The Things We Tell Ourselves
While most people don’t make a habit of conversing with themselves audibly, we all talk to ourselves each and every day. In fact, the person you listen to the most throughout your life is yourself.
This gives your own opinion a lot of power in your life because it’s the opinion that shapes your actions and beliefs.
As you go about your day, what are you telling yourself?
It might seem funny to think about filtering your own voice inside your head, but our “inner voice” comes from our heart—our deepest thoughts and desires. We know from Scripture that our hearts are “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9), so why do we think that we can allow our hearts to express opinions in a rambling flow of inner monologue without consequences?
Your heart deceives you by justifying jealousy, laughing at laziness, and reveling in retaliation long before any outward actions follow. No one else gets to hear the witty voice inside your head that snaps back at someone while your lips stay silent. No one has to listen to the vindictive voice of my heart when I am treated unjustly. We are good at keeping all of that in its “proper place” on the inside. We tell ourselves that venting, belittling, and even swearing is safe inside of our heads because nobody else knows and even God doesn’t expect us to be perfect.
I can’t tell you how many times I have thought unkindly or sarcastically about someone inside of my head. Then, when the Holy Spirit calls me out on my unloving thoughts, I tell myself “They deserve it. At least I’m not gossiping about them like they do about me.” When my inner voice habitually justifies unloving thoughts, they begin to fester in my heart until unkind words and actions emerge in my life, and I wonder, “How did I become so mean?”
The answer? By allowing that inner voice inside my head to deceive me, day by day forming mental habits that gradually alter my beliefs and actions. One harmless thought at a time.
Our inner voice is a quiet, demure, easily dismissible thing, because we mistake it for our personality. It is human to have your own quirky way of thinking and speaking. God made each of us personally unique and special. But as long as our hearts are wicked, our inner voice won’t just be reflecting our personalities.
It will also be spouting sinful lies about:
Have you ever spoken words before clamping a hand over your mouth and thinking, “Where did that come from?” Have you ever found yourself at the end of a free weekend wondering, “How did I manage to waste 48 hours doing nothing?”
In each of these moments we are telling ourselves things that aren’t true. Yes, all of these things might bring instant pleasure, but they also cause longer-lasting pain. Procrastination and laziness cause responsibilities to pile up, making us feel overwhelmed and depressed. Giving into temptation results in sin, and sin always has bad consequences—ever since Adam and Eve.
Sometimes, I think we feel too safe in the security of our own bodies. We expect temptation to come from the outside, and fail to see that we have already been deceived. Our outward mistakes are rehearsed in our heads before they open dramatic performances in the scenes of our day-to-day lives. The battle for our own little life drama is fought between our deceitful hearts and God’s Truth.
All of these things are anti-truth.
Why do we complain?
Because we have told ourselves that we deserve better, when in truth we have far more than we deserve.
Why do we lie?
Because we have told ourselves that lying will have better consequences for us than telling the truth, even though we know that lying is a sin and that sin has eternal consequences.
Why do we pass judgement?
Because we have told ourselves that we are better than other people, even when we know that “there is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10).
We are deceiving ourselves—allowing our hearts to instruct us according to what feels good. Our constantly flowing inner monologue never fails to portray self in the best light, belittle others when we’re not looking so good, and rationalize all of the wrong things we crave.
In her book Lies Women Believe, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth writes:
"For many of us there is a disconnect between what we know intellectually and what we feel emotionally. And therein lies one of our problems: we trust what our feelings tell us is true rather than what God’s Word declares to be true.”
Mrs. Wolgemuth strikes right at the heart of the issue with her words. In every life situation we must choose whether to believe what our feelings tell us is true or what God’s Word tells us is true. The weapon we have to fight the evil both in the outside world and in the comfortable confines of our own hearts is God’s Truth.
So, the next time you hear a voice in your head telling you that God loves your friend more than He loves you because she is abounding in blessings and you are struggling through trials, tell yourself, “Self, that is a lie. I know that is a lie because God tells me in Romans 8 that trials cannot separate me from the love of God.”
The next time you hear a voice in your head telling you that this temptation will only lead to a small sin that really doesn’t matter, tell yourself, “Sweetheart, I love you, but you know that’s just not true. The Bible tells me that Christ died for every sin—big and small—and that He hates sin.”
As Mrs. Wolgemuth put it,
"Once we identify the lies that have put us in spiritual bondage and repent of believing those lies, we have an effective weapon to overcome deception—the weapon of Truth!"
When you hear your heart prattling on about things that aren’t true, stop and contradict yourself with the Truths of Scripture. Yes, out loud if you have to! Everyone else will either think you’re crazy or brilliant. Either option makes your life more interesting.
Your attitude and actions will either follow the deception of your heart as it seeks momentary pleasure or the Truth of God that leads to ultimate freedom. Choose to believe God.
So, let’s start talking Truth to ourselves!
Counter the lies that keep you from abundant living
What lies do you find yourself telling yourself most often?
5/15/2020 02:52:25 pm
I have read that book and found it so pertinent to me. Thanks for reminding me of it.
5/15/2020 05:28:19 pm
I am reading through the book for the first time right now, and am finding it so practical to my life. Definitely a great read.
This is the reminder I needed this week. I've been more aware of how unkind my thoughts can be and yikes, it's been a lot to take in. Some mornings I start my day with a mental laundry list of tasks and silently complain or worry. Luke 12:22-31 has been very helpful in this area, and I'm going to look more into your book recommendation.
5/15/2020 05:33:07 pm
Thanks for reminding me of those verses, Ariona! It is so easy to fall into worry and complain about hardships, but God really is taking care of us. I would definitely recommend reading "Lies Women Believe." I'm reading through it right now, and it is helping remind me of truth's that apply to my day-to-day life.
5/16/2020 02:32:17 pm
Thanks for reminding me of those verses, Ariona! God will take care of His people. That is an amazing truth to combat the lies that cause worry and discontent. I definitely recommend reading "Lies Women Believe." Such a practical help!
5/18/2020 10:13:03 am
This is such an important reminder for me. Our private thoughts matter, because out of our hearts everything flows.
5/18/2020 11:35:39 am
Couldn’t have said it better, Ashley! And that’s why its so important to guard our hearts.
5/19/2020 11:19:07 am
Cami, this is such a pertinent post. We truly do need to watch what we tell ourselves. God used Philippians 4:8 to help me bring my thoughts before Him. He's used that verse to help me filter my thoughts (and my heart) so that my thoughts and self-talk are more aligned with His truths and not the "truths" that try to derail me.
5/19/2020 12:27:51 pm
That is one of my favorite verses, Jeanne. It immediately puts your thoughts in perspective when you stop to ask yourself, "Is this really true? Is it lovely?" Thanks for sharing!
5/19/2020 04:09:31 pm
Lies Women Believe was such a powerful book! I read it a few years back, then read it again, and I need to pick it back up once again to see which lies I'm believing in this season of life. Thanks for sharing your own powerful truths here, Cami. Good stuff! God's truths are always big enough to defeat our lies, if we'll believe them.
5/19/2020 08:39:25 pm
Lisa, I am currently a little over half-way through Lies Women Believe, and it has already had a great impact on my life and way of thinking. I have a feeling that it is a book I will need to re-read several times throughout my life. Such a great read. God's Truth is always there, always right, and always big enough!
6/1/2020 04:45:26 pm
The person we listen to the most is ourselves. This caught me at first, but yes, it is so true. Let's be sure we are telling ourselves the truth. Excellent post. Making me think about what I tell myself.
6/1/2020 06:04:54 pm
Theresa, this was definitely a self-realization post for me, and I have been trying these past few weeks to catch myself when I’m rationalizing my own thoughts and behavior that lead to so many pitfalls in my life. Regardless of what I’m wanting in any particular moment, choosing to act on Truth always brings joy.
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