Pastor Ralph J. Mineo, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church
I love the story about a woman in the grocery store with a three-year-old girl riding in the shopping basket. As they passed the cookie section, the little girl begged for cookies. Her mother told her no. As often happens, the child began to whine and fuss.
The mother said softly and gently, “Now Monica, our shopping is halfway over. Don’t be upset now. We’re almost done.”
When they came to the candy aisle, the little girl began to demand candy for herself. When she was told she couldn’t have any, she started to cry. The mother said, again very calmly and gently, “There, there, Monica, don’t you cry now. Only two more aisles to go. We’re almost ready to check out.” When they got to the checkout counter, the little girl saw gum, and threw a temper tantrum when she was told she couldn’t have any. The mother very patiently said in a calm voice, “Monica, we’ll be through this checkout in less than five minutes. Then you can go home and have a nice long nap.”
In the parking lot, another shopper stopped the woman to compliment her, saying “I couldn’t help but notice how patient you were with little Monica.” The mother answered him, quietly and gently, “I’m Monica. My little girl’s name is Tammy.”
Sometimes “self-talk” is the best way for us to manage our actions and decisions. We often need to talk ourselves into doing what’s right. We often need to talk ourselves into calmness and peace of mind. Truth be told, this isn’t easy. Very often, doing what’s right in the sight of God takes a great deal of effort!
There’s no easy way to live a Christian life. It takes WORK! It takes self-control. It takes self-sacrifice. It takes self-discipline. It takes self-talk.
Jesus said to us, “If you want to be my follower, you must deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” We’re called to take up our cross every single day of our lives. Not just on Sundays. Not just on days when we’re having troubles and feel the need to turn to God. We need to follow Jesus EVERY SINGLE DAY, on good days, and on bad days.
Some of our best self-talk could come directly from the Bible. For example, I can calmly and gently remind myself when I feel out of control, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” When I’m feeling depressed and in darkness, I can say to myself over and over, “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” When I’m troubled or anxious, I can repeat the words of Jesus to myself, “Peace be with you.”
Let’s resolve, in this hectic, fast-paced, even crazy world, to have calm and quiet biblically based talks with ourselves daily. God’s word has the power to do what the words say! God, in Christ, WILL lead us, WILL be our light, WILL save us, WILL give us peace.