Guest Author: Nikki McNabb
The author of today’s post is Nikki McNabb, who serves as an academic assistant at Veritas Academy as well as leadership class teacher. Last week she shared the following message to her 6th grade girls. After reading her notes, I felt compelled to post them in their entirety for you.
Thank you Nikki for a message that will inspire both students and adults!
Nikki to her 6th grade girls: “I was looking over the school calendar and I realized that I don’t have that many more school days with you. Realizing this made sad at first but then I got excited thinking of the things that I could talk about with you during our class. One of those things that has put on my heart to discuss with you today is …… Self Talk!
I want you to know that everyone practices self talk, but very few of us actually take the time to think about the things that we say to ourselves. The process is so natural that we don’t even notice it. Therein lies the problem. We don’t stop to consider whether the things we tell ourselves are even true. Amazingly, much of our self talk is false. It’s based on lies that can keep us from entering fully into the lives God wants us to enjoy. But when we tell ourselves things that are true—when our words agree with God’s Word—we can experience freedom like never before!
Did you know that our self talk is powerful? The words we say go straight to the core of our being. They shape the way we think about ourselves. They influence our emotions, our thoughts, and our decisions. They resurface in our conversations with other people. They can spur us on to live meaningful, productive lives, or they can drag us down to lethargy and despair.
So how do we make your self talk productive? How can we replace the lies you may have been telling yourself with truthful talk? I want you to know that God has made a way for you to make sure the words you say to yourself are the words He would say. And then you know they are true!
I want to share with you some things about me. As a child, I could not escape the idea that whatever I did just wasn’t enough. I was a good girl with vast perfectionist tendencies—and painfully self-aware. And all those you’re-not-good-enough thoughts pooled into a river in my mind from which the waters flowed.
During my teen years I changed a lot, and so did the content of my self talk. It got worse! That is when I actually started calling myself names when I did not measure up or when I made mistakes. I DON’T WANT THIS FOR YOU!!!
You are not good enough.
You should have done a better job.
I will always be this way.
Nobody really cares.
You are never going to be independent.
You are so awkward.
People are staring at you.
No one will want to be my friend.
On and on it went. By the time I traveled through the decades of my twenties and thirties, I was swimming in a virtual ocean of accumulated self talk. ALL those years of faulty thinking and equally faulty self talking had begun to manifest in bouts of frustration, sometimes pushing me to the ragged edge of despair.
I lacked confidence and struggled with insecurity. I wasn’t unhappy or depressed all the time. Absolutely not!! I got married and had a great career. I became a mom and pursued life with passion and curiosity. But an unseen undertow was trying to pull me backward. A battle was being waged in my mind, and I never even realized its impact at the time.
Girls, we grow accustomed to our own self talk that we don’t even recognize its corrosive nature and the damage we’re are inflicting on ourselves.
The truth is, our self talk actually begins to shape the life we live, affecting everything. What you think and say about yourself will impact the texture, color and music of your life. Knowing what to say to yourself is so important!! Words are extremely powerful—even the ones you speak to yourself.
How do you talk to yourself? We all do it. Do you have full blown conversations out loud? Do you just mutter silent phrases now and then?
Over the last couple of years I have gradually learned what to say when I talk to myself, and that has truly made all the difference in my life! After years of struggling beneath the weight of my own slander and lies—I have learned to speak truth to myself.
Some things in life are only truly discovered through pondering and prayer. God reminded me that if I don’t control my thoughts, my thoughts will control me. The only way to get any kind of handle on those thoughts is to monitor what I tell myself.
I have found that as I have aged, I can’t seem to remember the simplest things. I do somehow have the ability to remember all the wrong things at all the wrong times. I can locate the right memory of failure, the perfect insecurity, or the timeliest untruth—just when I don’t need it most!
That is why I want you to think about your self talk as a closet. If we want the right things on those shelves and in those bins, we have to tell ourselves right things. My faith has led me to the Bible to find what to say to my soul. Speaking the truths I have found in the pages of Scripture has turned the lies I would tell myself before into truth.
The pages of Scripture are filled with the stories of real flesh-and-blood people. You will find all kinds of self talk—good and bad. Both Deborah the prophetess and David the psalmist talked to themselves. Several other psalmists and even some New Testament characters were “caught on tape” having conversations with themselves. In fact, when many spoke, they knew they were addressing themselves.
What did they say?
“Awake, my soul” (Psalm 57:8)
“My soul…put your hope in God” (Psalm 42:5,11; 43:5)
“I have stilled and quieted my soul” (Psalm 131:2)
“O my soul…forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:2)
“March on, O my soul; be strong” (Judges 5:2)
“Praise the Lord, O my soul” (Psalm 103:1, 104:1, 146:1)
Now that is what I call self talk!! Today….those verses might sound a little like this….tune in, look up, calm down, look back, chill out, press on, and lift up.
We must speak truth to our self because we seldom forget what we have stored away.
It is time to take inventory. Our thought closet is crammed with everything we have placed there over the years; some of it is worthy and wonderful, but lots of it is ugly, outdated, out of line, and out of place. Now is your opportunity to fill your closet with timely, attractive truth with which you can cloth yourself: fashionable, well-fitting, and fabulous truth.
“Be transformed,” Paul tells us, “by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2)
Instead of drawing from a dilapidated closet, full of thoughts that just don’t fit, we need a wardrobe jam-packed with healthy self talk!
You are a reflection of the way you think! King Solomon hit the nail on the head when he said, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is” (Proverbs 23:7 NASB). What you hang in your closet is what you will clothe yourself with. Your self talk will affect who you are.
Because your thoughts strongly influence you, you must learn to govern them with some truthful self talk. When you speak God’s truth to your soul, you’ll live out his truth!