A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Out With the Old

Posted on: January 24, 2013

A few days ago, I heard a radio host say that many people have already given up on their New Year’s resolutions.

I guess listeners could react to that in a few different ways:

  • “I don’t bother making resolutions. It’s a waste of time.”
  • “At least I’m not alone.”
  • “Hey, thanks for the encouragement!” (Heavy with sarcasm.) “I’m still trying to keep my resolutions.”

I fall into group number three. And being something of a pessimist, one thing I don’t need is any help in the discouragement department.

What I do need is to make another resolution for this year: to get rid of the old and make room for the new. I don’t mean physical clutter—I mean the mental baggage that holds me back from following the path God has planned for me.

My clutter is negative self-talk. The kind that tells me not to speak up because people wouldn’t be interested in hearing my thoughts. Not to volunteer my help because someone else could certainly do the job better. Not to try because I’m sure to fail. And the list goes on.

Even though it would never cross my mind to talk to someone else like this, at some point I decided it’s okay to speak to myself this way. Sad to say, I’m sure I’m not the only person who knows how hard it is to make good use of your gifts when these are the messages you fill your head with.

But I know there’s a better choice.This week I turned to my bookshelf and pulled off a paperback called Self Talk, Soul Talk that deals with this very problem. Author Jennifer Rothschild points out that, “if we follow God’s Spirit, we trade our negative and unprofitable thoughts for thoughts that are positive and fruitful” (pp. 57-58).

Ms. Rothschild shares stories from her own life and looks to people in the Bible for examples of the right kind of self-talk. Chapters end with “Soul-Talk Questions to Ponder” and “Passages to Ponder” from the Bible. And an appendix of “Soul-Talk Starters” provides inspiring statements based on Scripture, such as these:

I am God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10).
I am valuable to God (1 Corinthians 6:20).
I am dearly loved (Colossians 3:12).

If your self-talk, like mine, could use a change for the better, I encourage you to give this book a read and pray for the courage to make the change.

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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