“Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself ?”
– Martyn Lloyd-Jones, from Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure, p. 20
Continuing along my reading list of uplifting titles 🙂 I’m now in Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure. I had heard the above quote before reading the book but have been thinking about it since reading it in context earlier this week. Lloyd-Jones explains this phenomenon in such a way that I was surprised I hadn’t considered the distinction before. He talks about what we hear inside our heads each day as we wake up and our self starts talking as we listen – the problems of yesterday, the failures. I recognized this immediately because I’ve been hearing the same things from myself lately. These are the most popular 1) “how could you ?” 2) “you’ll never change” 3) “you’re going to church TODAY ? after the week you just had ? people will see right through you…what you’ve been thinking, how you’ve been acting. better stay home and save yourself the embarrassment…”
I found myself nodding and shaking my head at the same time while reading this. It’s so true and I’m so guilty of it. But what Lloyd-Jones suggests is so helpful and it’s a good way to turn the conversation back towards that accusing voice:
“You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: ‘Why art thou cast down’ – what business have you to be disquieted ? You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: ‘Hope thou in God’ – instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way.”
Jerry Bridges, in his book Respectable Sins, suggests something similar: that we preach the gospel to ourselves each day. And how often do we really do that ? How different would our day look if, as we first wake up, we did just that ? If your mind and heart is filled with Christ, what room is left for that self-defeating, self-wallowing talk ?
I’ve found Lloyd-Jones’ book extremely encouraging so far. I’m about 1/3 of the way through it and will have more on it as I go along….