Overcome Negativity

The Saboteur Within

Have you ever watched someone enthusiastically take a hold of a project or idea and start infusing it with their special talent? I find it very motivating because you can just see the energy bursting forth from their being as they accept the challenge. Do you agree? You may even be one of those beautiful souls. As for me, I choose to stop to consider if I have the talent, the resources, the desire to invest and so on. Those considerations are wise and detrimental. It’s detrimental when it positions me in front of the door leading to self-sabotage. When I walk through that dismal door I’m smack dab in self-judgment, critical assessment, and self-condemnation. These are obstacles preventing me from moving forward and trying the new thing. Crazy, isn’t it?

MasterpieceFor we are God’s masterpiece, He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 NLT

The word “masterpiece” describes something of such high quality that there are very few like it. So, my fellow masterpieces, is that how you see yourself? Are you able to look yourself in the mirror and say aloud with heartfelt conviction, I’m God’s masterpiece? We are not only a masterpiece, but the apostle Paul says there are good things each one of us have been created to do. Those words should be invigorating unless there’s a saboteur lurking inside you. When self sabotage revs ups, courage gets trampled. We miss out when the saboteur gets a say. When I see myself as God’s masterpiece, not yet perfected but a work in process, then I can be bold and courageous.

You have within you special and unique qualities and you get to decide how much of yourself you’ll put out there in the world. You get to choose to share your heart with that other heart God’s placed on your life path. You get to trust that God has given you or will give you exactly what you need for today and for your tomorrows. When we critique our abilities and resources while weighing the situation before us, then we’re moving into the area of self-sabotage. I define self-sabotage this way: condemnation or self-defeating judgment about past performance that is applied to a present opportunity. Too many times I let my inner saboteur talk me out of God assignments, learning new skills, and living new adventures. Who is could be a better judge than me as to my capability? We all know the answer to that question! Take this to heart: as God’s masterpiece, any lesser alternative perception of yourself cannot be more significant than God’s view of you.

EmbersDo not stifle the Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 NLT

 We must guard against moving into the territory of stifling or quenching the Spirit within. The Spirit is equated to a fire, a vibrant, active fire in our soul. And just like any fire, it can be reduced to smoldering embers. I smother the Holy Spirit when I discount my worth, my abilities, and my usefulness in God’s kingdom. The verses I provided from 1 Thessalonians and Ephesians are the same verses that awakened me to see my persistent self-judgment and condemnation. But perhaps the most significant verse that impacted me was the one from Luke 6:37-38, Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. The words judge and condemn jumped off the page and pierced my heart, I knew it was no longer acceptable for me to engage in self-defeating judgment and self-condemnation. Previously, I read this verse as applicable to my actions toward others, but that day God wanted me to apply it to how I treated my own heart. What about you? Do you need to treat yourself with a little more kindness and a lot less judgment and condemnation? You and I are called to share our uniqueness with this crazy world. You are God’s beloved, a delight in His eyes and He is your biggest fan! Embrace that truth and quench the inner saboteur. 

SabotageWhen I get into self-sabotage mode, I take two action steps to get me back on track: Thought-Capture Self Check and Power Talk Statements. Power talk is a great heart lift because it's based off of verses from the Bible. Try these out or share these tips with anyone who may be struggling to see themselves as God sees them. We so need to lift each other up and encourage. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you’ve read here. Please comment here or post on the Hearts Encouraged FB page. Fondly, Terri

Icon Hearts Encouraged (2) Action Step 1 – Thought-Capture Self Check

This self-check is about listening to your internal dialogue and your external verbalization. Monitor what you’re thinking and saying about yourself. Track specific words or phrases you use. Below are sentence starters and phrases that are often associated with sabotaging statements.

I’ll never…

I can’t…

I’m not…

I’m too…

I’m afraid…

How will I…

But…

God can’t…

God won’t…

What if…

It’s impossible.

It’ll never work.

I’m not sure I can.

Once you’ve started really listening to what you say and think about yourself, your second step is to challenge those statements that fall under the category of condemnation, judgment, self-pity, or devaluing yourself. Ask the Holy Spirit for help and use Bible verses like Romans 8:31-39 (The Message): If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? God can give courage, ability, strength, and the power to reframe your perspective and your thoughts or verbalizations.

Icon Hearts Encouraged (2) Action Step 2 - Power Talk

You need to power talk! It’s food for the heart and soul. You can find plenty of power talk in the Bible. Check out the list below and use these on a daily basis. Be your own champion! Encourage yourself! You’ll find yourself changing how you view yourself and living life better than before.

Power Talk Statements

I can’t wait to see what God will do today.

I choose to be a bold adventurer in my relationship with God.

God has compassion on me.

God has mercy on me.

I have strength to face this day through Jesus.

God’s given me a spirit of power and love.

God delights in me.

God and I will fan into a flame the gifts He has given me to serve.

I can eagerly expect and hope in God.

God calls me to courage.

I am not afraid—God’s presence is with me.

I will have no fear of bad news because I trust in God.

God has the power to do what He promises.

I am not alone, forsaken, nor abandoned.

I am God’s masterpiece and His child.

God’s blessing will enable me to do anything and everything He sets before me.

God knows the plans He has for my life.


Drifting with the Current

Hello and Welcome! Today's post is brimming with tip points and action steps to encourage you journey on your faith walk. Last month was the blog's birthday and if you haven't yet received your birthday gift for being a subscriber, just go to the October link under Archives in the sidebar for information on how to get your free book! Now on to the post...

Have you passed by a conversation in process and get a vibe? Or, have you ever gathered for a meeting and felt the tension in the room? How do you feel when you’re part of negative, pessimistic, derogatory or sarcastic conversation? I truly believe negativity has a feel to it. Even more, when we are in a negative environment, it changes the status of our muscles, blood pressure, heart rate, breath, peace, thoughts, and attitude. Negativity dims and tangles the heart and mind. Just talking about it makes me gloomy!

Thankfully, we are also wonderfully affected by the polar opposite of negativity! We do our body and soul good when we offer affirming and positive words, receive smiles, share laughter, listen with understanding, and extend gratitude. These acts lift and brighten our hearts. I can remember a day I watched some people having a great laugh and I thought to myself, when is the last time you laughed, grinned, or giggled? I couldn’t give myself an answer. I don't know how long it's been since I laughed until my stomach muscles hurt and tears were rolling down my face. That bothered me so I decided to take note of how much negativity I’m exposing myself to on a day to day basis. Breaking news! is always negative. Then there are the prompts by media to look at the disturbing video and listen to the angry exchange of words. I get to see and hear way more than I need. Advertisers, too, try to get my attention with negative twists.

Snorkel boatHe reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. --2 Samuel 22:29

In deep waters is where I found myself several years ago when I became immersed in negativity.  I liken it to my experience of snorkeling. I’ve snorkeled a few times in my life so far in Mexico, Grand Caymen, and the Turks and Caicos. It was in Grand Caymen that I learned what not to do. Whether on land or sea, I get distracted. When I snorkel in the ocean, I’m so focused on the beauty of the coral and other ocean life beneath me that it’s easy to lose track of my position. I can’t truly gauge my location from the boat because I’m face down in the water. I’m unaware that the tide and current is causing me to drift, moving me further and further from the boat. If the current takes me away from the boat, then I will have to fight that current to get back. That’s the mistake I made. By the time I came up to check my location, I was a significant distance from the boat. The only way back is to swim against the current and if it’s strong then it can be very difficult and tiring. (By the way, the boat won’t come to you.) I made it back but it was hard and exhausting.

So, how does drifting relate to negativity? Negativity causes you to drift from your starting point--that being a heart filled with gratitude, hope, and trust in the Lord. When you’re focused on the negative you don’t realize your position has changed.

Snorkeling-1197011_640Drifting with the current…

There was a time when I indulged myself an occasional complaint or a grumble. I justified it as a harmless act of stress relief. And, it did feel like relief. It’s the kind of relief you feel when you enter refreshingly cool water on a blistering hot day. It felt like I was off-loading, unburdening, releasing the frustration. That’s reasonable, right? It’s no good to keep things bottled up. But, there’s a danger zone. The more often I indulged myself the further I drifted from my starting point. My stress and frustrations coupled with external negativity acted as a steady current pulling me to into deeper water. Occasional complaining or grumbling turned into a consistent pessimism and gloomy outlook. A habit was forming. My complaining, grumbling steadily transformed my mindset and attitude and day by day I drifted away from gratitude. So far from where I started, I no longer had a proper perspective on what was right and well with my life. I became a person with an all-encompassing negative outlook and viewpoint.

Why did it happen? I can’t really say except that I let it happen. Eventually, I figured what I needed to do to get back to my previous heart position. Unfortunately, it took me a long time to turn my thoughts and attitude around. Unlearning requires endurance.

 

Frustrated-2681484_640
What are the signs and symptoms of a negative attitude and perspective?

Loss of sight. The eyes of the negative heart can see no good thing. The mind’s eye becomes a negative view-finder focusing on what is not right, not fixed, not happening, not healed, and not working.

Forgetfulness. We ignore God’s presence forgetting His past faithfulness. This mindset dismisses all else that God is providing, working out, or resolving.

Ingratitude. We cannot, or choose not, to offer thanks and gratitude to God for what is and for what is not. As a negative heart and mind persists, it transforms and reforms our will.

Anxiety. Negativity increases our stress and our hearts become anxious. Negativity erodes our faith, hope, and peace.

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone whose focus is directed at the negative and unable to see what is right with their life? Let’s make it more personal. What do you reflect on more, the positive aspects of your day or the negative conversations and experiences? Take a moment to think about it. Where do your thoughts land? On the positive or the negative?

Good day

Restore Balance

Go to what delights your soul

Entertain peace in your heart

Fill your eyes with beauty

Tune your ears to songs that praise

Nurture your body with rest

Refresh your thoughts with the Word of God

Surrender unknowns to the Lord

Choose to see, perceive God’s active, working presence in your life.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power at work within us. –Ephesians 3:20

You simply can’t imagine or comprehend all that God provides to you on a moment to moment basis, but it is possible to intentionally reflect on His constant presence intervening, influencing, resolving, strengthening, directing, and involving Himself in your day.

Icon Hearts EncouragedFurther Action Steps

Catch a Negative Thought. Stop a negative thought in process and move your frame of mind in the opposite direction.

Spot the Positive. A proper perspective allows you to create positive momentum within your thoughts that is reflected through your speech and attitude.

Do a Body Check. When you catch your thoughts propelling you down the path of negativity do a body check. Is your jaw clenched? Is your heart rate increased? Are your muscles tight particularly in the abdominal region, neck, or shoulders? What you think about directly affects your body.

Evaluate your Environment. What you take in, is what comes out. Do you need to reevaluate what you consume via TV, internet, and other media? What about your work environment?

Pray. Ask God to help you break the habit of negative thinking. Ask Him to set your physical and spiritual vision on Him. Choose to see through eyes of faith and hope.