It’s the Words You Say that will Steer your life

Their life was like a ship heading for the rocks, but with new words and affirmations, the ship slowly began to steer in a new direction. Thoughts change when we take charge.

‘Bitch.’

That was the word on the pendant necklace hanging around her neck. I was visiting her at her temporary home. Temporary because this was the psych ward.

She was in there because she wanted to kill herself.

I wondered if any of the psychiatrists and mental health people would challenge her on the words that hung around her neck. I hoped so.

Then again, we live in such a politically correct, super sensitive, non-directive world that maybe no one would say a thing.

I told her that she wasn’t a bitch, and having that word hung around her neck was having a corrosive effect on her soul.

Every day she had it around her neck. It reinforced a thinking track, a rut, a groove. Every day that path got deeper and deeper.

The power of a word to steer

What’s a word that has been worked and ruminated into your subconscious?

Maybe it’s a word that was spoken at you from a very young age, and you have adopted it as your own: parents, siblings, schoolyard bullies, to name but a few options with cursing tongues.

Then you have nurtured that little word, kept repeating it, and every time you made a mistake or stumbled, it confirmed the ‘truth’ of that word for you.

Then you added a few other words. The super-powerful words of ‘I am.’

You created an affirmation. You were firming up the word to be part of your identity.

  • I am stupid
  • I am a bitch
  • I am an idiot
  • I am a failure
  • I am a fool
  • I am a _____ (name your poisoned words)

It’s those little words that we probably don’t say out loud, but instead, we whisper them in our souls.

We have done this all our lives, and now they are so ingrained that they feel like facts.

Affirmations of truth

He was so secure in his identity that he was rock solid. He was and is the great ‘I am.’

What Jesus said about himself

  • ‘I am the bread of life.’John 6:35
  • ‘I am the way.’ John 14:6
  • ‘I am the truth.’ John 14:6
  • ‘I am the life.’ John 14:6
  • ‘I am the vine.’ John 15:1
  • ‘I am the good shepherd.’ John 10:11
  • ‘I am the door.’  John 10:9
  • ‘I am the resurrection and the life.’  John 11:25

Jesus knew himself. His identity was secure, and it rattled the world.

Jesus knew his identity and shared it to reassure us about the invite he offers to us.

We have a door we can go through, a shepherd to follow, a vine to draw from, a light to shed on our path, a hope, and a future, a daily bread to be nourished from.

Jesus didn’t need to use affirmations to firm us his identity, but we need to. We doubt and get storm-tossed. Our brain is not perfect.

We are in transformation mode.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds. Romans 12:2

I need to keep telling myself my truest God-granted identity.

The disputing word ‘Yet.’

Some words in our English language act like a pivot, a hinge, a turning point. They offer a change in direction.

Words such as ‘and’ and ‘but.’

I think one other is the word ‘yet.’ It is a conjunction.

‘Yet’ says ‘I know how this is at the moment, but I will look at things differently, choose a different path.’

It’s a word that can be used to dispute our current thinking track. To challenge our beliefs and feelings, and thoughts with alternatives.

That is the way it was used by a guy called Habakkuk

Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3:17-18

I want to dispute the struggle I am in with the larger story of God’s eternal goodness to me.

Life can be tough – fig trees not budding, no grapes, olive crops failing, failures in the field, and the sheep pen and cattle stalls empty – yet I am going to still trust.

There is a larger story going on. One that I’m not fully aware of but I am part of.

When I use the word ‘yet,’ it is a choice to take the road less traveled.

It’s easy to travel down the road of ‘I am stupid’ because I have done it all my life. It’s familiar, comfortable, well worn, but it will always take me to the same old place.

The road less traveled requires a ‘Yet I will’ siding against my old familiar thinking tracks. To steer into a new direction.

It’s going to feel awkward, strange, a ‘waste of time.’ There will be a resistance you run into as you push against the gravity of the stinky thinky.

From ‘Bitch’ to ‘Blessed’

I wonder what would have happened in the woman I mentioned earlier if she had taken the ‘Bitch’ pendant off and replaced it with a ‘Blessed’ pendant.

That every time she had feelings and thoughts of being a bitch, she would have disputed the lies.

‘I know that my thoughts and feelings of being a bitch come from an old life, yet I am telling myself the truth that I am blessed.’

We have to take responsibility for the thinking paths we travel along.

Daily I am affirming Gods firming words about me into my thinking. This flows into my actions.

Steering the ship of your thoughts

Imagine yourself standing behind the helm or steering wheel of a huge old sailing ship.

You control this huge ship, and the captain says to come around to bearing 185 degrees.

You look down to the compass and slowly turn the huge wheel in a new direction. Ropes move under the deck, and the rudder alters and changes.

There is resistance against the change. Push back. You have to keep hold and steer that wheel in that new direction. Even more so when there is a storm around you.

After a little while, the ship moves in this new direction that you have set.

Changing your life takes time.

That old ship of your life takes time to come around to your new direction. You hold the wheel against the resistance of all your previous thinking courses.

It’s you taking responsibility for you.

It’s building a thinking compass that will hold and steer you to a new and better course.

Are you like a ship heading for the rocks?

Maybe you want to change direction, feel the pull to a new course.

With new words and affirmations, your ship will slowly begin to steer in a new direction. Thoughts change when we take charge.

Quotes to consider

  • The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences, but Teflon for positive ones. [This] shades “implicit memory” – your underlying expectations, beliefs, action strategies, and mood – in an increasingly negative direction. Rick Hanson
  • Believing all of my emotions is the shortest way into the loop of insanity. First the truth, then faith in the truth, then the feelings will come around.  David Riddell
  • In order to oppose the influence and direction of one’s old feelings, a rational mind first needs a very good reason. Without truth to reassure, change isn’t possible. David Riddell
  • It’s not enough to simply read the truth, it must be allowed to ‘sink in.’ If truth doesn’t saturate, change remains cosmetic. David Riddell
  • The truth will set you free to enter heaven, but first, it will hurt like hell. First the pain, then the gain. First the death, then the resurrection. David Riddell
  • Don’t try to dispel a wrong belief. Rather displace it with a better insight. It’s only the truth that can set us free. David Riddell
  • If you only tolerate ideas that agree with your existing beliefs, how will you ever discover new truth or identify your own blind spots? David Riddell
  • To achieve radical change, I need to call some of my feelings ‘liars’ and choose to side with the truth against my own emotions until my feelings come around. David Riddell
  • Your mistaken beliefs are your real enemy and will continue to cause you pain until you find and embrace the needed truth. David Riddell
  • In order to oppose the influence and direction of one’s old feelings, a rational mind first needs a very good reason. Without truth to reassure, change isn’t possible. David Riddell
  • Your concept of yourself can oppose God’s ability to help you. He cannot violate it to change you without raping your identity. Eventually, we must go to Him to discover who we are. David Riddell
  • Give yourself the identity you actually aspire to, not the identity you automatically adopted before you were old enough to know better, then ‘fake it ’till you make it. David Riddell

Questions to consider

  1. Have you got a word that you repeatedly say to yourself that needs to go? What would be a better, more truthful word that you could replace it with?
  2. How can you incorporate the word ‘Yet’ into your daily thinking and prayer life?
  3. Steering the ship of your life takes focused and purposeful effort. What is a simple daily affirmation that you can speak to yourself that will shift the rudder and move your life?

Further reading

Every Footprint Needs Affirmation

No More Lies. Stay Grounded in Reality

You’re Not a Problem. It’s Not Who You Are

Barry Pearman

Photo by Maximilian Weisbecker on Unsplash

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