Has someone ever spoken a fallacy into your life? And, did you believe their statement, even if you knew it wasn’t true?
Does their statement echo through your mind too often, even though they said it 5 years ago? 15+ years ago?
When I was 15 years old, I remember singing a song to myself softly. Someone, whom I was close with, looked at me and said, “Shut-up. You can’t sing.”
From that moment until just recently, I have suffered with all-encompassing anxiety to sing in front of people. Even though I lead songs at church and have written songs, I still hear that person’s voice in my head. It doesn’t matter how many people have complimented me over the years—I hear those three belittling words—you can’t sing.
Why are we compliant to dwell on the negativity of one person or fixate our thoughts on the lies the enemy whispers into our ear? And, why is it so challenging to concentrate on the positivity of other people’s statements and the encouragement we receive from God and His word?
I am thousands of miles away from this person and living in a different country, and yet, their words have taken residence in my mind for far too long and they still sting.
And, so I ask, “How do we evict negativity?”
- Will plastering post-it notes with encouraging quotes help you to believe in yourself?
- Will lashing out at people, when they speak negatively, benefit you?
- Will having an attitude of I’ll show you, pay off?
God does not desire us to be bound by other people’s expectations and opinions. Rather, He desires us to live in the freedom of our calling and in the fullness of our giftings—not to bring glory to ourselves, but to glorify Him.
When we listen to the voice of oppression, we are choosing to silence the voice of truth in our lives—the voice of God.
It is time to remove their statement, their negativity, and their opinions from the confines of my mind and heart.
- How do I evict three words?
- How do I get over negativity?
- How do I move on?
First of all, everyone is subject to his or her own opinion, and trust me, I am no Whitney Houston or Ariana Grande. However, I do not sing for the accolades of people or for popularity—I sing to worship God. More than anything I desire is for God to anoint me to operate in the fruit of my gifting, whether it is great or small.
Perhaps no one has commented on your singing voice—but maybe your confidence has been shaken after disparaging remarks concerning your education, your weight, your track record in failed relationships, your fill-in-the-blank. These misconceptions can become internalized feelings that lead to self-deprecating thoughts and actions. It is time to identify the cynical language you have accepted and begin to evict negativity from your life.
The Voice of Truth
I will forever remember the moment when God illuminated the darkened corners of my mind in prayer and revealed that I was listening to the voices of insecurity and fear, rather than the voice of deliverance and faith. At that moment I had the choice to silence the voice of oppression.
I still struggle from time to time, but when that hindering voice of negativity rises up, I plead the blood of Jesus—whether it is about my ministry, my voice, my marriage, my failures—I ask God to speak truth into my life.
I do not have the personality that says, “I’ll show you.” Instead, many times in the past, I would accept people’s opinions of me and say, “I’ll be who you think I am.” If you think I’m nervous, I will become nervous. I would purposely make myself small so others would feel more secure in themselves. Disclaimer: there isn’t anything wrong with promoting other people, but do not degrade or belittle yourself in the process—you are God’s child! Encourage and believe in other people because, together, we can make a difference.
For years I wrestled with my identity. One day I had an epiphany:
My identity is not comprised of the sum of other peoples opinions of me (good or bad), or the totality of my personal victories and defeats—my identity should be rooted in God.
- Do not give lies power.
- Speak up.
- Use your voice and speak against the darkness.
Time for Reflection
James 3:9–10 states,
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.
According to James 3:3–12, what is dangerous and unsettling about the tongue? Feel free to share a criticism or negative comment that you remember from years ago. How are their negative words still affecting you? What steps can you take to rise above negativity?
Also, what is the juxtaposition of the tongue? Share an encouraging word or compliment that shifted the trajectory of your life in a positive way. How are their positive words still affecting you?
I would love to hear from you!