Growing up it happened on multiple occasions that I heard these words from my Mom, “Watch the way you’re speaking to me.” I deserved it. There was an attitude in my words, and likely my body language too, that was coming full force at my Mom. There are times even as an adult, especially when I am feeling stressed, that I can become overly directive in my communication with others and I know I need to change my tone. But here’s another important truth: sometimes we need to change the tone and choice of words we are using with and about our self.
Recently I joined a Bible study at our new church because I wanted the opportunity to get to know some of the other women. (They are a cool, diverse, loving bunch.) Together we are doing a study by Priscilla Shirer called The Armor of God. It’s.so.good. And though self-reflection is not a new practice to me and is required as part of this study, I have noticed as I’ve been processing my journey in recent weeks that I have allowed some negative thoughts to seep in. And those thoughts are trying to take a toll on my confidence as a female leader.
Ever find yourself down a path and you wake up asking yourself, How on earth did I get here? Ever feel like you’re on the mountain, the view is beautiful, and you go to bed thinking tomorrow will be amazing only to wake up the next day feeling shame about who you are and you don’t want to show up and be present with other people? I think most of us have had moments like that.
But I’m exposing the lies. I’m resting in Christ. I’m choosing truth. I’ve choosing to let self-reflection lead to freedom and life, not doubt and despair.
Here are some of the ways that I am actively breaking through negative thought patterns:
- Getting curious about what is really stressing me so I can find a real solution if a problem is presenting itself. Using my journal is helpful.
- Taking my negative thoughts captive. You know all those I AMs in scripture? They apply to me too, and when we read them aloud together this past week at Bible study, here are a few that really spoke to my heart:
- I am Christ’s friend (John 15:15).
- I am chosen by Christ to bear fruit (John 15:16).
- I am chosen by God, holy and dearly loved (Col. 3:12).
- I have access to God’s wisdom (Jas. 1:5).
- I cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom. 8:35).
- I can do all things through Christ, who gives me the strength I need (Phil 4:13).
- I have been bought with a price, and I belong to God (1 Cor. 6:19, 20).
- Carving out more time to be in God’s Word, prayer, being silent.
It’s that “I belong to God” truth that is an anchor for my soul. It’s because I belong to God, it’s because I have access to his wisdom, it’s because I’m his friend, it’s because I’m chosen to bear fruit, that I can totally trust him. My job is not to make it all happen, my responsibility is to believe God’s Truth, study it, and live it. Today I take captive every thought that is contrary to God’s truth and I reject it.
Today’s reflection questions: What’s the tone and what are the words you are speaking to yourself? Does something need an adjustment? If so, what? And what responsibility is God inviting you to take in that?
Resting in Christ,
The Reverend Carmen Kampman is a woman on the road of leadership. Ordained with the PAOC, she is a steward of God’s call to women in ministry. She is on staff at Horizon College & Seminary, an Associate Pastor at Westside Pentecostal, and holds an MA in Leadership & Management from Briercrest College & Seminary.