I'm exhausted from the chemo.

You hang in there...you have so much to add!

Blessings and love,
Teri