Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Yes to God Tuesday - Chapter One: Not So Well with My Soul...

Week one of the new Yes to God Tuesday study has started, which is hosted by Lelia at Write from the Heart. The book for this study is “Self Talk, Soul Talk” by Jennifer Rothschild, and I’m one chapter in and I’m impressed by the book already. The truth be known, she had me at the Foreword by Robyn McGraw, who described what an inspiration that Jennifer is! And believe me, after one chapter in, you will agree!

Chapter one is titled “Not So Well with My Soul”, with the opening line being “It is well with my soul.” Jennifer points out after this that while we may think that all “is well with my soul”, in fact it’s most probably not! The worst thing being; we don’t even realise it! The amount of negative self talk that we manage to bombard ourselves with every day without even knowing it is enough to give me a headache just thinking about it. As I already know from my own experience, WE are our own worst enemy. We undertake “personal attacks” on ourselves with it being “me against me”, as Jennifer most simply points out.

Jennifer quotes John Milton, who “wisely observed” that “the mind is its own place, and in itself, can make Heaven of Hell, and a Hell of Heaven.” What truer words can be spoken about the mind? None, I’m sure of it. We must be mindful of what we are saying to ourselves. We must be on guard at all times, as the enemy is laying in wait for us to say that one thing that will then lead into a full blown negative conversation with ourselves, and we can go from feeling blissfully happy to terribly depressed in about a minute flat...if that!

To combat this, Jennifer writes that “knowing what to say to your soul is one of the most reliable ways to make sure it remains well.” Under the heading of “My Thought Closet”, Jennifer lists examples of box labels that she has stored away in her thought closer over the years. One of them hit me like a brick today while reading, and it was “you should have done a better job”. This instantly made me think that “I should have known better”, to which my thoughts replied, “But I didn’t know any better at the time but I do now.” That is an example of how we need to train ourselves to know what to say to our soul when the negative thoughts creep in. I’m not saying that I’ve got the whole thing down pat, but through the help of some friends, and a good dose of “Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyer, I have managed to get this far!

I have struggled with “I should have known better” for quite some time now. From a failed marriage to being in a relationship with my daughter’s father knowing full well that it was going nowhere at all to now raising a child as a solo mum. Yes, I SHOULD have known better, but punishing myself now for not knowing better then is not going to change a thing. All it will do is cause me to think more negative self talk, which is damaging to my soul.

Next Jennifer moves onto talking about soul talk and she writes how her “faith has led me to the Bible to find what to say to my soul.” This is where we can find the truths we need to hear in our soul. This is where we can learn to re-educate our battered thoughts, and fill our “closet with some more appealing, better-fitting self talk!” Jennifer writes 3 very important words after referring to the Bible, and they are - "SPEAKING...THE...TRUTHS". We need to say them out loud! Not only will these truths manifest into a more positive way of thinking, but at the same time they will serve as an open opposition to the enemy who is working so hard at making us think negative thoughts.

Jennifer gives many examples of short, sharp verses we can use in such situations, and here are a few -

“Awake, my soul!” – Psalm 57:8
“O my soul...forget not all his benefits.” – Psalm 103:2
“March on, O my soul; be strong” – Judges 5:21

Arming ourselves with the powerful Word of God, in addition to re-training our thoughts, which will then lead to more productive self talk, and soul talk as Jennifer refers to it as, is the answer. We have the resources at our fingertips, so now it’s time to use them.

I love how Jennifer writes that “we have the appalling ability to remember all the wrong things at all the wrong times.” That is SO very true of us mere mortals. It’s such a human, and worldly, way of thinking. We have been trained since birth to more or less always think of the negative before the positive, whereas this is not the way God intended it to be. You don’t read about Jesus always thinking the worst of any given situation in the Bible, do you? No, you don’t, and neither should we. He is our example, so let’s take on board his talk and get some good happening in our minds.

“For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” Proverbs 23:7 (NASB)

Jennifer writes that, “because your thoughts strongly influence you, you must learn to govern them with some truthful soul talk.” Therein is the answer to overcoming negative and damaging self and soul talk. We must be on guard, and we must pray for God to always guide us and protect us in this area, but we must take the first step and govern our thoughts. Only we can do that.

“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” – Roman 12:2


  1. Paula,

    I love your new green look! Very refreshing!

    Are you ready to go into training? I think that is what this study will do for me. I go through stages where I handle my self-talk really well, and other times when I can't seem to control those self-defeating thoughts.

    I'm looking forward to digging into this one and giving my closet a makeover!

    I love how open you are in sharing. You inspire me, friend.


  2. Great thoughts shared with us. I agree with all you said. When you mentioned how we are our own worse enemy, I can so resonate with that. I think sometimes we can interpret what someone else says or does as a reflection of us. Someone may say something harsh to indicate we failed, we messed up, we did something bad, etc. When in reality that person is going through their own stuff and we just happen to be in the path of aiming. So many times, I interpret someone's words or actions to mean I did something wrong, I should've known better, I should've did a better job. In reality, I shouldn't soak in their fire that was only incidentally aimed at me but not intended for me.

    I think I'm better than I was because I'm coming to know and believe who God has created me to be and that I have skills and gifts and for me not to beat myself up so much for things that "just happen".

    Glad to share this journey with you, sweet one.
    Love ya,

  3. Oh, Paula, this was fantastic, and I'm now even more excited about getting the book! I'm so glad to be back in blogland. I'll be doing the study 'silently', but doing it none-the-less... Thanks for your comments, and I think you're great for turning off a majority of appliances before a storm. My Husband is as anti doing that as I am pro, but I don't do it now, as it's not worth the banter!!! And, so if anything blows up ( I like to be dramatic now and then;)!!!), it's all down to him!!! Are you enjoying the drop in humidity like me - praise the Lord for breaks from the swelter... Have a wonderful day, wherever you are in this beautiful State of ours...

  4. Paula,
    Thank you for writing so beautifully what I think. I am so excited about this new study and getting to know everybody.
    Looking forward to hearing your insights as we journey along together.

  5. Hi Paula! I think I really needed to be reminded that I am my worst enemy. I so often point my finger at Satan, but I forget that I am the one speaking those damaging words to myself in the first place. I'm excited to continue on this journey learning how to change my self-talk!

  6. Hi Paula, great extenstion of the chapter. Yes we are our own worse enemy, nothing like giving Satan material to work with. I like how you said we need to stop beating ourselves up for the you should have known betters, and that we have to retrain the way we think and talk to ourselvs.

    So good to be back in the blog land. Hugs to you and Jasmine.

    x0 Carol