Girl Covering Ears

Why You Should Stop Listening and Start Talking

Girl Covering Ears

I just celebrated 4 years of being married to the most wonderful man in the world. As I reflected on my life around the weeks and months after our wedding, I was reminded of a very dark time in my life. I battled depression – good days and bad days, smiles and sadness. When I was in it, I blamed my circumstances. I had just started teaching and it was a grueling first year. Garrett and I were working out how to live together (aka I was realizing how incredibly selfish I really am). I was dealing with harsh memories of unresolved guilt and shame, and a huge part of me felt really alone. Where was God in all of that? Where could I meet Him? Why wasn’t He listening to my cries for help?

Looking back now I realized that bout of lowliness came not from my circumstances, but from my lack of preparation for those circumstances. Months, even years after that season, I started listening to the things I would repeat to myself and I was astounded at how ugly those words were. So negative, damaging, threatening, unhealthy, and incredibly subtle. Have you ever caught yourself listening to yourself? What do you say to yourselves when you’re all alone in your thoughts?

I simply didn’t understand the importance of disciplining my mind until I experienced the damage that unexercised self-talk can really do to a person. It was the classic proverbial frog in the kettle. The lies were so soft and subtle at first, gradually increasing in manipulation and volume and eventually my careless, untrained, undisciplined mind was ruling my life – screaming lies so loud into my mind, I began believing them as truth. It wasn’t until by God’s grace, I recognized I was about to overheat and started replacing those lies with Truth, that the Lord was able to bring me out of that.

Eventually my careless, untrained, undisciplined mind was ruling my life – screaming lies so loud into my mind.

I began searching my Bible for pieces of scripture I could hold onto, meditate on, memorize and yes speak out loud to myself. In most of the verses I even changed the pronouns to “I” and “me,” turning my “talking” into “preaching,” which made it all the more personal. In my journey out of lowliness I also stumbled upon this old-school video by John Piper about the importance of preaching the gospel to yourself everyday. In the video he quotes Martin Lloyd-Jones, who articulates this point much clearer than I can:

Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them but there they are, talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment [in Psalm 42] was this: instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says, “Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you.” ― D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Milton Vincent, another scholar on this subject, penned this bold statement saying, “There is simply no other way to compete with the forebodings of my conscience, the condemnings of my heart and the lies of the world in the devil than to overwhelm such things with daily rehearsings of the Gospel. There is indeed simply no other way.”

Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?

No other way? Then apparently it’s this simple: It has become abundantly clear to me how important it is that I take meaningful, intentional steps to discipline my mind, taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

This isn’t something I have mastered. In fact, I’m constantly trying to memorize more and more scripture because I am just that stubborn and dense. But today I’m asking you to join me. Will you also join the countless men and women who find themselves wrestling with the same lies, and be an example to those around you of someone whose mind is dedicated and disciplined to reciting scripture instead?

What is it that you believe about yourself, your circumstances, your life, or even about God that simply isn’t true? What scriptures do you need to embed deep into your mind and heart and believe to be true?

Need a place to start? Start by saying “Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you” and then start preachin’! :)

(Can’t see the video? Check it out here.)

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Beth Nicoletto

About

:: Wife | Mother | Writer :: Beth Nicoletto serves as the Co-Founder of Self Talk the Gospel and is passionate about shepherding and challenging others to continually grow in their relationships with the Lord. Most importantly, you must know that Beth will only eat a PB&J if it has potato chips inside. There’s really no other way. You can also find her writing over at www.bethnicoletto.com. She is married to Garrett and they have one daughter, Gia, and a son arriving late November 2015.


  • Dorina Gilmore

    Yes, Beth. This is a discipline I have used through the years to battle perfectionism, anxiety and fear. He gave us an inspired Word. Time to preach it to ourselves! Preach on, sister!

    • Beth Nicoletto

      Thank you Dorina, how encouraging! If I don’t start my day off with this, by 9am my actions and thoughts are obviously “defeatist” as Piper calls it. This is something I have to be intentional about, every single day! Prayers for you my friend, keep preaching to yourself!

  • Michele Joan

    What a great article! Thank you for your candor! I love your heart that desires to serve the Lord – it’s beautiful! It IS the Word of God (the Truth) that sets us free – it IS a discipline to learn it, to know it, to practice it and allow it to transform us into His very image! I pray your inspirational words and example are heard and received by countless people! Bless you!

    • Beth Nicoletto

      Thank you Michele! This is a lesson I seem to learn over and over again. I’m so grateful for you and others who have made me feel “normal” in this, and continue to encourage me to a live a more gospel-centered life. Thanks for the support!

  • Whitney Bunker

    This is such a great post Beth. I can relate to having to speak God’s word over my messy mind ;)

    • Beth Nicoletto

      Whitney, I’m so glad I’m not the only one with a messy mind!! And I’m grateful you found this helpful. BTW, I missed meeting you at CWO in May! We’ll have to meet one day soon :)

      • Whitney Bunker

        I know! Yes, let’s do coffee soon :)

  • Teresa Kelly Evans

    Amen, Beth! Such a fantastic word, and something we’ve been talking about in our house. Thanks!

    • Beth Nicoletto

      Teresa, we are too! I lost steam so Garrett has helped pick up the slack! Let me know if you have any good tricks! :)

  • Kim Coventry Horsley

    Thanks Beth ! another great write :) so blessed by your words and how they impact my walk <3

    • Beth Nicoletto

      Kim, thank you so much. I am always so grateful for your support. You are a beloved sister in Christ! Looking forward to planning IF with you again soon :) :)

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