Sometimes, when I’m alone with my thoughts, my thoughts can really beat me up. I’m talking about negative self-talk. The whisperings in my mind that are not encouraging, but leave me feeling yucky and worthless and hopeless.
And the reason they leave me feeling this way is because, at least in the moment, I’m believing them. I’m believing that I’m ugly, that I can’t make a difference, that I don’t belong, that nothing I do is good enough, that no one could really love me for the real me.
Self-talk is really our thoughts about ourselves. It’s what our mind is taking in and putting on replay to whisper to us over and over and over again. It’s the messages of the world that we’re choosing to believe about ourselves, letting them dwell in our minds and define who we are.
That’s why negative self-talk is so destructive. It becomes what we believe about ourselves.
Yet even though it’s so destructive, it can be so hard to stop the negative self-talk.
Standing in front of the mirror, a reflection of myself looking back. Long, light brown hair. Blue eyes. A full figure. A freckle on the end of my nose.
When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
So often, when we look in the mirror, we see flaws. Many flaws. Things about our bodies and looks that we wish were different; thinner, taller, softer, smaller.
Self-criticizing thoughts roll through the mind. And the criticism moves from external to internal, finding flaws not just in how we look, but in who we are.
We’re told to embrace our bodies. We’re told to love ourselves.
But it’s not easy.
Autumn has arrived, bringing with it crisp air, falling leafs, cozy sweaters, and pumpkin spice everything.
And I’m quiet happy about that. Fall has always been my favorite season.
Just as the year has seasons, so do our lives. Sometimes we feel like we’re in a Winter, with everything asleep, or in a Spring, full of growth and newness, or in a Summer, bright with adventure, or in a Fall, changing and letting go.
Yes, life has seasons. Some are wonderful and fun and exciting. Some are hard and heartbreaking. And when we’re in that hard season, it’s so easy to feel discouraged. It arrives, slowly or suddenly, and we’re not at all happy about that.
Rather, we’re feeling confused, frustrated, afraid, sorrowful, worried, even angry.
There’s a lot of hurt and heartache and scary stuff going on right now, all over the world. Some of it hitting distant places, reaching our eyes and ears only by way of media. Some of it hitting right in our own back yards, maybe even right in our own homes.
Our heart breaks and just when we begin to pick up the pieces, some other hard, scary, messy thing hits and shakes our world and shatters us all over again. We are living broken in a broken world.
Sometimes, I find myself standing at the bottom of a mountain, one that either needs to be climbed or moved.
But as I look up the height of the mountain, to the barely visible snow-capped peaks, as I take in its massive heaviness, it seems impossible. I can’t climb it, I can’t move it.
My faith just seems so small for me to step out in faith. Could I really live the impossible? Can I actually do all things through Christ? My faith seems too small for that. My fear seems too big.
Like the father of the boy who was possessed by an evil spirit, I cry out, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) Like the disciples, I pray, “Increase my faith!” (Luke 17:5)
Maybe you’re crying and praying as well. Maybe you feel like you don’t have enough faith, and that mountain seems unconquerably big.