Talking to yourself
Do you ever find yourself talking to yourself? If so you would be in good company because apparently a lot of us do it!
Being caught talking to yourself, especially if using your own name in the conversation, is really quite embarrassing. This is because we all assume the reason for talking out loud is to communicate with other people. But given that so many of us do talk to ourselves, could it be normal after all – and even healthy?
We actually talk to ourselves silently all the time. In fact most of us have very detailed discussions with ourselves in our sleep in the middle of the night. This inner talk is said to be very healthy indeed, in having a role in keeping our minds fit.
Our mental health seems to depend on both our ability to activate thoughts relevant to the current task and to suppress the irrelevant ones. Medical techniques such as mindfulness aim to delclutter the mind and reduce stress. And there is a growing bdy of research which suggests that self talk can help memory recall, confidence, focus and more. All of this flies in the face of traditional medical views which have regarded talking to yourself as a sign of schizophrenia or other mental illness.
The bible gives a number of examples of “voices from heaven”. One of the earliest is that of the boy Samuel in the Old Testament who is called by God during the night. He goes and wakes his master three times before his master realises that the reason Samuel is hearing his name is because God is calling him. So Samuel goes back to bed and the next time he hears his name he asks God to speak to him.
These days we don’t expect God to speak to us in this way – but perhaps this is because we don’t search for God in the way Samuel did….and allow other things to get in the way of God talking to us. Communication is always difficult when there is something between us and the person we are trying to communicate with – hence why the Christian believes that the starting point is saying sorry to God for the things we have done and thought wrongly.
The apostle Paul wrote “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know the hope to which He has called you”(Ephesians 1:18). Indeed it’s the state of our heart which determines whether God can get through to us and start that conversation with us – a conversation far better than just talking to ourselves.
With best wishes,
(a less than perfect Christian on a journey)
Unfolding the Rose
After the long cold winter and changeable spring, we will shortly be celebrating the season of summer. Hopefully the weather will allow for more outside activities and games, long walks and picnics. Warm sunshine is known to lift our spirits, give us more energy and help our general wellbeing.
As spring flowers fade away I love to see the summer flowers bloom as they bring beautiful colours to our garden.
One of my favourite flowers is the rose; roses are a delight in any garden, their plants range in size from compact, miniature roses to climbers that can reach seven metres in height. When purchasing rose plants the choice and variety is enormous.
As I was thinking about roses I came across the following poem which speaks of God’s care for us all.
It is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of God’s design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.
The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I.
God opens this flower so sweetly,
When in my hands they die.
If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of God’s design,
Then how can I have the wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?
So I’ll trust in Him for leading
Each moment of my day.
I will look to Him for His guidance.
Each step of the pilgrim way.
The pathway that lies before me,
Only my Heavenly Father knows.
I’ll trust Him to unfold the moments,
Just as He unfolds the rose.
Just as roses come in many different varieties and sizes, some more prickly than others, we too have different personalities. Some of us are assertive, practical, outgoing and independent; others are quieter, reserved and sensitive to the needs of others. The list of differences is endless.
In Psalm 139 we read of how well God knows us. As a new Christian this Psalm impacted me as I read of God’s creation of me and how He knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
Every part of creation is under God’s intuition and influence, there is no escape from God. Once we allow ourselves to come to Him we discover His intention is not to harm or be a killjoy, but to bless us.
As God designs the rose and opens the flower so sweetly, how much more He wants us to put our trust in Him, and to lead and guide us on the pathway that He has set for us. May we all find God’s purpose for our lives.
I have come into contact with a number of people lately who have found themselves reeling from broken relationship, be it through bereavement, divorce or friendship breakdown. The fallout from this brokenness is massive. I know from my own experiences of bereavement, family estrangement and friendship breakups, the feelings of dis-ease that follow are painful and can be quite destructive. The root of some illnesses and disease can be traced to brokenness within our lives.
As humans we are made for community. Whilst aloneness can be a choice at times, we are only truly whole when we interact with one another and through relationship we grow together in our closest and most intimate interactions and also, just as importantly, our acquaintances.
The painting, The Trinity, by Andrei Rublev is believed to originally have a small mirror placed in it to invite the spectator to see themselves in the painting. His masterpiece depicts the Holy Trinity as three angels sitting at a table, probably about to have a meal. His work illustrates how God lives in community and also how we are invited to be a part of that community.
Jesus tells us that He invites us to be in relationship with Him in Revelation 3:20 where he knocks on the door of our hearts, waiting to be invited in. He says that He will come and eat with us and we with Him. Sharing of food is such an important part of human interaction.
In Deuteronomy we are told that God will never leave nor forsake us and Jesus says in the book of Matthew ‘I will be with you to the very end of time’. My own experiences of great loss and the hurt and pain that follow broken relationships have also been huge times of blessing as I have known the presence of God holding and comforting me and gently putting me back on my feet again.
In 1986 I answered the invitation to join the community that God is, and I put myself in the mirror of Rublev’s work of art. My sorrows and hurts have been no less painful, but they have also been a source of becoming stronger and more whole as I have leant on the never-ending love and strength that God offers to us all.
I invite you to have a look at Rublev’s painting – it can be found easily by searching ‘Rublev, The Trinity’ on Google, - and imagine your own face in the picture and get a small taste of what it could be to be in the eternal community of God.
Every blessing, Rachel Foster