Have you ever stopped to think about just what goes on inside your head throughout the moments in your day? In the morning as you stumble out of bed, running late because last night you thought it would be a grand idea to get in one more episode of your favorite show on Netflix . You get to the pharmacy to pickup your medication and there’s one person at the front who should have just gone into the store instead of holding up the entire drive through. Next you miraculously make it to your favorite coffee shop in time for your barista to make your coffee. Stop and pause for a moment to take notice of what you tell yourself and the thoughts which so quickly run through your head. These thoughts, the things you say to yourself, and the feelings buried within the thoughts are what I would call internal dialogue.
Now take a moment to stop and think about this internal dialogue. What type of things do you tell yourself each day? Think through your day-to-day and examine what type of fears cross your path. Have you ever left the house for work or to head off to school and you start to think things like, “Did I turn off the oven when I left the house?” Or maybe it’s not the oven, maybe you wonder if you locked your car or closed the garage. Your question could be a number of things. Maybe the questions for you are different.
Do you ever pray for things and you do not get the answer you were seeking? Maybe you did not get an answer at all. This lack of answer can cause you to think or feel things about God or about yourself. What I have begun to study in these scenarios are the thoughts, feelings and assumptions which surround these moments. These collective thoughts, feelings, and assumptions are what I will call stories. Individually, these seem like small, insignificant, unrelated things, but collectively they tell a story.
Defining Our Reality
These stories we tell ourselves quickly become our truth and ultimately our reality. They shape what we believe and ultimately how we live or what we do. Take the unanswered prayer scenario. Out of hurt, the lack of clear answer might cause one to think, does God really care about these small things? Do I really matter to God? Out of hurt or disappointment we tend to think some pretty crazy things. If we are not careful, these feelings or thoughts can gain a foothold in our lives. Before we know it, our brain is doing what it was designed to do. It is looking for confirmation to reinforce these thoughts or feelings.
Let’s Get Practical
So what can we do to address these things practically?
I would start by seeking God asking questions like, God show me thoughts or feelings which I’m thinking which set themselves up against your truth. I would also pray through Psalm 139:23. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”
Identify One Lie
Second, I would also start by identifying one lie you are telling yourself. Think this does not apply to you? This may be the first lie you need to address. Look at the things you fear and ask, what am I saying by believing in this fear? What can I do to keep from allowing this fear to be true in my life?
Replace the Lie With Truth
As believers, our ultimate source of truth is in the Bible. As you read the Bible, ask God to show you scripture which disproves the lie. Write down the versus He shows you and find a way to commit them to memory. Use a sticky note on your mirror, put one on your desk at work or somewhere in your car. Recite the verse out loud and in your mind. Repeat this until you no longer need the sticky note.
If you have made it this far, congratulations! This is tough! So pat yourself on the back. Give yourself credit for being willing to look internally at the things you are telling yourself. Praise and thank God for all He is doing! Now repeat the process!