Mastering your internal narrativeOn any given day, we all spend time in two or more of the following: listening to news, hearing an idea conveyed through music, reacting to social media, receive and send emails or texts, and conversation with colleagues, friends and family. Life is full of these types of voices, and it is not limited to verbal communications. It could be a message conveyed through an action, or our own interpretation of unfolding events. Both individually and accumulatively, these moments produce the voices we listen to and can frame the context of how we make choices. “Life is a reflection of the voices we listen to; past and present”. The voices we listen to will significantly sway the self-talk and the filter through which we interpret life and make choices.
Read 1 Samuel 17:1-51
- David was confronted with information that may not have been completely accurate. Yet he reacts to it by fleeing and it clearly had an impact on him and the whole country. Share a moment; or a phrase; or a comment that was directed at you when you were younger, which may have shaped some part of who you are today? Does that moment, or the effect of that moment, produce thoughts and responses in you that are in sync with what God’s word says about you?
- Read 2 Corinthians 10:5. Some sources declare people have around 70,000 thoughts per day. Evidently, we’re not aware of them all. What does Paul mean by, “take every thought captive”? How do we effectively take every thought captive?
- What would be a typical moment when you have not taken your thoughts (voices) captive? Apply this to thoughts about yourself – if you haven’t done so already?
- Read 2 Samuel 15:19-21. Ittai does not do what David suggests, but he provides the faithful friendship he needs. Also, Ittai continues to refer to David as king, despite David’s actions as a fugitive. Share thoughts on why it would be beneficial to have people in our lives like Ittai?
- Whilst it’s good to have friends who will stand by our side and remind us in word and action of who we are, what can we do to remind ourselves who we are in God? How do we stop ourselves from inner thoughts and self-talk (‘Voices’) that do not declare who we are in God?
- Read 2.Sam 16:5-10. Shimei had come to an inaccurate conclusion of what had transpired 15-20 years before (perhaps he had been listening to the wrong ‘voices’) and David entertained the idea that his accuser might have a point. Have you ever been accused of something you never did; or had people form a wrong opinion of you and, even though it’s wrong, it affects you?
Paul’s letter to the Romans (Romans 8:12-17) speaks significantly about living according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. One aspect of this is not letting the regrets and consequences of our past actions and life experiences define who we are from the day we give our lives to Jesus. We may be unable to physically change the consequences, but who we are in Christ is a new creation. As people saved by grace and born of the Spirit of God, it is His word, His grace, and His forgiveness that now defines who we are. Whilst this may still be a journey of discovery for some, I encourage you to proactively seek to shape your life according to what God says about you, and not some negative narrative that you may have been entertaining over the years. Before you leave tonight, recall or find a Scripture in the Bible that you can use to replace at least one negative self-talk (maybe some may need help to do this).Download PDF