You’re Not Crazy if You Talk to Yourself

If you haven’t yet, go back and listen to Keith’s sermon from this past Sunday. He addressed the distance that we often feel in our relationship with God – the insecurity we feel, the loneliness, the not feeling good enough. And he gave us truth after truth that reminds us of the security we can find in Jesus, no matter what we think or believe in the moment.

It was a good reminder for me because I often tend to wallow in my feelings or in my insecurities, landing there and just sitting in them. In my sin, I often respond to circumstances, to people, or to God in ways that are disconnected from what I confess to believe. Irritation, fear, anxiety, impatience, and discouragement fill my head and stalk my heart. 

Thankfully, as Keith mentioned, God doesn’t let my well-being depend on the strength of my grip of God – if it did, my well-being would surely be poor! But what would happen if instead of fixing my eyes on myself – on my insecurities, on my inadequate feelings, on my comparison of myself with others – I fixed my eyes on Jesus? What if I stopped listening to all these false whispers that do me no good? What if I stopped letting these things shape me and instead shaped them by the gospel?

A friend once told me that instead of listening to myself, I should talk to myself. Not necessarily out loud, but if there is some kind of inner dialogue going on inside me, then what I need to do is to talk back to myself.

In Spiritual Depression, Martin Lloyd-Jones wrote this:

You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: ‘Why art thou cast down – what business have you to be disquieted?’ You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, and say to yourself: ‘Hope thou in God’ – instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged himself to do.

The poet in the book of Lamentations does exactly this. Tired and tattered, he feels like he’s lost all hope. He’s been through some kind of great sorrow and voices the gravity of his pain and despair: “…my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “My endurance has perished; so had my hope from the LORD,”’ (Lamentations 3:17-18).

But then later, in the same chapter, he preaches to himself what is true. He talks back to himself and reminds himself of that he actually did have hope, even when it didn’t feel like that was true. “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him,”’ (Lamentations 3:21-24).

Just like the writer of Lamentations, we must preach to ourselves the gospel of truth and fight the lies that whisper to us. Talk to yourself. Here’s a few passage about God and his promises to us and then some about who we are in Christ that might be helpful to you.

God’s character and promises: Psalm 103:8-14; Micah 7:19; Isaiah 38:17; Daniel 4:37; Hebrews 10:23; Matthew 28:20; Isaiah 61:10; Isaiah 62:5; Philippians 4:19; John 14:2-3

Who we are in Christ: 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21; Romans 8:15, 31-39; John 17:23; 1 Peter 1:4; Ephesians 2:10; 2 Timothy 1:7; Philippians 1:6; Colossians 1:13-14

Maybe it’s beneficial to write down on some notecards some of these truths. Tell those to your soul. Preach to yourself.

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