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Who Do I Say I Am?
What do you say to yourself when you burn a piece of toast and stink up the house? Is it, “Hey dummy,” or “hey stupid, what are you doing?”
I love golf and have played for many years on beautiful courses, yet I hear golfer self-talk after hitting a bad shot like, “You stupid (expletive)!” The circumstances of life offer us many opportunities for self-talk and – consciously or unconsciously – we all do it.
How do you talk to yourself? You might want to be more aware because it may have a far more powerful influence on your future life experiences than you realize.
Many of us are familiar with the verse in Proverbs 23:7 “As he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Today remarkable discoveries are being made in the field of neuroscience that supports just how accurate this scriptural reference is. For nearly four hundred years, it was believed the mind was a part of the body, such as a motor with four regions, that was designated to perform certain functions. And the brain, if healthy, would respond to behaviors following logic and knowledge. Now we know differently.
Today, the new concept of neuroplasticity is revealing that the brain is not static, like a motor with parts. We now know that the brain responds to repetitive thoughts and actions, and it grows nerve cells and grey matter to accommodate these thoughts. Think of this as the muscle-building part of the brain. For example, if you only focus on building upper body strength, your upper body will grow stronger. However, if you neglect your lower body, over time, it will become weaker. Repeating a thought over and over again increases its power in your brain!
When we entertain fearful thoughts, we grow and strengthen the grey matter to retain fear-based ideas! When we take on a medical diagnosis as part of our identity, such as a cancer patient, a heart patient, a diabetic or obese person. And the repetition of thoughts and words literally changes the grey matter as it grows new neurons and retains the information to be acted on in the future. As the scripture in Proverbs 23:7 says, “As he thinks in his heart (or inner being) so is he.” Neuroscience is now validating the notion that when we think repetitive thoughts, the brain changes to create a more dominant position for those beliefs, attitudes, feelings, and behaviors.
Is your self-talk expressed in phrases like, “I should,” “I can’t,” or “I am”? “I should” generally means it may be best, but I have lots of reasons why I probably won’t do it. And “I can’t” somehow disqualifies us from many opportunities in life! I can’t because… I don’t have money, time, talent, etc.
The most powerful statement you can say to yourself and others is I am. “I am” brings us closer to God’s declaration in Genesis 1:26 “Let Us make man in our image, according to Our likeness!” When Moses stood at the burning bush, he questioned, “Who am I that I should do what God has directed for me to go to Pharaoh in Egypt?” God quickly corrected his communication with you say, “I am that I am has sent me.” From that moment on, Moses declared, “I am sent!”
If you desire life to be different, for your life to be better, then maybe some changes will need to occur. You’ll most likely need to start with your self-talk by examining how you talk about and to yourself. Biblically we have evidence in Proverbs 23:7 that self-talk matters and now scientifically it is recognized that the neuroplasticity of your brain will allow you to think for the results you desire. Your brain will change with everything you think and experience. It is not a static machine or motor.
You are not just the way you are; you are the way you think! From this point forward, you can become more powerful in who you are and what you can do by changing the way you think. This is not mind-over-matter; this is brain matter growing for what matters to you!
James1:8 says that a double-minded person is unstable in their ways. So many times, the circumstances of life dictate our self-talk and creates double-mindedness. We say what we believe and value certain things, yet we also say things that do not align. This is not just about having a positive attitude and ignoring life. Friends of mine were recently involved in a head-on car collision. I’m not suggesting they overlook the fact that injuries occurred, but how we respond to life through thoughts and actions that will determine our future outcomes. They believe in and speak of healing and full recovery. I am healed; I am recovering fully!
Your consistent self-talk is what will shape your brain to retain, believe, feel, and experience your life. Again, we remind ourselves of the scripture, “What a person thinks in their heart, so are they.” Proverbs 23:7.
Here is a beautiful expression from Philippians 4:8 in how to help guide our thoughts, “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of a good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things.”