Have you ever watched a game with an avid fan? They probably talked to the television throughout the match. Maybe they yelled when tension rose! You could be that fan and you know exactly what I’m talking about! You (or they) are probably not a real expert and yet that never stopped anyone from having an opinion.
Just like a sports commentator interprets every move of every player, most of us comment on even the most inconsequential events in our lives. There is an inner commentary that most of us listen to, not even questioning the truth of what we are hearing.
You spill your coffee, and wonder, “Why am I so stupid?” Someone cuts you up in traffic, and you think, “It’s going to be one of those days!” Your boss doesn’t like your work, and you tell yourself, “I’m never going to make it.” A friend blows you out, and you say, “No-one really likes me.”
Before we go any further, let’s look at the truth of these inner reactions. Spilling your coffee just means that you spilt your coffee! It does not have anything to do with your intelligence – even if you do it regularly! Maybe the lid just needs to be tightened tomorrow?
Someone cutting you up in traffic is not an indicator or foreteller! It has no power to affect your day, unless of course you let it. Difficult feedback does not mean you won’t make it, in fact, learning from mistakes is one of the best ways to grow.
Being let down does not say anything about how loved you are, it says that your friend made a mistake. We can choose to speak back to negative commentaries. If you hear an inner voice saying, “You get everything wrong”, you can speak back, “Actually I get lots of things right!”
The problem can be made worse by the snowball effect. One negative whisper often triggers a tirade of condemnation. Wondering, “Why am I so stupid?” leads to, “I never get anything right, I can’t even drink my coffee without messing up…” and even, “What’s the point of trying?”
If we don’t stop the negativity, it drags us down. The commentary influences our attitudes and sets our mood. You may have been okay when you woke up, but before you know it, you’re fed up and disillusioned.
Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he…” Our thoughts (even about everyday issues) shape our outlook on life. Late trains, bad traffic, busy streets can only affect our attitudes if we listen to the negative commentaries.
The problem is that our moods don’t just affect us, they impact others as well. If you listen to the negative commentary, you may walk into work feeling down or annoyed. When a manager is considering who to promote, they will probably be more likely to pick someone who is positive.
Our thoughts affect our attitudes and our lives. Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think…” Challenging negativity and then choosing to think the right thoughts will change your life.
We can get through even the most difficult seasons if we filter our thoughts. When you hear a pessimistic reaction to the events of your life, catch the bad thought and speak back to yourself with what God says. You will be amazed how much more you thrive in life.
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