And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always. Philippians 4:8 (TPT)
Every Glorious Work – Note To Self Series – Part 1
What notes do you write to yourself? In your head, or on paper, or type on a screen?
What words do you utter when you:
– look in the mirror
– make a mistake
– get stuck in traffic
– right before sleep
– as you wake
– in the shower
– on a walk
– achieve something great
– at a party
– are paid a compliment
That's your inner dialogue. You talk to yourself all the time. Some of us embrace it more than others. And only some of us take control of that internal chatter.
In the last few lines of his letter to the Philippians, Paul told his friends to:
“Keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind…” (Phil 4:8 TPT).
To which, if you’re like me, we try to focus on authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind things outside of ourselves. Like God and angels and Mother Teresa and Justin Trudeau.
How often do you think ‘authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind' things about yourself? From my experience, our notes to ourselves more often than not seem to be quite critical, if not nasty.
Words have the power to breathe life into us. But like most things, they have a shadow side: they also have the ability to deflate, defame, diminish and demoralize (D is such a dark letter…).
I’m not talking about “fluffy” self-talk where everything is awesome, nothing is our fault, we’re more important than the rest, and we’re told we're the fairest in the land.
I’m addressing our inner narrative.
Because Paul told us to keep our thoughts continually fixed on… you get it, right? And that’s not only thoughts about others and God and things. I grew up believing that to think of holy things is to think about God, not about self. But we are entangled with the eternal, and how we treat, think about, and talk to ourselves, is where it all begins. Life flows from the heart, right? (Prov 4:23).
And guys, this isn’t a “women's” topic. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Causes of death report in 2015, here in Australia, eight people take their lives every single day, and six of those will be men. This is beyond gender. Take note of what you speak over, into, through, around, and directly to your ‘self.’
Are they words of life? Or do they sound a little Darth Vaderish?
“Most of the problems of life that be,
Are caused by the tone of speech only,
It is never what is said in reality,
But how it’s said that causes harm truly.”
– Munindra Misra, Eddies of Life.
Tone and language are besties. “Authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind” begin in the unseen, the smokey world behind the layer of this material one. They are a tone, a cadence, a resonance. Your words make ripples in the world and tone is part of what makes them land where they do.
If you’re like me, you would have found yourself in seasons, places, and times, where your words and tone have been anything but gracious and loving. How do you change it? Is it all in the mind? Is it all about affirmations? Intentions? Attitude? Can you just pray it away and leave it up to God?
It takes practice and grace, but you can rewrite the notes you send to yourself, not just the words, but the weight of them, too. The tone.
Paul finished his sentence above with: “And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.”
NOTE TO SELF: of which you are most glorious.