I Couldn't Stop the Voices

I can still remember how bad it felt when I heard those words again. My business was about to launch and I was full of excitement and energy and then I heard the words again:

"Who do you think you are? Who do you think is going to listen to you? Hire you? Who do you think is going to want to work with you?"

All I wanted to do was agree with him. I kept thinking, "yeah, who do I think I am to want to venture into this?"

Just who was asking me these questions? It was me.  

It was that fear-driven, self-judging bullying part of me that kept confronting me. Maybe self-judgement bullies you too. 

Maybe the voice in your head questions your skill level or your talents. Maybe it questions you on your audacious dreams and points to the fact that it will be so hard for you to accomplish. Or maybe it reminds you of all your past failures in school, relationships, business, and cautions you to not pursue your calling. Perhaps it illuminates how much "better" everyone else is based upon their reputation, looks, or financial status.

You agree to what that voice in your head is telling you and you stop. You stop dreaming. You stop studying, You stop risking. You stop talking about your goals. You stop the hustle. You stop praying about it.

You just stop. 

You may have heard of the power of affirmation which is the action or process of affirming something or being affirmed; emotional support or encouragement. Psychologists and researchers have delivered many studies that state that if you receive a ton of affirmation, your level of belief goes up tremendously. In other words, experiencing support and hearing encouraging words influences your mind to begin to think better about yourself. 

If you hear something over and over again it'll be imprinted in your mind. Whatever you hear you will save it as the truth about you. And if that is true for affirmations, then it is also true for self-judgement. Maybe you have heard all your life that you'll never amount to anything or that you won't be better than a sibling because they were always the smart one. You heard certain things since childhood and they became imprinted in your brain. It's become who you are.

It's all in the words you say and hear

What is said, whether audibly or in thought, is being heard and received by your brain. Proverbs says, "Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit - you choose." (MSG)

Think about the words you are currently speaking to yourself. Are they sweet like fruit? Are they benefitting you, feeding you healthy doses of belief? Or are they killing you? Are they poisoning every dream you have?

An emotional impact could very well brand what you'll end up believing. The majority of our fears originate from impactful emotional memory. Something horrible happens to you (maybe someone leaves us, we get humiliated, we fail miserably, etc.) and that experience you once had has kept you enslaved. So even your memories, like your words, can kill your hope. 

Your beliefs drive your behavior. All the great thinkers have taught as that we become what we believe. A person never outperforms their own self-image.

There is power in faith and disbelief. It depends on what master you serve. 

Your results only reflect which truth you belief. If you think that you can't then you won't. If you think that God doesn't love you, then you'll live under condemnation. When you think differently, you'll respond differently. The Bible calls this repentance. To think different or to turn away.

There are always lies creeping into our minds that are fueled by experiences or memories of someone saying hurtful things to us. 

"Who do you think you are?"

"Who is going to listen to you?"

"Where are you going to get the money?"

Trying something new requires failure. I'm not saying there's a chance you're going to fail, you will fail. As someone who is trying to expand, you don't get things right the first time. As an adult, you will want to get things right the first time although it doesn't really work that way. You need to build your wings on the way down. You're going to have to learn to succeed through your failures. As a child learns to walk by getting feedback every time they fall, we too learn to walk by failing. 

You need to do. This is part of the learning process. 

Every part of you wants to scream and tell you that you're not ready, and the truth is that you may not be ready and that is ok. You will apply faith. That is where it is most powerful. In order for us to see our faith manifested, we must continuously put ourselves in positions where faith is required to step forward. 

When you try to do something you've never done anything before you may encounter doubt and fear but those are common. It may get frustrating to try to navigate through life when you're constantly encountering doubt and fear. It's confusing when you know you are called, but don't know the details (the when/how/where/who) on how to go about the calling. 

Exploration, curiosity, imagination, adventure, faith, belief, dream, are all God-given resources to figure things out. The discovery and exploration is what the exercise of faith, the belief that if we do, God is with us, and that if we are to fail, He will be there to lift us up. It is the freedom that He has granted us; To honor Him with our faith in doing what we believe we can for His sake, is one the greatest ways we can worship our creator. We bless the world with the our God-given gifts.

Be a kid

A child will never look at a box of cookies and disqualify himself out of it. My nephew, Andre, barely knew how to walk but he has always been daringly adventurous and dangerously curious. One day, my family heard a sound coming from the dark dinning room. When they flicked on the lights, they saw there, on the dinning table, baby Andre with a huge jar of sugar. He had it all over the table, his mouth, and his clothes. He raised his sugar-skin hand and waved it bashfully to show his amused parents what he had discovered on his own. 

What amazes me the most about that story, is that this child didn't let the dark, the height, his limited strength, or anything else stop from getting up there.

Have you ever witnessed such a feat by a child? I think we all have some sort story we could share of a child doing improbable things, and we chuckle and say, "that's what kids do." Exactly! Jesus said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)

Jesus said these words after His disciples were reprimanding the kids for gathering around Jesus. The kids weren't thinking about stature, or their unworthiness. Their curiosity was attracted to the love and compassion Jesus has for humanity. And so they approached Him in total confidence. 

We need to take the same innocent approach to overcoming the self-judgement that enslaves us. Why don't you approach your heart's desire with confidence? It's because of that voice in your head that says, "who do you think you are?"

It took me years to restart a blog because I was so worried that people wouldn't read it and because I felt like I had nothing to say. The fact that you're reading this shows you how child-like I now am! 

What are you believing about yourself?

All of us from time to time have been our own worst critics. Our behaviors come from habits that are fueled by our beliefs about ourselves. One of my mentors would always say, "your beliefs will dictate how you live." Our beliefs are so important because they shape us more than anything else. 

When you step out to do something new, all of your conditioning serves to keep you where you are. It keeps you safe. That's what your body wants.

The self-judgement is coming from you. And that becomes your identity. You can't separate the belief from who you are. They are intertwined. How do we become conditioned to become who we are? It may be that some parent told you that you weren't good enough, or someone said you'd never amount to much, or an offense of some kind impacted you painfully and made you believe you deserved it. Or maybe it was your surroundings, people telling you that this is how life is and it can't get any better because you are just like the rest.

Blending in with your culture also conditions to stay at the level as those around you. If you grew up impoverished, chances are  that you believe that that is the life that you will always live. If you grew up surrounded by negativity you may not realize that you've accepted that positivity is an outlier rather than the norm for your life. 

The sinful nature that we are born with easily binds us to the fear of our true calling. It will never allow you the freedom to self-sacrifice for what you were called for. Living in your purpose can only happen when you repent and take the mindset of a winner. Everything shifts at that point of redemption. You may still fear the unknown but now you're confidence lies in Who you know. 

Your mind is fear driven. Every time you want to do something meaningful the volume of your thoughts will go up. It makes no sense in trying to stop it. In fact, I would encourage you to listen to what you are actually saying to yourself. Pay attention to what cowards you. 

Without even knowing, people compare themselves to other people. This judgement is not only paralyzing but it's also damaging because God didn't make you in comparison to someone else. He purposely made you unique to His glorious will for your life. 

This habitual way of thinking is the reason most people aren't effective in seeing their potential as they could be. Negative self-judgement and self-critiscm could be the one thing holding you back. You could think it is the economy, the lack of support, your limited experience, your appearance, your education or lack of skills. You deprive yourself of the opportunity to live creatively when you are operating out of self-judgement. 

Make no mistake. It is a form of hate. It infiltrates you and you can't believe God would love you. That causes you to dismiss every beautiful truth that His grace offers us. 

And so maybe you've began to allow those thoughts in your head to become an actual audible part of your everyday speech. Maybe you make fun of yourself or marginalize yourself. Do you find yourself talking yourself out of taking the necessary risks it takes to come toward your calling? You do this because you think that it will lessen the pain of the critics and those looking on you. You think that beating them to the punch will lessen the shame of hearing their opinions of you. Stop it. 

You are special. 

You are more than those negative words would want you to believe. 

Freely embrace the fact that you can endure all things because Jesus Christ is enough. You don't ever have to think about yourself in self-demoralizing ways anymore. 

Please, share this with anyone you can think of that needs to read this message. They will love you for it.