Time for a rather serious discussion, my friends. Something that has been weighing on my mind for a while now. I debated whether I should write this or not, but it keeps going thru my mind and I think I need to. Maybe one of you needs to read this because you are struggling with this. Maybe I just need to say what's on my mind. Who knows! But I pray this helps someone else out there.
How many times have you heard someone say "Tell yourself you can do this, and you can do it." Basically convince yourself you can do whatever it is you need to do. Yes, I understand this is meant to be encouraging and help you get thru whatever it is you are trying to do. And that in itself isn't bad. Sometimes we need someone to tell us we have what it takes to get thru our situation, to get us to convince ourselves we can finish our tasks.
But there's a negative side in convincing ourselves of things. There's a danger in talking ourselves into things. I'm completely guilty of doing this far too often. I can talk myself into almost anything. Give me a couple days and I can convince myself of almost anything. The problem with this is I'm usually A. Following my emotions, B. Going on little bits of information I convince myself is fact and C. I'm not praying about it, but blindly following my own will. It's a dangerous habit that can have consequences we don't foresee.
Let's use some examples.
I can convince myself that someone is mad at me (I've done this so many times). If someone I know acts the least bit different from their normal attitude when they are around me, by the end of the day, I can talk myself into believing I've offended them or they are mad at me for some reason or another.
I can convince myself that a decision I've made it the logical one when in all honesty, it's the stupidest choice I've made in my life. I can convince myself that I have peace over a choice I've made when it's really just me hoping for peace and ignoring God (I've done this too, too many times. Way too many times.)
I can convince myself that how I'm handling matters is the best way, and that I've got everything under control when the truth is I am wrecking everything.
Do you see the common theme in all these? I'm convincing myself that what I want is what is right. I'm following my own desires, my own judgement. Kind of goes along with the post on following your heart versus following God.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, when we talk ourselves into something, we're hurting ourselves. We're taking away God's ability to bless us with what He wants to do or give us, and replacing it with setting ourselves up for failure and pain. By convincing ourselves that what we want is what is right, or what we did is right, or what we have decided is right, we are choosing to walk a path that leads to pain, disappointment, and consequences that we will have to face.
Another thing to consider is, when making a decision that affects those around you and not yourself only, convincing yourself that your decision is right hurts them too. Talking yourself into believing what you are doing is right for everyone can be a life altering choice for more than yourself.
I know it's hard when you can talk yourself into something, but it's even worse when you have others encouraging you to walk the wrong way, or encouraging you to convince yourself that you are making the right choice when you know it's not. To make decisions that at present look good, but in the future will hurt you. Though they may mean well (or may not, as the case may be), listening to the advice of those who will talk you into running away from God and listening to your own voice convincing yourself that your opinion is the only one that matters is going to destroy you. No if, and, or buts. You will end up ruined and in pain.
The obvious solution? Stop.
Stop talking yourself into believing what you want is what is right.
Stop ignoring God.
Stop pretending that what you want is what God's Will is.
Stop turning a blind eye to the warnings that you're going down the wrong path.
Stop following the advice of others that encourages you to ignore God.
Stop letting yourself ignore your prayer and Bible time thinking that if you don't listen to God you can get peace.
Stop ignoring the warning signs, the red flags.
Once you've stopped doing those things, do me another favor (or ten)?
Do listen to God. God isn't the author of confusion. He's not going to lead you down a path that will ruin your life or hurt you. He isn't a cruel Maker who wants you to suffer and languish. He wouldn't give you peace over something isn't what is best for you, or over something that wouldn't honor and glorify Him.
Do listen to the counsel of those who are in tune with God. Parents, pastors, and older people (most older people, for the most part) are wiser and follow the Lord because they know from experience that He won't lead you down the wrong path. If your elders are telling you something is not right or that a decision you are talking yourself into isn't going to be good, odds are they are right.
Do pray about it. Earnestly seek God's Will and don't ignore when He answers, even if it isn't the answer you want. If you ask Him to show you, and He does but it's not what you want, don't keep praying in hopes He changes His answer. Ask God to change your heart and mind about it instead.
Do be willing to listen to what God says. Don't ask for an answer then reject it. Don't seek God's Will and then ignore it when He shows you what that is.
I know most of the do's and stop's are easier said than done. It's a constant struggle to battle the flesh and our own desires. But the more time you spend with God in prayer and His Word, the easier it's going to be to avoid convincing yourself that what you want is what He wants. It'll be easier to avoid talking yourself into decisions you will regret later. It'll be easier to follow His Will with a joyful heart and true peace.
Listen, I'm praying for any of you that have trouble with this. I'm one of you, too, so pray for me. Sometimes it's easier to know that I'm not the only one who struggles with this, and that makes it easier to tell myself I need to stop listening to my own voice and listen to God's. And that pretty much sums this up...
Listen to God's voice, not your own.