Archive for the ‘Talking To Myself…’ Category

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There are lots of voices in my ear with many words attempting to convince my mind to go this way or that. But God… with patience, will reveal the right path that i am to take as i enter into His presence. It will become absolutely clear!

It’s said that if i want to lead an orchestra i’ll have to turn my back on the crowd. If i want to orchestrate heavens symphony i must be willing to turn my back on the earth. Sometimes God allows me, His disciple, to separate from the crowds. It is a place where i go into my own wilderness so i can find Gods voice. This in spite of the fact that i may be standing in the middle of crowd of people.

It takes courage to believe in my own music, the symphony i hear, and to be faithful to write it out accurately so that others can hear it.

When i am true to the one thing that i alone was created to do, i am able to reach into an inner strength, a “knowing in my gut” that i am doing the right thing, even when nobody in my circle understands.

Here’s what i know… –i am DESIGNED for PURPOSE and DRIVEN by PASSION.

Designed: made or done intentionally; intended; planned.

Purpose: the reason for which something exists or is done, made,

Driven: to send, expel, or otherwise cause to move by force or compulsion.

Passion: any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling,

If i’m driven by purpose without passion my work will be mediocre and never the best. If i’m driven by passion without purpose, i’m a person whose life is devoted to the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification. If driven by both, i am a creative force in God’s creation which is waiting to cooperate with me.

Steve Jobs lamented that in most people’s vocabularies “design” means veneer. “It’s a word used for interior decorating”…the fabric of the curtains and the sofa. “But to me,” Jobs said, “nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.”  He said, “To design something you really have to get it! Be passionately committed to thoroughly understand something. The design of the Mac was not in how it looked…it was how it worked.”

i have at times, been guilty of paying way more attention to how i looked instead of how i worked, more specifically how i responded to God, His word and His call. A hospital delivery room is ugly – but the baby is beautiful.

i am officially turning my back on the unresolved issues of my past. The music i am about to conduct will change everything in my future.

Cristina Marrero “Normal is over rated, and so is spelling.You want perfection? Go out and buy a spell check, but know this: Spellcheck won’t keep you warm at night or love you unconditionally. I will stick to being abnormal and a bad speller. Makes life more interesting. After all, what fun is there in being normal or perfect?”

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Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

So i figured that it would be a good idea to use the three tools i suggested in yesterday’s post and then share today how that worked for me. Well i’ll let you be the judge.

The first thing i found out in being aware was that it made no difference whether i was sitting, standing or laying down. There was also no noticeable effect determined by whether i was walking, pacing, running or motionless. There was no noticeable variation between morning, afternoon, evening or night. Regardless of any of the above my mind was fully capable of engaging on a number of subjects.

As for goals, well let me share a few of them. First i wrote a thank you letter to someone who has blessed me for the past year as they provided thousands of dollars in labor and material for my dental work, something i’d been trying to do the entire time. i called about seven people just to see how they were doing and what God was doing in their lives. i emailed out scripture verses to a couple dozen people who i’d gotten for them while i was praying for them. i repaired the leak under our kitchen sink. i tore out the bathroom tile in our guest bathroom and removed the sink cabinet, mirror and lighting. i did not get to replace it, yet. i planned the entire catering menu for Onething Campus for the next 30 days. i laid out a complete financial plan and guidelines to accomplish what i wanted for the next 90 days. i arranged for Ann Marie and i to take a trip to Key West for a week. i determined a schedule of how to replace the carpet and tile in our home and replace it with wood flooring. Some heavy pieces of furniture to maneuver so timing is crucial. i found a new position of employment and spent some time planning the best way to begin that. i found someone to trade my sprint iphone 4s for one that i could use on my tmobile service and was able to give it to my grandson for his 13th birthday tomorrow. Then there were probably six to twelve other things that i disregarded.

So, sounds pretty productive right? Impressive as well, right? NOT! You see, all of that was talking to myself, self talk, mind chatter, whatever i want to call it. They say the poof is in the pudding so we’ll just see how many of my goals become reality today as my awareness is on high alert. Yesterday i shared about over-thinking things to the point of not actually getting anything done and here i am as the proof in my pudding.

In closing let me share the thoughts of some well-known men.

Abraham Lincoln – “When I am getting ready to reason with a man, I spend one-third of my time thinking about myself and what I am going to say and two-thirds about him and what he is going to say.”

George Carlin – I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older; then it dawned on me – they’re cramming for their final exam.
Winston Churchill – Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.
Lastly, C. S. Lewis – Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.

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“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.”  Terry Pratchett

It’s a golden rule to think before you speak, but i can run into trouble when i think so much that i fail to act, or think myself into a state of uncontrollable anxiety.

What is stopping me from getting the results i want? i’m coming to believe that one of the reasons is a self-imposed roadblock. It’s identity is thinking too much.

For many this may be one the problem that draws people to books and websites on self-help and one of the things that keeps them from achieving what they want even after they have gained a lot of helpful advice.

After having read a few books, i think… and then plan… and then i think a little more. Often i get lost in my thinking. Being an over-thinker and getting my hands on personal development information becomes just another way for me to creatively procrastinate. But then i can call it making progress.

Stop… i’m not saying that educating myself or thinking is something bad. But overdoing it won’t help me either. Why not? Well for one thinking can’t take the place of action.

Wishing that if i just think enough i can find some easy way to get what i want without having to actually do something.

Without taking action it’s likely that I won’t get what i want. Thinking is seldom as scary or uncertain as taking the leap into the unknown and taking action.

The second problem with over-thinking is that it may over-complicate things.

Seriously, aren’t things complicated enough? But is it possible that it’s me who’s making them more so?

By over thinking things i make things more and more complicated… in your mind. In a short period of time i can turn something fairly simple into really complicated.

A problem here is that when what i’m doing is complicated i begin to think that it must be important. And so i feel important. i derive a sense of importance from making things into big struggles. Much of my struggle is in my head. There is some surprise and even relief to find out that I have been making my life more complicated than it needs to be.

Another pitfall of over thinking things is that I may not perform at my best.

If i over think things i may become nervous and start to second guess myself all the time. It also becomes harder to focus on doing something when i have a habit of thinking a lot. i may slip into future scenarios in my mind instead focusing on what i’m doing right now.

All of this can cripple my performance and produce results that are worse than they could have or should have been.

So how do I stop thinking so much or in fact get myself to shut up?

I’ll settle for a steady flow of progress so here are three things i’m going to use to cultivate the habit of not over thinking things.

Awareness…

The most important thing is to be aware that i tend to over think. And to keep being aware of that in my everyday life. A practical application for this may be the use of post-it notes that say “Don’t overthink things.”

Goals…

Instead of thinking about something for days, i tell myself that i have – for example – 30 minutes to think. Then i will make a decision.

The Now…

Focus on what’s in front of me instead of drifting off to the past or future for long periods of time. It would serve me better to stay in the present and let the right actions naturally arise.

In Closing… “Just because I liked something at one point in time doesn’t mean I’ll always like it, or that I have to go on liking it at all points in time as an unthinking act of loyalty to who I am as a person, based solely on who I was as a person. To be loyal to myself is to allow myself to grow and change, and challenge who I am and what I think. The only thing I am for sure is unsure, and this means I’m growing, and not stagnant or shrinking.”  Jarod Kintz

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Some might think that strongholds have nothing to do with my original subject of talking to myself, but they have everything to do with it. Much of the talking to myself is based on things that have become strongholds over the years. But, now that i’m trying to live life intentionally and based solely on truth, these strongholds are being exposed.

Geraldine Vermaak says, “The harder and deeper we can forgive the affliction caused upon us; by other people’s weaknesses; the more we move into our Christ-like identity; where all the power, strongholds, grip and enslaving bonds of the enemy over us is loosened.”

The enemies third weapon is the most dangerous. This particular weapon is virtually unknown to the average Christian. It is neither active nor passive, but dormant. It’s like an underwater mine, it gets planted and then left undetected, waiting for the ideal moment to be activated. Because it’s dormant, it’s easy for the enemy to conceal it from me. i usually don’t find out about it until i look back at the destruction it has caused.

This destructive weapon is called “strongholds” and it brings me back to 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. “For though i walk (live) in the flesh, I am not carrying on my warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of my warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds,”

Strongholds allow the enemy to control me and influence me do things that bring damage to myself and others. Strongholds expose severe inconsistencies between who i say i am and what i believe.

Revelation 12:9 further reveals the enemy. “And the huge dragon was cast down and out—that age-old serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, he who is the seducer (deceiver) of all humanity the world over;”

There’s a story i read of somebody who went around opening and shutting his hands in an obvious attempt to catch something that remained elusive. When someone asked what he was doing, he said, “I ‘m trying to catch a chiripitiflautico.” His questioner was perplexed. He had never heard of a chiripitiflautico before. So he asked, “What does it look like?” To this the prospective catcher replied, “I don’t know. I haven’t caught one yet!”

So what do strongholds look like?

James describes them as “double mind.” The consequence of a double mind is instability “in all his ways” (Jas. 1:8). This instability is what prevents me from dealing with those things i know that run contrary to God’s will. When i’m convicted about it, i bail out by using rationalizations and speculations to avoid acting on them. Something like, “i know what the Bible says, but there is a definite difference of opinion among scholars about what this passage really means. After all, we are removed by almost 2,000 years from the original writers.” Or i may make my way through  a list of counselors, hoping to have my rationalizations validated by one of them.

i go to church, hear the Word and honestly believe it. i share the word and declare what the will of God is and support it with Bible references. However, later on, as i walk to my car, my mind leaves the word, truth and references and repositioning it self into the overwhelming problems which are ready to challenge me again. As i think about them, i begin to talk to myself, speculating how to deal with them, using my own resources, forgetting what i have just heard or declared. How can i honestly believe some thing one moment and something different the next? Because i have a double mind (see Jas. 1:8).

It is futile for me to attempt to live life intentionally without identifying and destroying the strongholds in my mind.

In closing, “If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or fault-finding, and it will be given him. Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind. For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord, [For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides].

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It seems as though i have hit upon a topic of interest regarding “talking to myself” and where that can lead to. Yesterday i shared about an obsticale to renewing my mind called strongholds.

Is it possible for me to be blind and not know it? To be miserably poor and believe otherwise? To think in all honesty that i am dressed and to walk around naked? Yes, it is entirely possible. It happens every day. Where? In the lives of believers and in the church. In fact, the problem is so serious that the Jesus Himself sent a letter to a particular church, confronting it.

The letter is recorded in Revelation 3:14-22, “Write to Laodicea, to the Angel of the church. God’s Yes, the Faithful and Accurate Witness, the First of God’s creation, says: “I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless. “Here’s what I want you to do: Buy your gold from me, gold that’s been through the refiner’s fire. Then you’ll be rich. Buy your clothes from me, clothes designed in Heaven. You’ve gone around half-naked long enough. And buy medicine for your eyes from me so you can see, really see. The people I love, I call to account—prod and correct and guide so that they’ll live at their best. Up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God! Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you. Conquerors will sit alongside me at the head table, just as I, having conquered, took the place of honor at the side of my Father. That’s my gift to the conquerors! Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.”

The situation was so serious that Jesus told them, “You think you have gathered in My name, but I have been left out” (Rev. 3:20).

Revelation 12:11, holds the answer or the directions for me to be victorious over strongholds and the enemy. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” Three elements… the blood of the Lamb, my testimony and my willingness to die. Two of the three are variable while one is absolute and constant. The blood of the lamb is the constant because it represents the perfect sacrifice. But, my testimony and my willingness to die for Jesus, if necessary, is very much subject to change. This is where the enemy, the accuser, targets his attack.

The enemy has three main weapons. The big one and most obvious is sin. In Matthew 4:3 Satan is exposed as the tempter. “And the tempter came and said to Him, If You are God’s Son, command these stones to be made [loaves of] bread.” The enemy has an expertise with which he uses this particular weapon. Sin is an active weapon. It’s like a heat seeking, guided missile, it finds me. When it hits me, i know it immediately. Romans 6:23 “For the wages which sin pays is death…”

The second weapon is a passive one. Like a trap, it’s set for me to fall into. It is called “accusations.” In Revelation 12:10 the enemy is identified. “…for the accuser of our brethren, he who keeps bringing before our God charges against them day and night, has been cast out! Day and night, before the throne of God. That strikes me…, if he has the courage to do that before God, imagine what is he capable of doing to me. In spite of being forgiven, he reminds me of every sin i have committed, and then, for effect, he adds every other sin i could have committed. Hebrews 13:5 promises me that, “…He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb. 13:5, NIV), he uses the problems and challenges i face every day as a weapon to blind me to the absoluteness of that promise. “God has left you,” he screams in my ear.

For the most part i have been aware of these two weapons. Adequate Bible teaching helps me to deal with their effect and gives me some direction as to how I can defend against them. The fact that the consequences suffered by me are visible—death and spiritual paralysis—acts as a motivator for me to seek help.

In the next post and podcast i’ll share about the third and most dangerous weapon of the enemy.

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There have been a few times in my life when someone accused me of something that was not true? There have also been times when i have accused myself of something that was not true?

Regardless, whether from myself or someone else, any false accusation made against me can turn into a stronghold in my mind that will spiritually hinder me.

strongholdWhat exactly is a stronghold? “A stronghold is a mind-set impregnated with hopelessness that causes the believer to accept as unchangeable something that he/she knows is contrary to the will of God.”

Truth be told, i am susceptible to false accusations that control our minds. Yes, i am susceptible to strongholds.

There are recurring thought patterns, if left unchecked, will become the dominating thoughts and guidelines of my mind. i have found over the years that often i run so hard away from something that i actually run right into it and the danger is that i may become what the accusation says i am.

So let me get back to the word and the original direction of this series of posts and podcasts.

For the weapons of my warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. i destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

A woman named Donna was someone bound by fear. Some called it insecurity. He insecurities caused her mind to be preoccupied by the thoughts that raced through her head.

The controlling ideas and actions of her youth became a stronghold that could not be broken. Even though she knew God’s opinion of her and that it should be the dominating thoughts of her mind, it was not.

She had learned early in life that performing for others was the way to be accepted. Her father taught her this by his passive parenting model and in the brief moments when he did say something, it was generally discouraging.

This helped to shape her as a people-pleaser. She was motivated to not disappoint others. She became all things to all people with the hope of being accepted.

In time, she became what others expected her to be. Though her early years with Christ were filled with fulfillment, eventually the old thought patterns came back. The stronghold was never broken.

According to the word Donna never learned how to take every thought captive. She learned how to be saved, which she was, but she never learned how to grow into a new creation. Her life, was corrupt through her deceptive desires to be liked, which still had control of her mind.

Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds. (Ephesians 4:22-23)

You might say she was an unbelieving believer–a Christian who still lives according to an un-Christian quality of life. Ephesians 4:24 says, i am “to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Donna was experiencing warfare in her mind. According to Paul, this was more than just a person being attacked by the negativity of another person. That was true, but it was so much more than that. i live in a spiritual world where there are real demonic forces who are out to destroy the knowledge of Christ that resides in me.

The evil spiritual world cannot totally destroy me because Satan is not God’s evil equal. None the less there are demonic forces who would enjoy nothing more than to distract me from making God’s name known.

It is so important for me to know and understand where the battle comes from before i go to war. 2 Corinthians 10:3 spells it out for me. “For though i walk in the flesh, i am not waging war according to the flesh.

Getting free…

First, i recognize and believe that there is a relentless spiritual battle happening in this world and i’m an active part of it?

Secondly, i am aware that there are weapons to fight these spiritual battles—weapons that are divinely empowered? i further believe that these weapons are specifically created with the power to destroy the strongholds in my mind?

Thirdly, i do not believe that there is something wrong with me. Also I know that just speaking about my faith and living as a new creation in Christ are nice theological words but without action and experience have no effect on everyday life. Rather than getting wrapped up in my fleshly thoughts, I need to know how to live in the freedom and good of God’s Word.

In closing… Elisabeth Elliot says, “Where does your security lie? Is God your refuge, your hiding place, your stronghold, your shepherd, your counselor, your friend, your redeemer, your saviour, your guide? If He is, you don’t need to search any further for security.”

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“Like food is to the body, self-talk is to the mind. Don’t let any junk thoughts repeat in your head.” ― Maddy Malhotra

Though i live in a noisy world, i sometimes struggle with too much silence. it may be that i’m home alone, at the Onething Campus alone or around people who are involved and focused on their own thing.

So what do i do…? Why fill the silence of course? Television is usually just a click away, but if not i can get sound from my computer, ipad or mobile phone. But what happens if i’m really wanting a live person to talk to? Someone to bounce new ideas or thoughts off of? Someone to appreciate me?

It could be that when i’m feeling lonely, i’m neglecting to give or get enough attention from a special person. One who is always there with me. Who’s that? Why, me, of course. So, i talk to myself. Now, before someone gets rambunctious and says, “” can talk to God or i can pray, let me say that for me, i put those two things in a higher category than these general discussions i have with myself.

So talk to myself? Doesn’t that mean i’m becoming goofy or unbalanced? Losing it? Ready for the funny farm?

Not at all says PH.D Linda Sapadin

She says that talking with myself not only relieves the loneliness, it may also make me smarter. It can help me clarify my thoughts, focus on what’s important and firm up any decisions i’m contemplating. There’s just one catch: i become smarter only if i speak wisely and respectfully to myself.

There are people,  sane, nice, good people, who are not so nice or good to themselves. Their self-talk is a testament to everything they have done wrong. “You idiot!” is their hallmark headline, followed with a complete dressing down. “You should have done it this way; you should have been aware of that; you should have thought of it sooner.” That kind of self-talk is worse than no talk at all. So if my style or yours is like that, cut it out, STOP IT! Right now.

i can begin talking to myself like i’m my own best friend. Which i am! Here are s a few more tips about how i should talk to myself and become wiser in the process.

  1. Compliment myself. i don’t need to wait to get compliments from others? If i deserve them, i can give them to myself. Besides, most people aren’t going to have the foggiest notion about the little actions i take that serve me well. Like the time i was tempted but decided to bypass the ice cream shop because i honored my commitment to myself to lose five pounds. That deserves a compliment such as, “I’m proud of me”? Or what about the time i finally accomplished a bunch of things that i’ve been meaning to do — again doesn’t that deserve a “good job!”?
  2. Motivate myself. i may not feel like doing boring or difficult tasks. Do life with others and they’ll give you a swift kick in the pants as a reminder to clean up my mess or tend to this or that task. But, i can motivate myself to get going with a gentler but firm voice. “Hey, nice-guy (that’s you/me i’m talking to). You’ve got time this morning use it, do this or that; right now, how about it?” Or, “Hey, big guy, it’s time to take care of that drip in the sink before it becomes more serious.
  3. Personal dialogue. How about if i’m having trouble with making a decision? Should i stay or should i go? Should i buy or not buy? Speak up or stay silent? Buy this gift or that gift? Choices aren’t easy. Often, because they’re so difficult, i often don’t really make a choice; i respond impulsively from habit or a desire to get it over with. It’s much more effective, however, to create a dialogue with myself so that i can hear what i actually think. “i want to stay because of —- but i want to go because of —-. i should buy because —— or i should wait because ——- Regardless, i need to figure out which decision to make. It’s time to have an intentional and focused dialogue with myself and see not which way the wind is blowing but what’s the wise thing for me to do.” Having such a dialogue can help me balance my wants, with what are my actual needs.
  4. Goal-setting. Let’s say i’m trying to be better organized. Setting a goal and making a plan (what to do, when to do it, how to do it) can be a big help. Yes, i can just make a list, but saying it out loud can help focus my attention, reinforce the message, and assist with controlling my often runaway emotions. Top athletes do this all the time by telling themselves to “keep your head down. Keep your eye on the ball. Breathe.” It works well for them, why not for me?

In closing… “The most influential and frequent voice you hear is your inner-voice. It can work in your favor or against you, depending on what you listen to and act upon.” ― Maddy Malhotra

So let me share my hope from James 3:2 says, “For we all often stumble and fall and offend in many things. And if anyone does not offend in speech [never says the wrong things], he is a fully developed character and a perfect man, able to control his whole body and to curb his entire nature.”

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Henning Mankell says, “In Africa, listening is a guiding principle. It’s a principle that’s been lost in the constant chatter of the Western world, where no one seems to have the time or even the desire to listen to anyone else.”

It’s been suggested that i turn off or at least take control of my mind chatter and be in the now. But that’s the problem if there is one, how do i do that? I’m conceding the why. Incessant mental noise and unnecessary focus on the past and future can be huge stressors, and they can keep me from being present in where I am and what i’m experiencing. So i miss out on the now, the right now.

To be in the now, i have to learn how to turn off my thinking. By thinking, i mean the thoughts that run through my head by themselves, with little or no direction on my part (thus mind chatter, as in that involuntary, mental monologue i hear and take part in).

The good news is that clearing mind chatter and being in the now are skills i can learn and get good at with practice. i believe that’s what the word is talking about when it says to renew my mind, that i am to take every thought captive to the word of God.

Step 1 is to, “MIND THE GAPS”. In between thoughts, there’s a small gap of “no-mind.” Much like a digital message board. In between each message, there’s a gap of empty space. In my mind, thoughts run in succession, interspersed by gaps of empty space.

Gaps… space that contains no thought, so when i enter into those gaps, i feel a sense of stillness and inner peace. These gaps may last only a few seconds, so my sense of stillness and inner peace lasts only a seconds. But over time, with practice, i become aware of the feeling, and i learn to extend the gaps, feeling more and more stillness and inner peace. These gaps are precious gems, to be guarded for sure and yet displayed for others to see. Not unlike Segula (Treasure)… what God called the Jewish nation in Exodus 19:5 and Deuteronomy 7:6. (There is a series of posts i did on this topic called Segula.)

Eckhart Tolle says that ” 80 to 90 percent of my thinking is not only repetitive and useless, but because of its dysfunctional and negative nature, much of it is often harmful and that it causes a serious leakage of my vital energy.

Step #2 is to “EXTEND THE GAPS”. With practice, i can get to where i can extend the gaps to longer periods of time. These two steps lets me be in the now, or present where I am and in what i’m experiencing now, unburdened by the past and the future.

Step #3 is to CREATE THE GAPS”. This actually goes back to Step #1 in that another way to mind the gap is by actively creating gaps (rather than waiting for them to occur). This is done by directing my focus into the now, drawing my thoughts away from mind activity, into a gap of intense awareness of the present moment. It may be useful for me to create a mental image of my thoughts running on a digital message board. As each thought comes in, i see my hand reaching in and pushing it to the side, so it disappears and all i can “see” is the gap.

Romans 12:1-2 tells me that the way i am “transformed,” the way i learn to live Christ’s Life, is by the renewing of my mind – putting off my own negative and corrupt thinking and putting on God’s thoughts.

i still use my thinking mind, but in a much more focused and effective way than before. When i use my mind, and particularly when a creative solution is needed, it will serve me better to oscillate every few minutes between thoughts and gaps, between mind and no-mind. No-mind being consciousness without thought. In that way it’s possible to think more creatively, because only in that way does thought have any real power.

Renewing my mind is not simply “changing” my thoughts, but  actually putting off the old, negative thoughts as well as putting  on God’s Thoughts.  In other words, i can’t just say to God, “Lord,  give me Your Thoughts,” and somehow expect Him to “automatically” give me His Mind. To renew means to exchange  one thing for another.  In other words, i put off and i put on, i exchange my thinking for God’s thinking, i take on His mind and i establish my thoughts in Him. The result is that my every step will be ordered by Him.

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Vincent van Gogh said, “If you hear a voice within you saying “you’re not a painter,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”

This voice in my head applauds me for my victories but gives me what for when i screw up? That’s what i mean when i say talking to myself.

Savielly Tartakower said, “I talk to myself because I like dealing with a better class of people.

There are times when i make myself feel terrible even when my situation isn’t that bad. i simply think in a negative, self-defeating way. It’s as though there is someone in my head that has something to say about my every situation.

Sometimes talking to myself can lead to errors in my thinking.

Error #1 – Thinking in absolutes –

Seeing everything as being good or bad. Either i’m great, or i’m a loser, so if i do something wrong I do everything wrong.

my challenge is to avoid thinking about things in absolutes or extremes. Most things in my life are not as simple as black and white, they’re a rainbow of colors. Just because something isn’t perfect doesn’t mean it’s a waste.

Error #2 – Thinking the grass is greener on the other side –

Making unrealistic comparisons between myself and other people as though they always have the what i don’t. The people who i think live on the greener side may have a specific advantage in some area, but i may have the advantage in another. Thinking that the grass is greener on the other side can leave me feeling inadequate.

my challenge is to recognize and appreciate my own qualities and remember everyone has their own problems.

Error #3 – The glass is half empty –

Spending more time focusing on the negative aspects of my situation, and dismissing the positive ones.

my challenge is to realize there are always positives and negatives to every situation. A battery doesn’t work if it only has a negative pole or just a positive pole.

Error #4 – Everything is personal –

This is a big one for me. Feeling responsible for everything that goes wrong around me, even when it’s not my fault or responsibility.

my challenge is to step back and remember i’m not to blame for things outside my control. Not all situations are about me.

Error #5 – Guessing –

Trying to figure out what other people are thinking and assuming about me.

my challenge is that i can’t know what others are thinking, so trying to figure it out by guessing is a waste of time. i have my hands full being responsible for my own thoughts.

Error #6 – One step forward, two steps back –

Feeling like things are always headed for disaster and imagining that potential consequences will be worse than they are.

my challenge is to ask myself what’s the worst thing that can happen and what am i so afraid of.

Error #7 – Not worthy –

Letting my mind exaggerate the number of mistakes and failures in my daily life. Thinking everyone around me is judging me and more importantly that i am a disappointment to God.

my challenge is to hold on to truth and stick to the facts. Things will go wrong, but that’s not a sign that i’m an all-around failure. i didn’t fail, i just found one way that didn’t work.

Error #8 – The name game –

Calling myself or other people names. Instead of focusing on things that have gone wrong, i brand myself or other people with negative labels like “stupid” or “ugly”.

my challenge is to not think in those terms. Using labels on myself can break down my self-esteem.

Error #9 – Stinking thinking –

The question is not if things will go wrong but, when will something go wrong. It’s almost guaranteed that sometimes things will go wrong. i might have a picture in my mind of the way i want something or someone to be, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

The problem with stinking thinking is that it increases my frustration, and does nothing toward solving the problem.

my challenge is to avoid getting upset in situations by learning to think flexibly. This means learning to prefer things to be a certain way, but accepting that this won’t always be the reality.

Let me close today with this thought. my inner speech, my thoughts, can cause me to be rich or poor, loved or unloved, happy or unhappy, attractive or unattractive, powerful or weak. It’s important to be aware of my words while talking to myself.

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Lisa M. Hayes said, “Be careful how you are talking to yourself because you are listening.”

Self awareness is something that i work on constantly yet, as i’m finding out recently, i miss things that seem trivial but are actually important. i have worked hard to not verbalize every thought that comes to my mind, yet done very little, no… actually nothing to be aware of the impact of the thoughts that i speak to myself. About 3 months ago i was intrigued by the words of Bill Johnson when he said that as a disciple of Christ i am not allowed to say anything about myself that God would not say. It was powerful, but now i’m finding an even deeper meaning to those words, my self-awareness regarding my conversations with myself is being stirred up.

The issue with talking to myself is that it is constant, it’s never-ending and thus i am not usually aware i’m doing it let alone what i saying. Now that i’m becoming aware of this i am also becoming aware of how it’s affected by my emotions and how it also affects how i feel about myself and life in general. See, my emotions are wired directly to my thoughts. Paul wrote in Romans, “The mind that is set on the flesh is death, but the mind that is set on the Spirit is life and peace.

Years ago i remember a book by Joyce Meyers called “Battle Field of the Mind.” It didn’t mean much to me then but today, well i am very much aware of the battle and the battlefield which currently is taking place in my mind. So what have i learned to help me win these battles? Notice i said “these battles” and not this battle. If it were only a single battle to be fought and won. i could deal with that, knowing that winning would put an end to it. But no, it’s a never-ending battle. It is life and thus until i am raptured and removed from the battle i will have to fight.

As i see it, my chance of winning or at least holding my ground is found in Ephesians 6:11-13 where it instructs me to “Put on the full armor of God so that i can take my stand against the devil’s schemes. For my struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” It says, ed, “put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground and after you have done everything, to stand.”

My mind can be my greatest enemy and again as i said, i have worked, no fought hard on controlling my tongue… but that’s not enough. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One),”

So what is one to do with this never-ending bombardment of thoughts and the ensuing self conversation regarding them. When i become aware that i am feeling negative or overwhelmed, i pause and pay attention to what i’m saying to myself at that moment.

Ask, am i building myself up in the truth of the word or tearing myself down with the circumstances of life? It’s truth that sets the captive free.

Ask, what am i believing about God, myself and others? Is God enough or not? Does God love me or not? Does God value me or not?

Ask, is what i’m talking to myself about serving my best interest? Is it bringing me peace or stirring up turmoil, doubt and fear?

Ask, how’s this conversation working for me? Am i winning the debate or losing?

Ask, how can i change my conversation to make it positive and encouraging ?

Most of my talking to myself is in regards to my circumstances, circumstances that i am not happy with, circumstances that i would rather just go away.

In closing, if i could just confine talking to myself to within the confines of these words of Napoleon Hill, “every adversity carries within it the seeds of an equivalent or greater benefit of success.”