Contributor: Ryan Moffat, BS, Teaching Pastor at Vast Church
One of my favorite authors/preachers is a dead guy named Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones. He was a medical doctor and he really loved helping people. He loved it so much that he decided to quit practicing medicine and start helping people with soul and spiritual care.
His writings and sermons are still around today and many of us are better at our pastoral soul care of others because of his work. In one of his books, “Spiritual Depression” he said some amazing things but one of my most favorite quotes from Dr. Lloyd-Jones is;
“Most of our sadness comes from listening to ourselves instead of preaching to ourselves“
That’s one of those quotes you don’t forget!! I didn’t even necessarily try and commit it to memory but to this very day (as recent as yesterday) I shared this quote with someone in a pastoral care meeting. Let’s unpack a few of the brilliant nuances in this quote:
Staying Out of the Darkness
Addiction, sin, and darkness have an intensely debilitating nature to them. They work best when one is in isolation. We like to quote a guy named Brad House in our Church,
“Isolation is our response to sin, COMMUNITY is our response to reconciliation”.
I think Brad is right. Addiction and self-destructive behavior are just like mold- they operate best in the darkness. Once an individual is in darkness they cannot (by definition) see anything. So there we sit…. lonely, dark and scared, looking to anyone, anything that might bring short-term comfort or a release from the downward cycle of darkness.
Be Your Own Positive Voice
The other brilliant nugget in Dr. Lloyd-Jones quote is that he argues that your own voice is the most important voice in your life because nobody talks to you more than you do! Sometimes we think what we need is more positive voices in our life so we look to others (spouses, friends, church members) to be that voice that we so desperately need.
Eventually we find that nobody has enough positive words to maintain our own joy. We find that outsourcing our identity to others is just not working. So, who else can we listen to? Lloyd-Jones says you can and should LISTEN TO YOURSELF!
But (and this is huge), you shouldn’t just listen to the lies (“you’re worthless”, “nobody loves you”, “you’re a failure”), instead we should listen to ourselves as we PREACH TRUTH TO OURSELVES! Truth like, “you are deeply loved by God”, “God created me for a purpose and it is good”, truth like “Jesus both fully knows, yet fully loves me”.
Taking Back Our Identity
In this “self-preaching” model we move from outsourcing our identity to others and take back authority into our lives to preach the truth of the Bible into our faithless, beat-up, tired hearts! It’s the ultimate act of “self-leading” and “self-mastery”.
Instead of living as a victim (who must perpetually replay the crime) we take back authority through God’s word and preach the truth into our own lives. I think this is a better way to live.
So…Next time you feel the darkness calling you into its bottomless vortex try talking to yourself! You might look weird when you have that conversation with yourself (kidding) but at least you’ll be moving toward healthy self-mastery instead of carried along by every lie that can easily dominate our minds and hearts.
Community discussion – Share your thoughts here!
How has changing the way you internally talk to yourself impacted your recovery? Have your interactions with others also been impacted by a positive self talk?
About the author:
Ryan received his BS in Bible and Theology and a minor in counseling from Multnomah University. He has pastored students, families and is passionate about Christ-centered recovery and healing. He’s been married to his beautiful wife Michelle for 13 years and they enjoy raising four crazy, unique and special kids together. Ryan is the teaching pastor at Vast Church in Sisters, OR and is currently working on his Masters in Theology at Western Seminary in Portland, OR
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