Back in the ’80s, my husband I lived in a big turn-of-the century farmhouse in the country. One night I was awakened to a strange pinging noise, followed by a whoosh. I flipped on our bedside lamp and discovered a bat trying to make an escape out our window, only to be foiled with every new attempt and ricocheted back into the room.
I immediately screamed to wake the dead, dove to the floor with a sheet over my head, and began a blind scramble toward our closed bedroom door. My husband Dan beat me out of the room, slamming the door behind him to trap the bat inside (with his screaming wife), and ran downstairs to don his famous Bat Suit: trench coat, baseball cap, and gloves. Then he ran to the basement stairwell and grabbed the BatBasher–his college tennis racket–and ran back to rescue his wife.
After about twenty minutes of my crawling around on the floor under a sheet and bashing my head against the bedroom door, I finally escaped. And after about an hour of hitting and missing, Dan finally bashed the bat and we were able to return to bed with the lights on so I could sleep with my eyes open for the remainder of the night.
Several things became instantaneously clear the moment that night the minute I recognized a bat was in my bedroom:
- A predator and enemy had invaded my territory.
- If we wanted to get rid of it, Dan and I would have to get out of bed and exert some effort.
- We’d need to choose the right weapon for the job.
- And just about the time we thought we’d finished the job, another bat would probably invade our territory again. Social creatures those bats–they like to hang out with friends.
Lately I’ve been fighting a lot of battles with self-talk. Pretty funny, right, for the author of a book on self-talk? God’s been teaching me that our battles with self-talk are a lot like cleaning out the “varmint” nests that we build in the attics of our minds.
When it comes to negative self-talk and lies, we must
- Recognize and admit that an enemy of our soul has invaded our territory–an untruth or lie that has the power to destroy us or lead us down a path inconsistent with God’s best for us.
- Get up and challenge the status quo. We must exert effort. We must do something new. And we must do it with a force that confronts the lie as an enemy.
- Choose a weapon appropriate to the task: truth. First and foremost, that truth must be the Word of God.
- Go on the attack. Forming new patterns of thinking means becoming proactive in evaluating what we’re thinking, why we believe what we believe, and whether or not our rationale for truth is sound. Galatians 6:3-5 reminds us we’re easily self-deceived: “If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.”
- Shine a bright light in the corners of the attic of your mind. Don’t be surprised what you find there. Engage in the regular process of examining your self-talk and questioning what you tell yourself, your motives, and your goals.
The truth of the matter was, the bat had to die (Yes, die, people. Deal with it.) because it was a disease-carrying, guano-glopping rodent—a threat to my family and me.
And our unbiblical, negative self-talk is also a poisonous enemy of our soul. We’d love to hear from you and what you’re doing to clean out the attic of your mind.