One of the interesting things researchers have discovered is that, as individuals, we are continually talking to ourselves. Actually the most recent study indicates that, while most people speak at a rate of 150 to 200 words per minute, the mind can listen to 500-600 words a minute. And when it comes to our internal dialogue - the conversations we have with ourselves - the rate is closer to 1,300 words per minute, because our minds process things in pictures, and the average person can "see a single thought" in a nano-second.
The problem however, is that most of us are having negative conversations with ourselves - and that's because, one of the realities of being human is that we tend to be our own worst critics. So while we may be smiling on the outside when we enter a room, inside we're saying things to ourselves like, "Why am I always late?", or "I'm not dressed right for this", or "I need to lose weight", or "I'm not qualified for this job". In other words, we're constantly critiquing ourselves. And the reason that’s a problem is because it’s not how God wants us to see ourselves.
The Apostle Paul makes this clear in Ephesians 2:10, where he writes: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” God created us as His masterpiece - to do His work. But when we’re constantly criticizing ourselves, not only are we unable to do what God calls us to do, but we’re also insulting God. We’re saying to the Creator who made us, “You blew it with me.”
Now, having said all of that, let me say this: I’m not suggesting we all spend time trying to build our self-esteem by giving ourselves mental pep talks. When we do that, we usually end up turning the focus even more on us, as we try and build our confidence in our own abilities. That’s not what God wants either. Instead, He wants us to build our confidence in Him - and in His plans - and in His ability to give us the strength to do whatever He calls us to do. But one of the first steps we need to take in building our confidence in God, is stoping all the negative self-talk that can so easily consume our thoughts.
So how do we do that? How do we eliminate negative self-talk so that we can serve God better, and enjoy who He made us to be? Well, Philippians 4:8 begins to answer that question for us, as it encourages us to, “Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right . . . Think about all you can thank God for and be glad about" (Philippians 4:8 TLB). In other words, we don’t think about all the weaknesses and failures in our lives. Instead, we focus on God, and what He thinks of us, and what He’s done for us, and what He’s promised to us, and what He offers us for the future.
So today, let’s stop talking to ourselves about all of our failures, hurts, frustrations, and disappointments. Instead, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to speak to us the words of love God wants us to hear. Let’s remind ourselves that God made us, that we are His masterpiece, and that He has good plans for us. Let’s allow God to build our confidence in Him, as He builds us into the people He created us to be.