I have been alive long enough to know that usually the greatest enemy I face is myself. Of course, we all have outside voices, people and influences that attack, accuse, denigrate and pull down. We don’t have to agree with the negativity, but if we told the truth, how many times have we agreed with those voices. Along my path in life I have found that these “outside voices” rarely tell me something that I don’t already believe or wonder about myself.
So what’s the answer? Avoid people? — Not possible. It’s not good for people to be alone. Avoid Negative People? — Not possible. They are everywhere. It’s not good for people to be alone. Only surround myself with Positive People? — A good idea, but only partially possible. Don’t get me wrong. I would rather have positive people around me instead of negative people, but shallow optimism is not the long term solution.
I have discovered over these many years, through trial and error, a 6 step process that helps me, take care of me. It’s not self-help as much as it is self-control. If you are a Christian, you have been empowered by the truth of who God is (God is good all the time), the truth of who He says I am (an unconditionally loved child of God with full access and rights to His heart) and the indwelling power of Holy Spirit (who guides me into all truth, reveals to me the beauty of God and gives me an overwhelming love for God and for people.) Maybe these 6 Steps would be helpful for you. If you want to overcome negativity, addictive patterns, self-hatred then you might try these.
Step 1: Identify. Spend time identifying strongholds and lies that are shaping our decision making and lifestyle. If we want change, let’s identify what’s not working. Then work backward to expose the lie I am believing. This pattern is found the bible, 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (you can read the chapter here.) Here is the pattern: Out of control THOUGHTS (meaning thoughts not submitted to God and influenced by God’s truth) become HIGH THINGS (points of view that you are convinced of) which become ARGUMENTS (ideas that you will never change and leave no room for growth) that eventually form STRONGHOLDS (which are beliefs that have a strong hold on your mind and heart & shape the way you view the world, yourself, others, etc.) Ask Holy Spirit to show you these things. Introspection is rarely useful, but Holy Spirit inspection leads to encounters with God resulting in growth and health.
Step 2: Repent. Change the way you think. Use index cards, a hand written journal or something to write down lies you believe about yourself. Then write truths that you want to believe. They need to be truths that you believe are greater than the lie.
Step 3: Confess. In your relationship with God, bring into the light a verbal recognition and confession of sin. Be honest! Also make a verbal declaration of Jesus Lordship, Finally make a verbal declaration of who God says you are. (i.e. I am unconditionally loved. I am powerful. I am peaceful. I deserve to be joyful. I have hope because I am a person filled with hope. Etc.)
Step 4: Renew. In Dr. Caroline Leaf’s book, “Who Switched Off My Brain?” she has practices for rewiring the way we think. It’s possible to break negative and unhealthy thinking patterns by establishing new ones. I would also suggest you have a consistent bible meditation or reading practice. Let’s renew our minds with the word of God and practices that support new truths.
Step 5: Meditate. Find a few relevant bible verses that ignite your heart, stir passion and give you hope. Write them down. Memorize them. Think on them. Dissect them. Then write down what God shows you and pray back to God the insights you glean.
Step 6: Share. Open your heart to a friend that will walk with you in this process. Make sure it’s someone who has demonstrated unconditional love and acceptance towards you. You can’t afford surrounding yourself with judgmental people. It’s challenging enough to overcome our own self judgement, we don’t need outside help. Satan is the accuser. Jesus is the intercessor. Have a friend who will pray with you and for you, not someone who will accuse you. Satan lives in darkness. Jesus is the light. Live in the light of an empowering friendship. Over time you will be amazed at your growth and development.
I hope these steps help you in your journey with God. We have been invited into a hope-filled, joy-rich, triumphant life. Will we have problems? Of course, but our opportunity is to live in the greater reality of God’s kingdom and nature. Enjoy the journey. It’s the only we have.
DISCLAIMER: *These steps work best if you are a Christian because you will have access to God and His Spirit will dwell in you. You can try them if you are not a Christian, and they may be helpful because “truth” works. But my heart for us is to live spiritually connected to God & emotionally healthy. The world needs a powerful and happy version of you. I personally don’t believe that’s possible without a relationship with Jesus Christ*
*I am not a doctor, licensed counselor, therapist, psychiatrist, psychologist or anything related to these fields of expertise. If you are taking medication, seeing a doctor, counselor, therapist, etc. please follow their advice and counsel. In no way do I intend for this blog to be a “fix all” for our problems. It’s simply some suggestions for how we can manage ourselves better in light of a relationship with God.*