04 April, 2011

What NOT to Wear

Hey y'all! {Yeah, I just watched the ACMs. Funny how that rubs off on ya.}

So, I usually do the getting to know you thing on Sunday but I've been meaning to update you on my Bible study. Since it's Sunday, I found that pretty fitting. =) I thought it was going to be a couple of days before I finished the first week, but it turns out that there are only 5 lessons a week! I gotta say I kinda like that. Then again, I've been getting a lot out of this study! I'm going to take tonight off and then pick it up again on Monday so that I can get on the normal schedule. Anyway.

I should probably remind you of the study I'm doing. It's called Me, Myself & Lies: A Thought Closet Makeover. The premise is this: we talk to ourselves all day, everyday. For some of us, we tell ourselves how bad we are - I'm stupid, I'm fat, I'm ugly, I can't do anything right, I'm a terrible wife/mother, etc. Basically, we beat ourselves up often without realizing it. We walk around all defeated, beaten down and depressed but can't figure out why. The "why" is because we're too busy focusing on our struggles and not on what God says is true.

So far in this study, I've been able to identify all (or most) of the things in my "thought closet" - the things I tell myself on an almost-daily basis. Because I don't want you to struggle with this either, I'm going to share my journey with you. This will include verses, points from the book that spoke to me and the nasty things I say to myself.

Day One:


- Even Moses beat himself down. Exodus 4:10
- Like Moses, we often choose our "I am" [statements] on what we do and our struggles. We should choose our "I am" based on what is actually true. {See Psalm 86:2 and 139:14}
- No matter what I say about me, I am what I am by the grace of God. (1 Corinthians 15:10)
- "The Enemy of your soul would love to stifle you with self-condmenation, lies and ill-fitting words so your thought become a jumbled mess that controls you... As God to show you if you have filled your thesauros [thought closet] based on who you truly are or if you have confused your identity with your struggles."


Day Two:


- I was asked to write down the "I am" statements I say when I beat myself up:
  I am so stupid
 I am fat
 I am a screw-up; can't do anything right

- "Why couldn't I control the gray matter between my...hair and between my own pierced ears?"
- These thoughts leave us with a tangled mess of emotions. They "take up residence like old prom dressed, and we clothe ourselves every day with whatever we store there."
- Next, I was asked to fill in my thought closet box. Then, she asked us to look up verses that describe the potential of human thought...one that doesn't involve God. (Verses: Ps. 10:4, 56:5; Isaiah 59:7, 65:2, Romans 1:21) The results?
  - There is no God, distorted words, evil, devastation, destruction, rebellion, foolishness. 
- So, basically God hasn't been existing in my thoughts. Ouch.
-Then we looked up verses describing God's thoughts. (Psalm 40:5, 92:5, 139:17; Isaiah 55:9*, Jeremiah 29:11*) The results there?
 - many, wonderous, deep, precious, higher, peace, hope
- I'd say those are quite a bit different from my own. So, how do I fill my thought closet with words and thoughts that are worth wearing and thinking about?
- By committing my works to God (Prov. 16:3) and relying on His Word (Hebrews 4:12).
- In the margin, I wrote "Rely on His words, NOT yours!!"

Day Three:


- Today is all about meditating. But, what does meditating mean? I wrote down, "think, consider, mull over, speculate, study, view, weigh." So, it doesn't really mean sitting down cross-legged on the floor saying "ooom" until you magically feel better. =P
- Once again, she asked me to write down things from my thought closet, specifically the thoughts I meditate on most:
I wish I hadn't said ___.
I'm overwhelmed.
I can't do this.

-Then, I circled bins that characterize my most frequent meditations. This one was rough.

my body
my insecurities
my plans
my fears
my future
my family
my situation
my failures
my past

The ones I didn't circle are almost worse:

my faith
my needs
my wishes
my rights
my pride
condition of our world
other

Ok, so really just the first one hurts...

- Colossians 3:2 tells us (paraphrased) that we need to focus on positive things and heavenly truths {or "things above}. Isaiah 55:8-9 says that God's thoughts are higher than our thoughts. So, in Col. we're told to focus on things above and in Isaiah, God says His thoughts are above ours. Hm. 
- She then asks us to list some of God's wonders and words that we can focus on. Later she asks if we're able to think about our worries, plans, etc while thinking about the good God has done for us. I answered "no." I can't think of anything else but good while I think of what God has done for me, or Bible verses I've memorized. Hmm.
- "Meditating on God's wonders and His Word elevates your thoughts... You are not bound to earthly wisdom, but have the music of majesty and the lyric of our Lord filling your thought closet! ...start paying attention to where your thoughts wander during an idle moment."

Day Four:

"What did your mind's 'soundtrack' consist of yesterday (or just now)?" I answered, "worries, frustration"

Describe worry: "thinking about things that might happen"

"Worry is fixating or meditating on what if rather than what is. Our English word worry comes from the Old English wrygan and the Old High German wurgen. (imagine two dots over that 'u') Both mean 'to strangle.' When we worry, we choke out the life-giving truth that should be filling our thought closet."

This day was really long, and this post is super long already so I'll give you the "gist" of it for now. 

-Psalm 19:14 says that "the standard for our words and meditation is not merely what is acceptable to us; rather, it is what is acceptable to God.  In our own sight, our self-talk and meditation may appear fine, but imagine God listening to you talk to yourself."

- "Would you still say the same things to yourself and carry on the same meditation" if you said all of these things in His sight? My answer: probably not. Go figure, right?

-"God cares about what you say to yourself because He cares about you."

- Philippians 4:6 says to pray when the "what if's" begin to crowd and overwhelm you.

- "If you start to play the soundtrack of worry today in your thought closet, push the pause button and notice that they song isn't played in the key of truth. So turn your worry into a prayer. That will focus your mind on things above and invite God's comfort..."

Day Five:

- Today is all about focusing and listening to the truth - God's truth.
- Luke 4:22 describes the reaction of a crowd to Jesus' message. They were amazed, astonished. Jesus was kind and gracious.
- "Truth is always authoritative and gracious. Authoritative words should never be harsh, and gracious words should never be without power."
- John 1:14, 17 characterize Jesus as grace and truth. If Jesus is our standard, our "soul talk is to be permeated with grace and truth. If it's not gracious, stop talking to yourself that way. Throw those thoughts out of the closet...stop meditating on it."
- Names like loser, stupid, fat, and idiot are "not gracious; it is harsh...destructive, and it's not true! It is not based on the authority of Scripture."
- "John 8:32 says the truth will free us. When you wardrobe yourself with one of the names hanging in your thought closet, you feel imprisoned because it isn't true or gracious!"
- "Sister, here's a hard truth. To call yourself an untruthful, harsh name is a sin. It's an insult to God, demeans His workmanship, and devalues His creation."
- "To be like Christ is to be full of grace and truth. If you are a name caller, meditate on these Scriptures: Proverbs 3:3, 8:7, 12:17"

I know this is already long, but I hope you've gotten something out of it. I left a lot out... I can't begin to tell you how powerful this study is. And I'm only one week in!! Already I feel a huge burden lifted off of me... All because I'm not calling myself names all the time!! Sure, it still happens but now I am so much more aware...and aware of how it affects my moods. When I catch myself thinking things like, "Oh my gosh, why did I say that?! I am so stupid!" I stop and consider what the truth is... I repeat verses in my head that I've studied. I pray. I remind myself of the good things God's done for me. 

Even better, God somehow meshed this study into the sermon from church today. I absolutely love how He does that!! I kid you not, the first thing our guest pastor had us do today was this:

"Stand up, hold your Bible in the air and say: 'I am what God says I am."

Ha. Wow. Then he said this: "You are what God says you are. Not what your mum says you are; not what your dad says you are. You are what God says you are. What He says is, is." Pretty sure I could have gone home right then and gotten what I needed out of the sermon. It was so much more, and I encourage you to listen to it here (it's the first one on the list, 03 Apr) when you get the chance. Also, if you'd like to do this week's lessons (the ones I just posted about), you can go here to download them. OR you can get the book from Amazon. =) 

So, how's your [thought] closet looking?!


P.S. Don't forget to enter my book giveaway! Ends Monday at midnight, EST!

6 comments:

Joan said...

Very interesting. I need to take a look at my thought closet. I'm always beating myself up, but I thinke everyone does. I will have to check this out more when I have a free moments to myself!

Semper Wifey said...

Thank you for sharing this! :)

Katie said...

This is so great. What a concept that God often does not exist in my thoughts.

This would be an awesome study for my small group. (and by that I mean it would be an awesome study for me.) Thanks for sharing this!!

Rebekah said...

Wow, this seems interesting and so good! I really do need to look at my "though" closet!

JG said...

I really need to get this study book. Sounds like exactly what I need to work on right now. Thanks for sharing and for being transparent.

Ashley said...

Wow, I may have to look into that study. I know a lot of women, including myself, that struggle with not having God in our constant thoughts throughout the day, especially when it comes to the things that we think and say to ourselves.