By Wilma Davis
Are you stressed out? If not, hang on tight, because you’ve been there before and will be again. Whether from repairs, relationships, or jobs, there are always problems to cause stress, and they usually come in threes! You may be overwhelmed with illnesses, too much to do, more month than paycheck, or any of a million things that pile on us from time to time. When he was experiencing the betrayal of a friend, King David of Israel cried out, “Oh that I had wings of a dove! I would fly away, and be at rest.”1 Sounds good, doesn’t it? Neither did the apostle Paul hide his problems as he writes, “… this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn, conflicts on the outside, fears within.”2 Wow! That describes many lives today: harassment, conflict and fears.
In the midst of it all, Jesus offers rest. “Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”3 A yoke fits across the necks of two oxen as they walk together to pull a load. When one ox moves, the other must follow. As we walk alongside Jesus in His yoke, He carries the load while we fill in the yoke. We are walking, but He is doing the work, making the yoke easy and the burden light for us.
So, as we awake each day and put our feet to the floor, let’s “choose the good way and walk in it and we will find rest for our souls.”4 If life’s circumstances overwhelm you during the day, stop and follow Jesus’ exhortation with some firm self-talk. “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”5 What we tell ourselves becomes habits and habits shape our character.
Although negativity may come more naturally for some than others, it does not have to be a way of life. Become aware of your destructive self-talk that influences your feelings, actions, and relationships. Dr. David Burns names ten forms of twisted thinking:
1. All or nothing – Something is either completely perfect or a complete failure
2. Overgeneralization – Attaching always or never to an event or situation
3. Mental filter – Dwelling on the negative so that it colors your view
4. Discounting the positive – Not giving credit to positives
5. Jumping to conclusions – Assuming you know what another is thinking or what the future holds
6. Magnification – Maximizing problems and faults while minimizing good traits
7. Emotional reasoning – Allowing your feelings to determine your reality
8. Should statements – Comparing reality to what should have been
9. Labeling – Identifying a person’s character by his action or an event
10. Personalization and blame – Blaming yourself or others for situations out of his control. 6
We are so blessed in this day and age to be able to hold a supernatural resource for positive self-talk in our hand and refer to it any time. The Bible is inspired by God.7 Inspired means God-breathed. When God formed man from the dust of the ground, he breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul.8 When we read the Bible, God breathes life into our soul. No wonder it is so powerful!
1. Psalm 55:6
2. II Corinthians 7:5
3. Matthew 11:28-30
4. Jeremiah 6:16
5. Matthew 12:35
6. Burns, D. D. (1990). The feeling good handbook. New York, 7. NY: Plume.
8. 2 Timothy 3:16