We are fascinated with stories. Whether it is a six-year-old boy listening to the exciting adventures of his favorite superhero or a 60-year-old man consumed by a thrilling novel, stories have a way of drawing us in and taking us on a journey. More than that, stories are a potent teaching tool in the life of every human being.
The person that shares the story is called the narrator. They, in essence, call the shots! They have the privilege of bringing the story to life through drama, tension, and surprise.
Your life is a story. Each day you live is another paragraph to the story of your life. But who narrates?
Have you ever considered why people who share similar experiences respond differently? The reason is that the narrator (the person) tells the story differently. For example, two people experience the storyline of the loss of a job. The first narrator tells the story this way.
I lost my job. I am a failure and will never amount to anything. On top of that, I will no longer be able to provide for my family.
You can imagine the quick spiral into depression this person would experience. The second person has the same storyline but narrates the story differently.
I lost my job. This is hard, but I am not going to give up. It may be challenging, but I am a tough person. I will find another job and continue to provide for my family.
These are two different people facing the same circumstance, but each has created their own narrative.
The point of this example is that there is great power in how you narrate your life.
Talking to Yourself vs. Listening to Yourself
As the narrator of your life, you first have to make a critical decision. Will you talk to yourself or listen to yourself?
Now I am not trying to be confusing here, but consider the thoughts that come into your mind when you first wake up. Where did they come from? You did not create them; something inside you begins to narrate who you are from becoming conscious. Let’s call this self talking to you.
On the other hand, there are moments when you choose to create the narrative. As a kid, I remember climbing along the side of a cliff with a massive drop-off. I followed my friends, and they had all crossed a very narrow portion of the path. I remember something inside of saying, “you are afraid and shouldn’t do this,” but then another voice spoke up. It was my voice, and instead of listening, I decided to speak. I told myself, “you can do this, you are brave, and you will make it,” and I did. This was me talking to myself.
Narrators in every person. Self talking to you versus you talking to yourself. One will win, and the winner will unquestionably influence your spiritual state.
Spiritually depressed people do more listening to themselves rather than talking to themselves. They allow the self-narrative to control the way that they think about themselves. It is only a matter of time before the self-talk crushes their spirits in one area or another.
But I want you to consider the verse we looked at in our first article from Psalm 42:5,
Why are you in despair, O my soul?And why are you disturbed within me?Wait for God, for I shall still praise Him,For the salvation of His presence.
Notice who is doing the talking. The Psalmist asks a question to his soul, “why are you in despair, O my soul?” This is an internal dialogue showing the Psalmist talking to himself. Rather than listening to the negative emotions, he processed them out loud. Instead of just accepting how he felt about himself, he spoke what he knew to be true, that he would still praise God even in difficult circumstances.
Now that we know that we have to be the ones doing the talking rather than listening to ourselves, we must remind ourselves of the source that our words must come from. If we are going to talk to ourselves, then it is tantamount that we speak the truth. This is why being grounded in the Word of God is vital. One of my favorite imageries from the Bible in regards to this topic comes from James 1:23-25,
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he looked at himself and has gone away, he immediately forgot what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of freedom, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this man will be blessed in what he does.
We will be blessed if we take in the actual words of God and remember them. We must battle back against the lies ourselves try to tell us with God’s truth. The self tells you that you will always fail, while God tells you that you can be victorious. The self says you are worthless, while God tells you that you are of the greatest value. Self says you are afraid, while God says you are courageous. Self lies, and God reveals the truth! It would do a tremendous amount of good to speak the words of God into outlives both internally and audibly.
Will you stand up against yourself when your self tries to lie, condemn, and confuse you? We must stand up as the psalmist did and speak the truth; your battle against spiritual depression depends on it!