Yesterday’s post stirred some comments about how we dress after Labor Day.
Back in the day, there were guidelines for dress and so I joked with some friends about wearing white pants after Labor Day.
A couple of us, our own daughter Rachel included, struggle with hearing our mom’s voice warning us of some kind of unnamed dire consequence should we slip on a pair of white jeans come the Tuesday morning following this holiday.
Even if the temperature is well over 100 with the heat index, we just can’t do it.
No judgment against those who do.
It’s just we can’t drown out the voice in our heads.
First off…the fact that I am the voice in our daughter’s head freaks me out…but beyond that…
as I pondered these comments yesterday, I was struck with two thoughts.
One is how my mom probably made it her mission to prepare me for success and prosperity in life. To aim for good and avoid the pitfalls of evil.
And this is the stuff I tend to remember most vividly…things like “Don’t wear white pants after Labor Day” and her infallible method for solving all mathematical equations by starting with this phrase….
“Well, let’s see. A pint is a pound the world around.”
From there she would commence to ciphering, as Jethro Clampett would say, and come up with the correct answer to just about any math problem.
Don’t ask me how she did it, but this has worked for me in many a grocery store aisle as I calculated ingredients for a recipe.
The other thought I had was more a rabbit trail on other voices in my head.
Because I can become easily discouraged to the point of quitting something just because of the dialogue that runs through my mind.
Often the statements I give credence to somehow disguise themselves as the opinions of others.
Am I alone in this?
Maybe I am and if so, pray for me.
But I can literally assign thoughts to other people based on a facial expression, a chance encounter in a hallway or just a lack of any positive feedback that I twist into disapproval.
Someone hurries by me or has a slight frown when they say hello. I read this as they don’t like me.
I get a short text response and assume I have offended this friend in some way.
A card or gift is sent and goes unacknowledged? I have over stepped my bounds and made this one feel uncomfortable.
I am going to credit both Lysa TerKeurst and Beth Moore for help in undoing some of this mess.
My thoughts are based on things I read from different books: Unglued by Lysa and So Long, Insecurity by Beth …but I am not quoting either one…just sharing my takeaways as I apply them to the above vortex of ridiculous self-talk that I can blame on others.
When I imagine what another person might be thinking and assign these as valid thoughts, I am completely ignoring the fact that no one has actually voiced in real life the comments my mind has manufactured.
In interpreting a look or perceiving a slight from someone, it is my own brain that develops and fills in the scenario of criticism or discouragement.
It is my insecurities that have globbed onto someone else’s existence and twisted that one’s mood into a direct assault on my efforts to fulfill my purpose and move forward.
If I stop and ask myself point blank if that person has actually said the things I am assigning to him or her, the answer is always…no.
How unfair to blame someone else for my own barrage of negative thoughts.
And in the same way, how unfair to run to God and ask Him to console me when in reality it is my own fault for placing the opinion of others above that of His.
I don’t think these moments are the time to try and placate myself with “At least God loves me and thinks good things toward me.”
Yes, as a follower of Christ it is the main thing that I find my identity in who He says I am…however, I need to first come clean with the truth that I have a deep need to feed my own ego with approval from others.
Because I have basically come up with what boils down to a fabrication of any truth.
These thoughts are L.I.E.S. and I have formed them and then nurtured them to grow.
And I need to own this about myself.
I have the capacity to entertain a lying spirit in my heart…I need a Savior.
When I confess this longing to be loved by others and acknowledge my tendency to be self-absorbed, I am opening the door that leads me to repentance.
I can turn from my natural craving for affirmation from people and ask God to help me seek only His “Well done’s” at the end of each day.
I want to be a teller and a lover of truth, especially within my own mind.
I will probably always struggle with voices in my head, but by His grace I can sort through them with His help and guidance and throw away the ones that are just vain imaginings.