Often, things are not as they seem. Take a quick glimpse at the photo.
Now look at it closer. Do you see it?
While on a trip for a service project in Mexico, I ended up in the sleepy fishing town of Yelapa with some of the college students with Southwestern Advantage. I got separated, and as I walked down a path on the mountainside, I found something I wasn’t looking for! A boa constrictor! While it initially looked like a part of the tree, it was no branch. That “branch” was moving… and not with the wind! It was somewhat camouflaged in the confines of the leaves and branches. Again, not always as it seems.
We are like that too.
We say one thing and do another
We have secrets
We have facades and put up smokescreens
We live with demons from our past and develop them in our present
We let excuses justify our actions and behavior
Our words sting like a thousand bees
Our sins catch up with us
We are often not as we seem. That large snake was in the tree above my head. Instead of panic, I took a picture and watched it for a few minutes. I was in its home, not the other way around (note: if it was in my home, I would burn the place down and move… far away). Here are three affirmations you can use to build your positive self-talk when you come to the realization you are being someone you are not or someone you don’t want to be.
Affirmation #1: I was created to be better than this.
Yes you were! We all were. God gave us life. That life has a purpose. We all have a calling. We all have God-given talents and gifts. When we live with secrets, make excuses, or let our sin control our lives, we are walking away from our purpose and that calling.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
– Ephesians 2:10
Affirmation #2: The reason for me being like this is because _________________ .
This affirmation is the part where you admit to yourself (and God) what the issue or problem is. Be honest with yourself and fill in the blank with whatever is troubling you. You may even want to admit this to someone else for accountability purposes. It’s easier to forgive yourself when others can forgive you as well. Also know, God always forgives, no matter how bad you think what you did was, his unending grace will be there.
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up
in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares for you.
– 1 Peter 5:6-7
Affirmation #3: I will change my ways.
An affirmation is really only words of support you tell yourself. It means nothing if not acted upon. Make sure you are not blowing smoke up your own smokestack. If you say it, do it. If it bothers you, change the behavior. This is easier said than done… but, you have to make an attempt in or to make something happen. If you’re afraid to take the shot, there’s no chance of winning, is there?
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!
-2 Corinthians 4:17
The snake photo example I used above has as a dual meaning. Just as the serpent was deceitful in the Garden of Eden, we deceive ourselves when we are not the person we really are or were made to be. It’s when sin takes over our lives we need to realize we were made to be better than that, figure out what the root cause of our problem was so as to steer clear in the future, and how we will change from here on out to be a better person – for ourselves and others.