Daily Devotions

Turning Down the Volume on the Inner Voice

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Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God. (Psalm 42:5)

Elitsa Dermendzhiyska points out, “The inner critic sounds like the truth or else feels inevitable, immutable, and ingrained in our personality. But it’s not.” Elitsa claims that shame is an emotion that evolves and grows during our adolescence, and makes a home in our subconscious. It sits right behind our consciousness, directing our emotions. It is our task to break shame’s hold and reclaim our lives.

If you aren’t sure of shame’s grip on your subconscious, listen closely for a few hours to your inner voice. Is your go-to response negative toward others, and especially yourself? If so, you have to take back the reins. Sadly, this is the place most depressive people just give up. It sounds like too much work! I am not going to soft-soap the issue, it is hard work. It requires an intentional change of mind every time you hear shame’s statements. Every time you hear shame, you must consciously – intentionally – say, “no,” and replace shame’s words with words of your own.

Once again, Elitsa’s words provide support. “One thing I learned was that even at our most fragile, we are more resilient than we imagine ourselves to be.” When shame is in control, it feels like we do not have the energy to fight, or even worse, that we are not worthy to feel better. But, this is where God’s love comes into play. We are good enough because God loves us. God created us for a purpose, and we cannot let our adolescent shame continue to steal one more minute of our Christlike joy. With God’s help, we are resilient enough to make it happen.

Today, make a commitment to slap shame upside the head and take back the control of your thoughts and feelings. Shame is the great liar. You have to intentionally replace a positive truth with shame’s lies. Again, you accomplish this by doing the intentional work of listening to your inner voice and replacing negative self-talk with truthful, positive talk, based on the reality of your place in God’s created order. God’s love will help you kick that old shame right out of your head.

 

Interior Spiritual Landscape

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The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:11)

I heard a spiritual activist use this phrase “Interior Spiritual Landscape” to speak to the way she cares for her spiritual life. This person uses guided meditation, silent prayer, and other techniques help nurture her Interior Spiritual Landscape. When our Interior Spiritual Landscape is untended, it is full of weeds, ruts and tall grass. It feels uncared for, and unworthy of dignity.

A well-tended Interior Spiritual Landscape looks like a well-groomed yard. The grass is mowed, the weeds are pulled, and it even has special color, from flowers, and perhaps even a quirky garden Gnome, to a small vegetable garden. It is a place where you feel comfortable and relaxed. It is a place where you want to lay in the grass and look up at the clouds.

Too many people feel that nurturing your Interior Spiritual Landscape is time wasted. There are too many important activities that deserve our priority, to spend time and energy “navel gazing.” This kind of thinking is a huge mistake. The most dedicated activist or committed volunteer will ultimately end up burned out, if her/his Interior Spiritual Landscape remains untended. We will end up burned out and disillusioned if our Interior Spiritual Landscape becomes messy.

Today, consider the health of your Interior Spiritual Landscape. Even if you cut the grass, by coming to worship each week, are there other spiritual pursuits that would make your landscape come alive? When you pray to God with openness, your landscape blossoms. When you find opportunities to perform kind gestures, your landscape flattens out and ruts are filled in. When you sit in silence, and invite God into the quiet places of your soul, the sun shines down on your landscape. Take the time today to look at your inner landscape. What does it really look like? Make a plan, and commit to reforming the look of your Interior Spiritual Landscape. If you do, you will have more energy, joy, and drive. It is well worth the time.

 

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