Learning to Listen In: Tools for Self-Talk


A few years ago I discovered my self-talk. I mean, I REALLY discovered it. I started listening to the things I said to myself in the privacy of my head, and I didn’t like what I heard.

It was like eavesdropping on someone else, really, as I discovered I told myself I believed one thing but I convinced myself to act in totally different ways.

Love my neighbor? Sure–as long as he wasn’t the idiot cutting me off on the freeway. Then I’d justify my anger.

Honor my husband and kids? Sure–as long as I could throw in some sarcasm and criticism and make sure they knew I knew best.

Long story short, God gave me a peek inside my head so he could strip away the pride and change me. Once I saw the junk inside my head, my heart broke. I went on a mission to learn how to change my thinking (James 1:23-24).


So what did I do?

P: purchased a journal. Nothing fancy. But I’m a teacher, and I was on a mission to become a student of myself.

O: I began to observe myself. I listened to my self-talk and began to ask questions about what I was thinking and what my motives were. I talked less and listened more.

W: I wrote down what I was hearing. And some of the stuff was awful. I began to see that what I thought were good motives were often mixed with pride and selfishness. I saw my need for control and manipulative tendencies.

E: evaluated my self-talk and looked for answers to my thought patterns. At the time, I was in counseling, and I talked to my counselor about them.

R: I began to renew my mind with the truth of the Word of God, accountability with the people of God, and by listening to the conviction of the Spirit of God. We’ll never change until we change. Duh. That means taking off the old and putting on the new.

U: I worked to uproot the strongholds in my life. For me, those areas were control and manipulation. As I mentioned, I worked on those areas with a Christian counselor and watched as my thinking and behavior began to change.

P: prayed for God to reveal lies in my thinking: lies about Myself, lies about Others, lies about Relationships, lies about my Environment/circumstances, and lies about God (MORE God).

Then I did the work. I prayed. I humbled my heart. I listened. I questioned. I listened. I wrote. I learned. I learned more.

And I changed. 

Praise God. He promises to change us and make us more like Jesus through the power of his Spirit. And the most powerful tool to accomplish that goal is tapping into spiritual intimacy through the gift of self-talk.

Photo Credit: TZ Coaching.com

4 thoughts on “Learning to Listen In: Tools for Self-Talk

  1. Well, girl, you found my heart. On my way to work yesterday, roaming radio channels, I heard you on Focus with J Daly talking about this (eewww) self-talk subject. And..Wham! I knew this was about me. I HEARD myself in your experiences. A cascade of emotions followed: mortification, relief, humility. I am buying this book and going on a mission trip in my head. I soooo see myself trying to control my husband through looks, tones, words… All the while struggling with being respectful and submissive.

    Just as I was writing this, he interrupted my quiet time (what?!?!?) by laying a shopping list next to me (doesn’t he know this distracts me from my time with The Lord?!?!?). My response was a look while moving the list- clearly indicating disapproval of his interruption. Sigh. And then conviction.

    Yes, I have work to do. Thanks be to God for showing me the need and directing me to what you have learned.
    In His adventure! Nancy

    • Nancy–Sister!! You. Get. It. Prepare for the adventure. You WILL be changed. And take us along for a bit of the journey, okay? It’s amazing what we find in our heads when we start listening in–all those hidden agendas. And we ALL have them. I’m so VERY excited for what lies ahead for you. –In his wonderful grace, Shelly

  2. I listened to you on Focus on the Family yesterday. Congratulations!
    I really like this line: “And I changed.” It’s so good to know that change is possible with God’s help.

    • I hope people understand how powerful that line is. I know people who excuse their behavior, saying, “That’s just the way I am.” I’m sorry to say, they’re self-deceived. The day I realized I was self-deceived was one of the greatest days of my life because that was the day change could really begin.

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