Friday, April 4, 2008

Speaking Loudly and Truthfully to..Ourselves

I'm not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination. Over the course of my limited life, I've worked shifts starting at 4am and had classes beginning at 7am. A running gag in my family is that I should not be allowed to speak until 11am due to my mumbling and inability to make any coherent sense. I've many different methods of trying to get out of bed and stay awake for the remainder of the day, but I have only found one method that wakes me up from slumber. I have started to get into the habit of praying out-loud on my morning commute to school. I am not advocating this practice to everyone but for some, it might work. Please understand I don't see this as a way of earning more brownie points with our Heavenly Father, Jesus gave me all the brownie points I'll ever need/want/have on this earth. However, this practice of speaking truth to ourselves is something that I think we all can benefit from.

Without going completely theological or analytical, I think that the words that we speak influence our actions in a stronger way than most of the situmli that surrounds us. The following hypothetical situations are situations that I think illustrate the point. If someone tells us that a certain shirt looks good on us, we will wear it again. If we're told to avoid watching a certain movie, we decide on watching something else. If as children, we are told to look both ways before crossing the street, we do so. All these situations come from the mouths of other people whom we love and respect. However there is one voice that we listen to more than any other. We all have this voice and ultimately this voice trumps the other voices that go into inside our mind. I'm talking about our own voice. We as human beings are endowed with this voice from our birth to until our death. This is the voice that tells us to take an extra cookie from the cookie jar, it tells us to speed up at the light, it tells us that an extra ten minutes of reading blogs won't hurt us, or it tells us (or me in particular) to hit the snooze button again.

Since we have a strong voice inside of us, but an even greater God who transcends all time and space, why not seize this little creature by the throat and use it for the glory of our God? I know that this might not seem like a radical idea but I think that speaking truth to ourselves can be one of the biggest ways God brings us closer to His side. One of my biggest heroes of the faith was a man by the name of Martin Lloyd Jones and the following quote has brought encouragement to me in many different seasons of life. It is my hope that it does the same to you today:

"The main trouble in this whole matter of spiritual depression in a sense is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self. Am I just trying to be deliberately paradoxical? Far from it. This is the very essence of wisdom in this matter. Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problem of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man's treatment [in Psalm 42] was this; instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself, 'Why art thou cast down, O my soul?' he asks. His soul had been repressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says: 'Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you'. Do you know what I mean? If you do not, you have but little experience.

The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: 'Why art thou cast down'--what business have you to be disquieted? You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: 'Hope thou in God'--instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do. Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: 'I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God'. --- From Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cures, pp. 20-21


Eutychus said...

Your refernce Spiritual Depression by Lloyd-Jones is the best souce of everyday direction I have ever read. Your insight is great. I treasure the 42 Psalm

Brian Ring said...

"Take every thought captive..."

"What you know trumps what you feel."

Some thoughts while reading your post. Very good. I was encouraged.