How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!
Psalm 139:17-18a (NLT)
What has your self-talk been like today? Did you wake up, looked in a mirror and thought that you don’t look good enough? Did you go to work, didn’t perform as well as you do usually do and you’re beating yourself up? Or maybe a friend got upset with you and you think you can’t maintain a relationship?
Whether this has been your self-talk or not, the truth is that, even on our best days, we don’t always see ourselves in a positive light and we may be our own biggest critic. I’m working on my self-talk but still have moments when I think that I don’t measure up, that I keep failing, that I’m not good enough.
When God comes into the pictures, something amazing happens. Even in my worst moments, God has many precious thoughts about me, as the psalmist says. Despite the fact that God knows us from the very beginning and he knows our every action, his thoughts about us are precious.
O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do. (…)
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born. Psalm 139: 1-3 & 15-16a (NLT)
God knows everything about us – the best and the worst things, yet he only has thoughts about us that are precious. For me, it’s mind-blowing and makes me to re-consider what my self-talk is and why. And you?
My thoughts are not your thoughts
I think there can be only one response – we need to change our self-talk and, as a result, our self-image, and base them on what God, not the world around us, has to say about us.
I’m sure you’ve heard about the power of positive thinking and positive self-talk – the thing is that it’s not psychologists or life coaches who came up with this idea but God. That’s how he ordered things from the very beginning and that’s the example he gives us. We’re to think well about ourselves, not because we’re good by nature but because the one who created us is good, forgiving and he looks into our heart.
If God focused on our behaviour, mistakes and disobedience, we wouldn’t look very good in his eyes. But our sins are forgiven because of what Jesus has done and God sees us through his prism. God looks at our hearts and he knows that inside we want to be close to him.
What’s more, this psalm comes from the Old Testament which was, of course, written before Jesus came to earth. That shows us that that’s how it was from the beginning – we’re precious to God always and no matter what. He created us from love and like every child is precious to their parents, we’re precious to our heavenly father.
Self-talk through the eyes of God
I’ve recently heard three pieces of advice that are very useful in this context. Hopefully, they’ll be helpful to you too and will help you to change the way you think of yourself.
The first one comes from the ‘Word for Today‘ by Bob and Debbie Gass:
The way you think inevitably reflects the way you live. So to become the best version of yourself, the person God wants you to be – think great thoughts! People who live great lives are people who habitually think great thoughts. You say, ‘But I can’t help thinking the way I do.’ Then ‘let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think’ (Romans 12:2 NLT). God’s Word will help you to think with faith instead of fear, assurance instead of anxiety, and joy instead of negativity. Once you ‘set your mind on what the Spirit desires’, your life will begin to change for the better.
The second one is from the same source but from another day’s reading:
Psychologists say we try to conform to the image of us that’s seen by the most important person in our lives. So can you imagine what would happen if you started seeing yourself as God sees you? The truth is, you’re His redeemed child and He sees you through the blood of Jesus, which cleanses all your sins (see 1 John 1:9). There’s nothing you can do to make God love you more, and nothing you can do to make Him love you less! And that’s the good news!
The last but not least piece of advice came from a YouTube video and is about talking to ourselves in the same way as we would talk to others.
If a friend had a bad day at work or a kid at school, would you tell them they’re terrible and can’t do anything properly? No, you wouldn’t. You would rather encourage them, make them a nice cup of tea or hot chocolate, hug them and tell them that one bad day isn’t the end of the world.
If someone was tired or feeling under the weather, you wouldn’t tell them to stick to what they were doing until they were exhausted. You would rather encourage them to have a nap or stay in bed with a good book and take things easy. So, why don’t we say these things to ourselves?
If these are the things we would say to others, why we are so negative towards ourselves? I’m sure you can see the difference in these two approaches. Try it on yourself and you’ll see a real difference in everyday life.
Precious & many
What God thinks of you and me is precious! This is good news. The bad news is – we need to change our thinking and self-talk and I hope that this post helps you to realise that. The good thing is – we don’t have to do it on our own. We’ve got the Holy Spirit to guide us and show us that God’s way is better.
God is the author of the book with your name in the title and which ‘character’ dares to disagree with their creator? By negative self-talk we offend God and his beautiful creation – you and me. We question if he was really right by making us like this or like that and this is not our role to play.
God is constantly thinking of you and me and ALL of his thoughts are good, positive, praising, precious. If we want to be obedient to him today, let’s change the way we think of and speak to ourselves. Let the Spirit change us and realise that God is the most important person in our lives and the only image of ourselves we need to aim for is the image he’s got of us. And that image says: PRECIOUS.