Introducing “self-talk,” in which you write a letter to yourself and God about your struggles, prevailing thoughts, things happening in life, or anything really.
And no, this isn’t any of that “I am strong,” “I am perfect,” “I am so beautiful” sort of talk you do in front of the mirror in an effort to boost your self-esteem. This is an authentic, biblical way to pour your heart before God. Search Psalms where David poured out his heart before God, crying out, “Why are you downcast, O my soul?” and in many other personal prayers in the Psalms (Ps. 43:5). This is such a biblical form of praying and is so nourishing, especially when going through hard times.
I wrote a self-talk prayer below, my first and only self-talk piece so far, during a worship service in my church last week. I was suddenly prompted to scribble down words nonstop that had started running through my mind. It was hard to fight back the tears. This prayer is very personal and dear to me, as it describes a hard time I recently went through and still am going through. I sincerely hope that this will possibly speak to you and touch you, even in the slightest possible way.
I know you feel uneasy and worried because you don’t know what will come next around the bend of this long… long… road—the highway of life. How could you? But God could. God does. And God will guide you. God will be your traffic light. You just got to look up and follow His light. Green. Red. Yellow. It’s as straightforward as that. Follow His signal. And yet it will be hard, and sometimes it may seem like there’s a blanket of fog blocking your view as you trudge down that highway—a fog so thick you feel you can’t catch a glance of that traffic light or the path ahead. You can’t make out green, red, or yellow. Sometimes, there could be bumps, holes, cracks in the road, and you will trip… fall… bleed… hurt. And you struggle to even look up at the light because you can’t think of a reason why it would be of any help to you now as you descend deeper and deeper into your confusion.
Sometimes you bump into other travelers, those who seem like kindred spirits—acquaintances turned friends… turned suspicious… turned traitors… turned strangers… and maybe even turned enemies. You will feel like the friendly hand that once shook your hand, held your hand, caressed your hand has grabbed a dagger of jealousy and manipulation, stabbing you in the heart, right through you from the back—from the back, so you could never have seen it coming. And the shock, surprise, jolting sting of pain rips you apart even more. It unnerves you. And you fall again. And the world turns dark. The road turns dark, so dark you can’t see ahead.
You can’t see the days, months, years, decades ahead. You see nothing—nothing but a glowing light that can’t help but stand out in the piercing darkness: the traffic light. Over these years, well more like months (you aren’t that old), you’ve realized that sometimes, many times, the whole world has to go dark, and all your petty, worldly joys have to be extinguished like itty bitty flames on candles you’ve clung onto for far too long. So long, you had lost sight of the greatest light: the traffic light—as you’ve been absorbed, enraptured, taken in by this delusional, seductive flame on the little candle, so fleeting, so easily put out, but so… tempting… addictive.
That is when a force of wind, so strong, blows it out, knocking the candle out of your trembling hands, and with it, all that seemed worth living for. But then, you blink your eyes, filled with tears—tears of pain and remorse, but also the tears that clear your vision—your vision so fogged up by the temptations and alluring pleasures of the world—now soaked and rinsed by tears of loss, you see clearly the beacon of hope before you that has been there all along… waiting for you, preparing you, loving you, breaking you, and molding you: the traffic light. Oh, that dazzling, overpowering light. And now, under its bright rays, the world seems so clear. You feel stuck—so elated by the light that has shone on your life and given it a lasting meaning, unlike the fleeting fulfilment of the itty bitty flames. But at the same time, you can’t help but still feel the pain because deep in your memory, buried deep, deep, deep somewhere is the flame—the flame you once loved, the fleeting joy, the “friend,” or “fulfilling pleasure” that had once given you meaning. But guess what? God had to blow that out. If He hadn’t, that flame would’ve become your whole world, capturing your soul along with it. You would be consumed in the flame of counterfeit bliss.
Green. Red. Yellow. Follow the light. At times, it may seem like you are following blindly. You do not see what’s around the bend.
Fog = How we may be confused and caught up in the mundanity and responsibilities of life. Many times, being busy really clouds our spiritual life, making it harder to seek God’s direction because it seems like we never have the time to pick up our Bible, meditate on God’s Word, or talk to Him in prayer.
Bumps on the road = Just the really hard times in life, like losing a loved one, getting fired on a job, or even receiving a really bad grade. In times when we are desperately grieved or stressed, we tend to just curl up in our own mental palace, looking for comfort in ourselves or things we achieve, rather than looking up to God. He is the number one person we should turn to in difficult situations.
Fellow travelers = Friends who betray you and people who hurt you. I personally have experienced having friends like these, and recovering from the pain of betrayal is real. It’s easy to hate them and try to get back at them, but it’s hard to handle it wisely. I wrote this section, seeking for God’s direction on how to heal such wounds and do the right thing in this situation.
Flame = Anything you base your identity or happiness on–basically your idol–the thing that fulfills you and keeps you going in life, and your motivation to wake up every day. The problem of misplaced identity in the pursuit of happiness is probably the MAJOREST (okay, that isn’t a word but you get my point) problem in the world today. It’s the reason for the biggest issues like suicide, drugs, addiction, self-harm, eating disorders, peer pressure, you name it. All of us want to be loved. All of us want acceptance. And if we don’t look for it in the right place, we will look for it in the wrong places. Just like the flame, things like friends, romance, popularity, or beauty are all as fleeting as a weak dandelion waving in the strong wind, about to be torn from its roots any moment. These flames may all disappear one day. They will leave us disappointed… empty… and hurt. Maybe you already know what that feels like. At the end of the day, only God will stand. He lasts forever. His truth lasts forever. His arms are open to you forever.
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
And this is the word that was preached to you.
1 Peter 1:23-25
I challenge you today. Write your own self-talk. God cares about everything going on in your life. He yearns to hear from you. Speak to Him. It doesn’t have to be long. It doesn’t need to have analogies. Just short, simple, and sincere. Pour out your heart to him, just like David did. I encourage you. Get writing! You can even speak your thoughts aloud. God always hears you, even when others don’t. You won’t regret it.
Any thoughts or reflections? I’d love to hear from you below!