Defeat Negative Self-Talk Now! Here’s How

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Decades ago, a good friend gave me advice I will never forget. I have often shared her words with other friends when they are struggling. She said, “That is Satan whispering in your ear. You have to tell him to get behind you. Tell him; say it out loud. He will whisper those doubts and negative thoughts to you, and you must rebuke him.”

She also told me that the enemy hates us, hates our marriages, our families, hates everything that is created by God and everything we love. She reminded me that God loves us and is always at work within us. “God carries a picture of you in his wallet,” she told me.

Knocked Down by Negative Self-Talk

It can be very difficult to realize that the enemy is planting lies and doubts in our brain. The same friend reminded me of this again when I confided that my day had been filled with negative self-talk. Call it whatever you want: insecurity, imposter syndrome, etc. I was getting ready for a big and exciting event, and I was feeling unworthy of the celebration.

Words Are Powerful—Here Are the Best Ones to Believe About Yourself

That same enemy has more on his task list when we are about to do something great. I do not know a single person who could honestly say they are not the most nervous just before receiving praise, an award, or a celebration in their honor. That’s when Satan must get to work knocking down our excitement.

Another time the enemy considers it a priority to attack is when you are about to do something that will nourish your faith. That voice whispers it’s too difficult to walk through those church doors after so long. Or it may tell you that it’s too difficult to walk through the doors of a new church. It may use the tactic that you are just too busy to attend that worship service or Bible study or faith-based conference. That voice tells you on Sunday that you have had along week, and it would be so cozy to just stay in your pajamas all day. After all, you deserve to rest.

Adrian Rogers has a great quote about this: “If Satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.”

The Enemy’s Tools

There is an anonymous story known as Satan’s Garage Sale that sticks like glue the moment you year it. It goes like this . . .

Satan advertised he was having a garage sale to sell off some of his tools. Many demons showed up to see what he was selling. He had marked the price on each tool. Anger was selling for $100; Resentment was selling for $400; Hatred was  marked $600.

These were all tools that would make it easy to tear others down. There were also lenses for magnifying one’s own importance; and, if you looked through them the other way, they could magnify ones failures.

One visitor noticed two well-worn tools on a table in the corner. He found it curious they were not priced. When he asked why, Satan laughed and said, “Well because I use them so much. If they were not so plain looking, people might see them for what they are. I’m sorry, those are not for sale.” Without hesitation, the shopper said, “I’ll pay you any amount!”

The devil narrowed his eyes and hissed, “I told you, they are not for sale, nor will I ever sell them.” Disappointed, the man slowly placed them back on the table. With almost a whisper, he said, “If I can’t buy them, would you at least tell me their names?”

A slow and wicked grin grew across the devil’s face. He explained that one is DOUBT and that one is DISCOURAGEMENT. These will work when nothing else will. They are more valuable than any of the others. Nothing paralyzes a person more than DISCOURAGEMENT and DOUBT. They can draw even the most powerful ministry to its knees. They lead to hopelessness and can prevent people from praying, worshiping, and becoming a victim of their environment. DOUBT and DISCOURAGEMENT drains victims of courage, vision, faith, expectation, and the will to make a difference in the kingdom of God.

A quote from Billy Graham: “Don’t think of Satan as a harmless cartoon character with a red suit and a pitchfork. He is very clever and powerful, and his unchanging purpose is to defeat God’s plans at every turn, including His plans for your life.”

Replace Lies with God’s Truth

When you feel alone:
Fear not, for I am with you.  — Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)

When you think your sins are too much:
In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” — Ephesians 1:7 (ESV)
As far as the east is from the west, so far as He removed our transgressions from us.”  — Psalm 103:11-12 (ESV)

When you believe your past is too bad:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” — 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

When you wonder why you are even here on earth:
For we are his workmanship. Created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” — Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)

When you think your prayers are not heard:
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  — 1 John 5:14 (ESV)

When you feel like you don’t fit in:
Therefore receive one another just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.” — Romans 15:7 (ESV)

When you think everyone else is beautiful and you are ugly:
I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well.” – Psalm 139:14 (ESV)
You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” — Song of Solomon 4:7 (ESV)

When you do not feel loved:
We love Him because He first loved us.” — 1 John 4:19 (ESV)
God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  – Romans 5:8 (ESV)

When you do not think you are strong enough:
Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come.” – Proverbs 31:25 (ESV)
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” — Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)

When you feel like you are a failure: 
For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” — 1 John 5:4

Overcoming General Negative Talk and Gossip

Pay attention to how you feel after a conversation. Negative breeds negative, and gossip, while it may feel good in the moment, will make you feel bad after the you leave the conversation.

The Bible has a lot to say about gossip—none of it good! In some translations, the word ‘gossip’ is called other things, such as backbiting tongue, sowing discord, slander, speaking evil, and more. It is listed in Proverbs 6:16-19 as “one of the six things God hates.”

Additional verses about gossip include:

  • Proverbs 16:28
  • Proverbs 10:18
  • Proverbs 17:9
  • Proverbs 21:23
  • Proverbs 11:2
  • Proverbs 18:21
  • Matthew 12:36
  • Psalm 34:13
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:11
  • Ephesians 4:29
  • 1 Timothy 5:13
  • James 12:26
  • James 3:35
  • Leviticus 19:16.
9 Quotes to Help You Reconsider the Urge to Gossip

“People gossip. People are insecure, so they talk about other people so that they won’t be talked about. They point out flaws in other people to make them feel better about themselves.”— Blake Lively

“Believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see.”  — Unknown

“Often those that criticize others reveal what they themselves lack.” — Shannon Alder

“Watch out for the joy-stealers:gossip, criticism, complaining, faultfinding, and a negative, judgmental attitude.” — Joyce Meyer

“How would your life be different if you walked away from gossip? Let today be the day you speak only the good you know of other people and encourage others to do the same.” — Steve Maraboli

“Whoever gossips TO you, will gossip ABOUT you.” — Spanish proverb

“Loose tongues are worse than wicked hands.”Jewish proverb

“Gossip is the devil’s telephone. Best to just hang up.”— Moira Rose

“A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.”  — Proverbs 16:28

Defeat Negative Self-Talk for Good—Through Consistent Practice

All of the great advice and helpful quotes do not make it easy! Just saying something does not make it so.

Guarding our minds, our hearts, and our tongues takes practice and hard work. Just like our faith walk or a forgiveness walk or a healing walk, it is a marathon, not a sprint. Have you ever struggled to forgive someone, even after you made the decision to forgive? You wonder why it doesn’t feel like you forgave, let alone forgot. That’s because it is not just a decision; it is a process.

Start by only allowing positive to come out of your mouth about any person. Once you consciously make this happen, it will become habit. Add this goal into your daily prayers and gratitude reflections. Reflect at night or in the morning. Celebrate with yourself each time you talked positively of someone and of yourself. Try replacing negative thoughts with something for which you are grateful.

You are wonderfully and fearfully made. God made you. God loves you. God carries your picture in his wallet!


Need some more help to defeat your negative self-talk? Take this advice from psychotherapist Dr. Zoe:

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