Changing your life one sentence at a timeOct 09, 2019
“The person you spend the most time with is you, so be careful and intentional about how you speak to yourself.”
Tricia Lott Williford, You Can Do This
For six years of my childhood, I competed in something called Bible Quizzing. Though this is not the time and place for a step-by-step explanation, suffice it to say we memorized books of the Bible then competed on teams over the material. It sounds a little dry, but it was immense amounts of fun and led to some of my best memories and friendships. I competed once a month in my district, and had the honor every year of being in the top five individuals, which allowed me to compete at the international (US & Canada) finals each year.
During my tenure as a “quizzer,” I memorized thirteen books of the Bible. I competed in hundreds of “quizzes.” I answered hundreds of questions. I “quizzed out” (the best an individual can do in a quiz) many times. But my most vivid memory of quizzing isn’t of a victory or a trophy or even a high five with my team after answering a question. My most vivid memory is of my biggest failure.
It was the last question during a quiz at Internationals, and the score was close. A right answer would send our team—who had not lost a quiz during the three-day competition—directly to the finals, where the top three teams would compete for the championship. A wrong answer would leave us in second place, needing to compete in another round to secure a spot in the top three. You can probably figure out from context how it went. I still remember the question, my answer, the room, the spot I chose to kneel and think, where my coach sat, where my parents sat… you get the picture. And though my team went on to snag a spot in the finals and then win the entire tournament, my moment of failure is the clearest memory I have of that week.
I’m not sure why the bad things often seem to “stick” in ways that good things don’t, but I know I’m not alone in this. Our hard days and our failures take root in our minds—and hearts—and muffle the good. The negative messages we hear, from others and ourselves, get set on repeat. And if we’re not careful, we start to believe them.
An old coach who didn’t think I deserved a spot on the team hints that I will never be good enough. A falling out tells me that my friendship isn’t worth fighting for. Mistakes I made in college remind me God couldn’t possibly use me. A project that didn’t quite turn out as planned whispers that I am a failure. These voices, some of them decades old, continue to speak to my heart… unless I shut them up.
In her book You Can Do This, Tricia Lott Williford gives her readers a filter to use for the critics in our lives. “Would you want to invite them to your dinner party? If you wouldn’t give them a seat at your table, then don’t give them a voice in your life.” It’s time to surround ourselves with voices of people we love, trust, and admire, and stop putting the critics in charge.
But what if the critic is me?
I am humbled to share this with you, but for too many years I let those voices I mentioned above rule in my heart. I let their words run on repeat until I made them my own, telling myself messages like I’m not smart enough. I’m not talented enough. I’m not pretty enough. I’m not __________ enough. I don’t even like myself. Do any of these messages sound familiar? I can’t tell you how often I talk with a friend who says, “I’m just not ______ enough!” I get e-mails from women who are either not enough or too much, but never “just right.”
Let me ask you a question… If you had a friend who repeatedly said things like this to you, what would you do? I’m guessing you’d quit hanging around them! Who wants a friend like that?
So then, dear ones, why do we put up with it from ourselves? Earlier this year I declared myself to be an encourager. Who better to encourage than the person you see in the mirror each morning?
If the voices you hear—whether your own or from critics in your life—are constantly tearing you down, it might be time to change the tape. Later in You Can Do This, Tricia encourages, “There are so many of you with a toxic sound bite playing on repeat… God is asking us to stop the tape. Stop listening to those words, and instead replace them with who God says you are.” YES! This is such an important key. I’ve shared before that Positive Self-Talk doesn’t work for me… but Positive GOD-Talk does. When I repeat Scripture to myself, I know that it is true. And do you know what Scripture tells me—and you? Let me just help you get started:
- You are loved. (1 John 4:19)
- You are worth dying for. (John 3:16)
- You are never alone. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
- You don’t have to carry it all. (1 Peter 5:7)
- You are a masterpiece. (Ephesians 3:10 NLT)
I’m not going to lie to you… telling yourself “I am loved” today might not change the course of your life. But if you say it today… and tomorrow… and the next day… if you stop playing those “toxic sound bites” and replace them with words of hope and truth… eventually you’ll have a new playlist that will revolutionize your thinking. And a new way of thinking leads to a new way of living. One sentence at a time.
Dear friend, you can do this. Whatever your “this” is, whatever God has put before you today, He has equipped you to do it with His help. You are capable and loved and not alone. You’ve got this.
And if you find yourself needing a little confidence boost, grab this book. And a pen. And a highlighter. And maybe a tissue or two. You won’t be sorry.
You Can Do This releases on June 15, 2017! Grab your copy from Amazon today!
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