Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Who's Telling Your Story?

Last year I heard about bloggers who chose one word to focus on for the New Year. I liked this idea, but I didn't want to arbitrarily select a word.

Yet have you ever had those moments where the same point or thought keeps being emphasized? Through conversations with friends, an article you read, a scene you remember from a movie, or other daily interactions, the same theme continues to move to the forefront of your mind. I personally believe this is often God nudging us to listen.

For me, this past Sunday at church the two words "grace" and "courage" continued to resonate in my mind.

I've been reading through the Soul Detox devotional with the She Reads Truth community. The questions that this study forces you to confront (in conjunction with Scripture) have been so thought-provoking, such as "What are some of the causes of toxic thoughts in your life?" and "Why is it easier to think toxic thoughts than it is to focus our minds on the truth?" and "What types of words do you tend to speak most - toxic or life-giving?"

I began meditating on the words that I not only speak to others but what I tell myself. Are toxic thoughts affecting my inner narrative?

And then yesterday on the way to work, I listened to Michael Hyatt's podcast, "Change Your Story, Change Your Life." He discussed this same topic, saying: "Inside your head and mine, there is a narrator. He or she is constantly telling us stories. These stories shape how we perceive reality." These stories can determine how we act because we start to believe what we tell ourselves, for better or for worse.

And then a friend in my book club sent her daily tip for the "Best You Ever," an email blurb she sends each day. Yesterday's tip was to remember "that the language you use can have a profound impact on whether you will manifest a positive or negative outcome for yourself. Think of the words you use as setting your intentions."

Again, I thought to my two words.

Grace: Give myself grace. By telling myself that I have so much to do with starting my company that I cannot possibly get everything done, I won't. By telling myself that I have to do everything perfectly in order to build up a good brand for my company, I will make myself anxious. Instead, I need to accept grace and remember that my identity is not in what I do. I believe that my identity is in Christ. His grace covers me. By recognizing this blessing I can change my inner voice. I am re-writing my inner narrative to focus on the joy of doing what I love and on the opportunity to speak into students' lives.

Courage:  By accepting grace, I am able to let God's strength work through me. I have a new confidence and assurance. "He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me... For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12). Giving myself grace doesn't mean that I give myself permission to slack off. Instead, I have a new courage to approach my work with a joyful boldness. 

So I ask you a question from Soul Detox, "How different is your life when you focus your thoughts on what is true and good rather than on toxic thoughts?"

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