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I didn’t understand it at all. It was the first time I’d ever seen anything like it.
Chalk it up to being 14 years old? Maybe. Maybe not.
Teenager or not, I’d never seen anyone struggle with a virus like this one. It was a soul virus.
Something in the heart, the mind, the will, the emotions.
She was a good friend. We’d talk a lot at school. She had a good family. Her parents were supportive – at least from what we could tell. She lived in a wonderful home. She had friends, too.
And cosmetically, well, she was beautiful.
In fact, I remember other girls in middle school who would genuinely complement her about her beauty. She was included. She was accepted.
All of us knew it … except her.
She didn’t think she was pretty. She didn’t like the way she looked. She didn’t see this wonderful life or the friends she had all around her. She couldn’t really see any of it, and the reason was simple: she didn’t really believe it.
And the worst part? She wouldn’t eat.
Those of us that knew her knew that she really did believe she was overweight, and no matter what the scales said about her being underweight, she didn’t believe it.
We were young middle schoolers, which means that we weren’t that aware of how life works, but we knew enough to know something was not right.
At school we’d try to encourage her about it. Nothing worked.
She did work hard to put up a good front. She’d laugh. Goof off with us. And yet those of us that knew her – we knew that inside she didn’t believe much of anything around her was worth laughing about really.
I didn’t understand it. It was the first time I’d ever seen anything like it.
To this day I don’t understand what happened back there with my friend when I was 14 years old. She made it through high school. I heard she has a family now.
At 14 she seemed to have everything a 14 year old would want. She was “popular” (whatever that means). She had friends. She had life – real life. Not in her eyes, though.
Back then, I didn’t’ understand it. It was the first time I’d ever seen anything like it.
And yet I understand it more clearly now. I’ve seen it many, many times by now.
The Real Truth About Belief
Have you ever thought about the story that you tell yourself?
Yes, it’s a bit risky to think of just “positive talk” for the sake of positivity.
We all must face reality.
And yet I have been thinking more and more lately about the option.
So, if I choose not to think positively, what’s the option?
Should I choose to look at everything through the lenses of negativity?
I’ve seen many people who say things like, “Well, I’m just a realist.” When in fact, they aren’t a realist, they are a pessimist.
There’s a stark difference between looking at life objectively versus choosing forever to find the negative.
Even in the Christian world, I find many, many … many Christians that fear “positive self-talk” because they think it’s spooky New Age religion.
In some cases, there are those that will immediately chalk up any “positive” self-talk to the Prosperity Gospel.
So hold on before you draw conclusions and start labeling what you may not understand.
Let’s look at what the Bible says about the story going around in your head.
Read through the Psalms and read through Proverbs and you’ll see that King David often talked to himself. [Psalm 103 is a superb example of this].
Want to read a short piece on it, Randy Alcorn has a quick gem on the idea of biblical self-talk.
Actually, you talk to yourself all the time whether you realize it or not.
Every human being practices self-talk. I don’t know of anyone that would deny that!
Have you ever thought much about who is trying to infiltrate your mind? Have you ever thought much about the messenger creating the messages that enter your brain?
The New Testament tells us over and over again that we live in a world of spiritual forces. Read the first two chapters of Ephesians if you don’t believe that. We live in both a physical and a spiritual world.
And in those worlds there are messages coming at us all the time – competing for our loyalty.
The real key is … knowing who is the author of those messages? Or better yet, who is the “authority” behind your language of the messages you are believing?
New Age religion is about you being the captain of your own destiny. New Age religions make you the god of your destiny. New Age religion or even the Prosperity Gospel puts you in the driver’s seat.
However, when you let the authority of Christ rule your language, when you let the story of who you are be rooted in what Scripture says about the new life in Christ, you transfer your power into the hands of His power over you – and that friend – is life under a narrative that has a different Authority and a different Author.
The Apostle Paul, who was the greatest human theologian to ever walk the planet outside of Christ, was fond of telling you who you are!
Through Paul the Word of God tells us we are:
More than conquerors.
Romans 8:37 tells us we are more than people just striving to make it for the sake of grinding through life
Do you realize that God’s own word many times over in the New Testament calls those of us in Christ saints?
[see Ephesians 2]
A work of art.
Ephesians 2:10. You are literally a person gifted by God with special gifts and purposes that only you can fulfill. And He is the Architect here! He made you for more than just living a dull existence.
I could go on and on and on with this. The New Testament is full of adjectives that tell a different story about those who Christ has ransomed from sin.
If you are in Christ, your very life and existence has been changed. Forever.
We are commanded by God in Scripture to “set” our mind on the real story; to fixate on not who we were – but who we now are in Christ. Christ has brought us a new story about who we are and He is the Author.
“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth.” [Colossians 3:2]
It’s all about what you choose to set your mind upon that drives the conversation.
If you allow the “things that are upon the earth” to drive the conversation, you’re just going to ultimately wind up self-medicating.
Seriously. If you are the authority of your own life, you will become an addict in some form or fashion.
You will develop an addiction because idols have crept into the story you’re crafting about your life. Idols are sneaky, sneak things because they are custom-made for you personally. [if you want more on that there’s a series called UnShackled that we released here are ClearView. You can watch the first one here called “The Will To Run Freely”]
Self-medicating is the numbing people feel when they turn to golf to make them feel like they are good at something. They practice, and they practice, and they grind, and they grind, and eventually they become addicted. Not to golf … to the idea that they have a place to find worth. And so their perception of themselves lives … and dies … by the scorecard.
Self-medicating happens when a person constantly checks their social media for likes; and based on the number of likes or followers, that feeling of euphoria when people approve of you is the voice of truth. The number of social media likes gets to be the storyteller.
Self-medicating happens when a parent runs themselves crazy trying to keep up with the other families with travel ball, or buying the best gear for their kid so that they don’t feel inferior, or trying to find just the right school, so that somehow they feel as if they are measuring up as a parent. At ClearView we’ve come to call it Panic Parenting … and it’s real in Williamson County.
And then there’s the voice of Truth.
There’s the voice that comes out of the distance calling you to believe a different story about yourself – the story that He wrote if and when you came to Him in repentance. He’s the one that said, “If the Son sets you free, you’ll be free indeed.” [John 8:36]
Stalked By Truth
There’s a verse that’s been stalking me lately.
Not in some creepy, show up at your front door with a weird smile, kind of stalking; no, more like a sled of truth, a perfectly weighted plastic sled that glides across the ground with ease, filled with some truth, that has attached itself to my back belt loop with a carabiner and a rope.
It’s been following me in tow for about two months now.
And it’s not heavy, either.
Truth works like that. Truth isn’t heavy – but you are forced to reckon with it.
Truth comes from truth’s Author: God.
He’s the author of truth. And in His manual for life He tells us …
For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
As you think … within yourself … so you are.
Think about that.
See, my friend back there in middle school that I mentioned, she thought within herself that she was fat.
She thought within herself that life was heavy.
She painted a picture in her soul of what life was like… and she believed the picture she painted.
As you think within yourself … so you are!
That’s not positive self-talk. That’s the Word of God my friend.
As you approach what’s left of this year what is going to be your story?
Who is going to tell that story?
I am working hard to listen to the voice of God and let Him tell me … about me.
And you know what? It is working. Most days.
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About the Author: Jason Cruise is the Senior Pastor of ClearView Baptist Church in Franklin, TN.
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Watch a recent sermon series from ClearView Baptist Church called “Unshackled.”
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