Category Archives: Self-talk

Silence

Tremble, and do not sin; meditate in your heart upon your bed and be still. Psalm 4:4 (NASB)

What a rare commodity silence is in today’s society. I can’t think of one place I’ve ever been that is completely silent. Sitting in my backyard is fairly quiet, with the exception of twittering birds and an occasional airplane overhead. Inside my house, there’s the hum of the refrigerator or ticking of the clock. In the mountains, I hear the wind rustle through the trees. I find a deep sense of peace on the seashore despite the violent crashing of waves upon the sand.

True silence is indeed scarce. The sense of silence I enjoy most is when I can settle my mind enough to hear the whispers of God. I experience a deep and fulfilling encounter with my God. I find hope, peace, joy, wisdom and incomparable blessing, which strengthens my faith and centers me.

Mother Theresa said, “We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature, [the] trees, flowers, grass, grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…We need silence to be able to touch souls.”

*This is an excerpt from “Dashes of Salt” a devotional book by Kim Bagato. To purchase a signed copy, contact Kim here.

How do you love yourself? Part Two

Last time we looked at the most important commandment about loving God, others, and ourselves. In my research, I found little information or commentary about what it means to love ourselves, in the same manner we love others and God.

I loved the people closest to me and served others, including those less fortunate. I loved God. I believed I’d done all those things well. Yet I was tired, empty, and even resentful. How about you? Did you think you were doing things well only to learn that you might have been wrong?

For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14 (emphasis added)

I realized that I had it upside down. I thought that loving myself was selfish. There’s a big difference between loving yourself and being selfish. A BIG difference. I was so busy loving God and people that I’d forsaken loving myself. I never put myself on my “to do” list. The more Christian thing to do was to love God and others, right? So, here are some ideas to get you started loving yourself in healthy ways so you may love others and God out of abundance rather than emptiness.

10 Ways to Love Yourself

  • Meditate
  • Exercise
  • Take a nap
  • Soak in a warm bath
  • Go for a walk outside
  • Visit a museum or theater
  • Watch your favorite television show
  • Listen to a CD, all the way through in one sitting
  • Paint your nails or get a manicure or pedicure (maybe a facial, too!)
  • Read a book, without guilt that you could be doing other things

Want to know one of the most recent things I’ve done that felt like loving myself? I threw out the give-away pens and bought the kind of ink pens I love to write with. A small indulgence that makes me smile every time I pick up a pen to write.

Next time I’ll wrap up this series with some final thoughts and a prayer you can pray.

What is one thing you could do to love yourself better?

Check out my Self-Care Pinterest board to spark your own self-care ideas.

How do you love yourself? – Part One

What do you enjoy doing?

On a crisp fall morning, a young woman sat down in my office. She was struggling in her marriage and wanted to learn how to help her husband. She wanted him to be different and break free from an addiction. Their kids were driving her bonkers. She worked full-time and was doing everything she could to love and care for her family. But she had lost herself.

To help her reconnect with herself, I asked, “What do you enjoy doing?” She replied, “I like going to my kids’ soccer games and making lunch for my husband and kids every morning.”

I repeated the question, clarifying that her answer would be something she enjoyed separate from serving her family. She was baffled. What did she enjoy doing? I hoped to get her thinking about how she loved herself and practiced good self-care.

How do you love yourself?

Perhaps you’re like her. You spend your days (and nights) doing things for other people. With technology that’s easier to check email and work even when you’re not on the clock. Too often we put ourselves last on our “To Do” lists. For our good health and the benefit of those we serve, that must change.

The following text is a familiar commandment. Even if you don’t read your Bible often or at all, you’ve probably heard this one. You’ve probably heard that your priorities need to be in this order: God, others, self. I submit a challenge to that belief system based on my perspective of what Jesus said here. He commanded, yes, commanded, that we are to love God and others as we love ourselves.

An expert in the Mosaic Law asked Jesus,

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:36-39

I’d always understood this passage to mean that I was to love God first, others second, and myself last. I don’t see it that way anymore.  Jesus said we are to love ourselves and in the same way, love others and God. If that’s the case, I can best love others and God if I am loving myself. Not being selfish, there’s a big difference.

If I’m not really loving myself, how well am I loving others or God?

In the next blog post, I’ll share about how I personally responded to this most important commandment.

In the meantime, check out these related scriptures and think about ways you can begin loving yourself in healthier ways. It will change how you love others!

Leviticus 19:18Matthew 19:19Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:30-31Luke 10:27Romans 13:9Galatians 5:14James 2:8

How to Recognize Our True Identity

Life serves up all kinds of trouble and happiness. If we don’t watch it, the troubles and failures may create an unhealthy identity.

Why is it that we get stuck focusing on the traumatic times rather than the happy moments?

The toughest thoughts to get rid of (and, sometimes, the ones I listen to most) are the ones I need to eject–forever. Our thoughts inform our identity.

In the first draft of this post, I made a list of some unhelpful thoughts I listen to way too often. I decided it’s more helpful to come up with three steps to transform our thinking:

  1. Reject the thoughts that are not true
  2. Focus on the positive
  3. Memorize scripture about identity (who God says I am)

Reject false thinking

Here’s a helpful acronym to change your thinking. THINK, about your self-talk:

True

Helpful

Inspiring

Necessary

Kind

Often attributed to thinking before speaking to others, if we stop long enough to THINK about these five questions, our self-talk will change.

Find inspiration in books, podcasts, and scripture. Sometimes it helps to write down positive thoughts and prominent spots. One example is this is what I drew on a canvas, which reminds me I’m valuable to God.

Focus on the positive

It’s been said that it takes 10 positive statements to counteract one negative comment. I wish that weren’t the case, but in my experience, this bears true.

At a former place of employment, I printed positive emails from our clientele and created a wall of affirmation. Glancing at the highlighted positive words could change the day.

Memorize scripture about identity

A women’s bible study I attended many years ago focused on the importance of scripture memorization. Our leader provided index cards weekly for us to write down a verse and commit it to memory. Then we would recite it together the following week. The best thing about memorizing scripture is how God brings it to mind when we need it most.

To close this post, I’m including a list of affirming scriptures about who God says I am. Read, study, rewrite, post, and memorize these to embrace your true identity.

You’ll be glad you did.

Who God says I am

I am a child of God. John 1:12

I am a friend of Jesus. John 15:15

I have been accepted by Christ. Romans 15:7

My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in me. 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19

I am a new creature in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17

I have been set free in Christ. Galatians 5:1

I am redeemed and forgiven by the grace of Christ. Ephesians 1:7

The peace of God guards my heart and mind. Philippians 4:7

God loves me and has chosen me. 1 Thessalonians 1:4