Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Yes to God Tuesday: Chapter Three - Choosing Wise Words...

Welcome to week 3 of the Yes to God Tuesday study (hosted by Lelia at Write From the Heart) of Jennifer Rothschild's book "Self Talk, Soul Talk". I am blessed to be a part of this study and am learning so much even with only being 3 weeks in.

Jennifer explores faulty assumptions in this chapter, and I can relate ever so much with the detrimental effect that faulty assumptions can have on one's life. I heard a saying once, that if you assume, you then just make an ass of you and me. The main dictionary meanings of the word "ass" is "a long-eared, slow, patient, sure-footed domesticated mammal, Equus asinus, related to the horse, used chiefly as a beast of burden", with the next coming up as "a stupid, foolish, or stubborn person." So, basically the latter is what we are if we make assumptions. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but I don't like to think of myself as a stupid, foolish or stubborn person, so this is where this chapter comes in handy in teaching me how to change all that.

I, like Jennifer, have "operated under faulty assumptions based on wrong thinking" throughout my life and "in other, far more consequential areas." I am, after all, only human. But isn't it wonderful to think that in my meek human form I am able to connect with the source of all wisdom and change my way of thinking!

Jennifer cites examples of interactions between herself and her husband, and how her reactions to things that he does are somewhat misguided based on her faulty assumptions. She, like most of us, assumed the wrong thing. She thought "that it was all about me". Haven't we all done that? I know I have! In answer to her question, "Does that sound like a faulty assumption to you?" Yes, it does sound like a faulty assumption to me. But Jennifer is not alone in this; we have all fallen fowl in the faulty assumption fiasco, especially in our relationship with our significant other! "We often aren't even aware of such ideas until we exercise a little self-examination. Our thoughts and our actions flow from our assumptions." Amen to that!

We are schooled in the next section titled, "Root and Fruit". Jennifer explains it ever so simply in that "our assumptions are the root, and our thoughts are the fruit." I assume that I am not a good mother and I am making mistakes in raising my daughter. This then causes me to think that I just can't do the whole mothering thing anymore, that I am doing it wrong; that Jasmine will grow up thinking and acting wrong. The truth of the matter is that I AM a good mother and that I AM making mistakes, but in all fairness to myself I must be realistic and remember that she is 4 years of age, going on 5, and that I, like every mother around the world, will make mistakes as I am NOT perfect.

Jennifer repeats the following sentence a couple of times, which is: "The faulty assumption is the root; the wrong thinking is the fruit." Wrong thinking then leads to self talk, which then leads to how I act every single day. Faulty assumptions = wrong thinking = damaging self talk = wrong acts. "Feelings and thoughts are fruits. Assumptions are roots." We need to tackle the roots, provide some positive and helpful fertiliser to produce better fruit and get our thoughts in line with what the truth actually is...that we are not what we think and say we are! We need to call it what it is, so we can "see it for what it is." We all need to check the root every time we taste bad fruit. Jennifer writes that we need to “learn to choose your own fruit more wisely...You are too valuable and life is too important to risk living according to faulty assumptions.” This is SO very true! And how do we do that? Hold on, here comes the simple, yet amazing, WOW! Factor...

“To paraphrase King Solomon, may each of us trust in the Lord with ALL our hearts and lean NOT on our own understanding.” We need to seek out His wisdom, and not rely on our thoughts.

Jennifer calls them the “Ways to Wisdom” with the first step to ask Him for wisdom. Go to the Source and ask Him, pure and simple. He knows what we need already, but He also wants to know that we recognise and acknowledge those needs. James 1:5 tells us to ask God, who will give generously, with no fault, and we will receive. “This isn’t meant to be weirdly spiritual or complicated. It really is as simple as asking for wisdom and trusting that you will receive.”

The next way to wisdom is to revere God; “to show deference and respect.” Much like a child should show a parent, or as Jennifer writes, “as if we were approaching a king who invited us into his royal chamber.” We need to “esteem His truth more highly than we esteem our perceptions of truth.” He knows ALL things. We make crazy assumptions but He knows the truth. We need to appreciate that and ask Him for wisdom to discern and understand. Jennifer writes that we will never find true wisdom until we revere God the most in our life. We need to (and I have to say I love this!) “...acknowledge that He is the standard of truth.” Jennifer suggests that we “take a moment to reconcile those thoughts with your own.” Do it...think it through...

He is...”the standard of truth.”

The next step is to receive counsel. “When we walk with wisdom, it will wear off on us.” Iron sharpens iron, as the good book says. This is so true. My wise counsel in life is my sweetie. He is a very wise and knowledgeable man, and a man of God. He is my covering. His wisdom and discernment have worn off on me and I now make better judgement calls in my life than I have ever done before. We all need wise counsel. Jennifer tells us about a chat she had with Patsy Clairmont while waiting to speak at a Women of Faith Conference. What followed was great advice. Patsy admitted how she does talk to herself (like a cheerleader!) and that it wasn’t always good. Jennifer then asked Patsy when it was that she figured out she was “being overly critical and telling yourself untruths?” Patsy replied that is was when she realised that what others were saying about her was in conflict with what she was saying to herself and that one of them had to be wrong. That, my friends, is a good point to remember. We need to be kinder to ourselves basically. Would we say to others what we say to ourselves? Patsy then shared how she follows a “three-step approach: Refuse things that are inaccurate, unkind, or unedifying; replace them with what is good, pure and just; and then repeat that process for as long as it takes to bring my thoughts under control.” Patsy benefited from the wise counsel of others, and so can we. Listen, learn and recognise, and, as Jennifer tells us, remember “that others struggle the same way we do.”

We need to seek out and latch onto wisdom. Read through Proverbs, which I do one chapter a day, month after month from different bible versions, tap into the guidance that the gospels provide, ask God, purely and simply, for wisdom, revere Him as our Almighty and the One that knows ALL, and seek wise counsel from others. Most importantly we need to choose wise words. Don’t speak to ourselves like we would not speak to others. Jennifer closes the chapter by giving us some good, sound advice –

“Be patient with yourself. Roots are strong, but with wisdom, you are stronger. Applying the strength of truth to your faulty assumptions will help choke the life out of your bitter and sour fruit. And that, my friend, is a very good thing.”


  1. Hi, Paula! I, like you, am learning a lot through Jennifer's words. I think it is making the effort that makes a difference. All of these things I think I knew, but felt helpless to really change, or failed to see the harm in this faulty thinking. I love the scriptures Jennifer cites on gaining wisdom. Have spent a great deal of time reading through them this morning.

    Seeking wisdom...


  2. I didn't mention it in my post but I did like how Jennifer related to her husband in her thoughts. I can so relate to that. I did that all the time with my beloved husband. I had those thoughts and never realized it was from faulty assumptions. But when he did lazy things or left things around or walked too slow or whatever I took it personally and thought it was a reflection of him not caring. In reality, it was just him...doing whatever and most likely with not motivation, rhyme or just happened.

    Every time I read the word assume or study assumptions, I always think of that phrase you mentioned...what it makes out of "u" and me". That's wild that you mentioned it.

    Miss hearing from you. Visit me, email me.
    Love ya,

  3. "Ass: a stupid, foolish or stubborn person."

    I love it! No one likes to think of themselves as an ass, but the truth is I can go with stupid, foolish or stubborn on any given occasion. Thank God we serve the One who is never content to leave us as He finds us! We are works in progress; thanks for your transparency. It encourages me to be the same.

  4. Hi Paula,

    Oh, I have made some of those 'assumptions' in my life especially about my parenting skills. As my children grew and made mistakes of their own I blamed myself for not being a 'perfect' mom. Only recently God has helped me to change my 'thoughts' and realize that, just like myself, my children each make their own choices and ultimately live with the consequences.

    Thank you for your insight on this chapter.
    Blessings, Cindy