"Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts." (Proverbs 4:23 GN)
Long before psychology came around, God said your thoughts determine your feelings and your feelings determine your actions. If you want to change your life, you have to control the way you think.
You're constantly talking to yourself — all the time. Your mind is talking to you! You're talking to yourself right now. Research indicates that most people speak at a rate of 150 to 200 words per minute, but the mind can listen to about 500 to 600 words a minute. That's why you can listen to me and plan today's dinner at the same time.
In fact, our internal dialogue — the conversation we have with ourselves — is at a rate of 1,300 words per minute. How? Because our mind sees in pictures, and you can see a thought in a nanosecond!
The problem is that a lot of us are like Job, who says, "Everything I say seems to condemn me" (Job 9:20 GN). He's saying, in effect, "Everything I say puts me down." If you are typical to the human race, you are your own worst critic.
We're always putting ourselves down. We walk into a room, smiling, but inside we're thinking, "I'm fat. I'm dumb. I'm ugly. And I'm always late!"
God wants us to stop putting ourselves down. When you put yourself down, who are you really putting down? When you say, "I'm fat. I'm dumb. I'm ugly. I'm no good. I have no talent," you're really pointing to the Creator who made you. When you say, "God, I'm worthless. I'm no good. I can't do anything," you're saying, "God, you blew it with me." That's why God says it's wrong to put yourself down.
How do you eliminate negative self-talk so you can become a more confident person?
The Bible teaches the principle of replacement. "Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right … Think about all you can thank God for and be glad about" (Philippians 4:8 LB).
In other words, don't think about all those weaknesses in your life. Focus on who God wants you want to be and on what God wants to do in your life.
There isn't a better thing you can do to raise your confidence level than to start believing what God says about you. As I read through the Bible, chapter by chapter, and find a verse that speaks to me, I write it down on a card, memorize it, and then I affirm it back to God: "Father, thank you that I am valuable; I am significant; I am forgivable; I am capable." Let God renew your mind because "your life is shaped by your thoughts" (Proverbs 4:23 GN).
Talk About It
I don't know any better antidote to low self-esteem (or to facing your hurts, habits, and hang-ups) than to read God's Word every day: Study it, memorize it, meditate on it, and apply it in your life.
How are doing with self-discipline in your daily quiet time with God?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.