Jerry may have officially coined the phrase “preach the gospel to yourself” though the concept has been around for centuries. The idea of telling yourself the truth when you’re being plagued by lies is an incredibly helpful defensive and even offensive tactic for rough spots in life.
A few days ago, I was chatting with one of my friends. Laughs and goofing off quickly turned serious as she related difficulties she was having with a guy she liked. The situation was a sad one. She knew the guy liked her and was at a loss as to why he refused to do anything about it. The recurring reason that came to her mind was that the problem was hers. She was too much to handle. Whether or not this was true seemed not to be the point. This thinking led her to the conclusion that if she were too much for this guy, than she would be too much for any guy, thus landing her in the position of forever spinsterhood because she would never be able to change her past.
“You’ve heard of the Hunger Games, right?” I asked her.
“Yes,” she said, unfazed by my random addition to the conversation.
“In the third book,” I told her. “Katniss is undergoing severe post traumatic stress and dealing with other psychological issues due to the fact that people are always using her to achieve their own agendas and manipulating her emotions against her.”
My friend nodded, waiting patiently for me to make the connection between her boy problems and Katniss Everdeen.
“A psychologist,” I said. “Told Katniss, when she felt herself near an emotional breakdown, to start with the simplest things she new was true and work outwards from there. For Katniss, she had to start with her name. Then she moved to where she was born and so on. It helped her calm down as she reminded herself what was true and what false.”
My friend nodded again, beginning to see where I was heading with the conversation.
“Have you ever heard the phrase ‘preach the gospel to yourself’?” I asked her. She said that she had. “So this is what you do,” I said. “When you start going down the path of, ‘I’m too much, and if I’m too much now I will always be too much, ect’ start answering yourself with truth. Even if the truth is the simplest thing you know about the gospel, such as ‘I am saved by the blood of Jesus Christ’ and working outwards from there.”
“Yeah, I could try that.” She made a face like she was trying to work out exactly what she would say to herself.
“But make sure what you’re saying to yourself is actually true,” I added. “Saying, ‘someday, some guy will be okay with my past’ may not be the healthiest thing to say to yourself. It’s not something that you know for sure. Stick with what you know for sure, like, ‘is Christ enough for me today?’ if the answer is yes ask yourself ‘Will He be enough for me in ten years if I’m still not married?’”
It may sound childish and simplistic, but I feel like sometimes we complicate things. Satan wants us to be confused, to get caught up in sorting through lies. He takes elements of truth and uses those elements as coatings for very harmful lies.
You see, part of the truth in my friend’s situation was that she had a past that was more difficult than the average person’s. She had a bigger personality than the average person. Her life and story where not the sort of things the faint of heart would find easy to understand. A reason why this particular fella ceased to take any action in pursuing her could possibly have been fear. Those things she was saying could have been true. That’s why they were so easy to believe.
The trick was focusing on what she knew for sure was true not what might be true or what could be true.
Preaching good news, truth, healing, and beauty to yourself. It’s like filling your life with every good thing. Maybe it won’t fix everything, but it certainly won’t hurt.