Self Talk, Soul Talk
by Jennifer Rothschild
Harvest House Publishers, 2007
Reviewed by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur
We all have that little voice inside our head that chatters away incessantly, offering a running commentary on our lives. What does that voice tell you? Does it criticize harshly, destroying your spirit, or does it speak words that come from God, helping you to live as God intended you to live? Is it possible to change the recording in your head? At age 15, Jennifer Rothschild became legally blind due to a disease called retinitis pigmentosa. She has not allowed her disability to define her. Instead, she got married, had children, and has become a well-known speaker and writer. Like all of us, though, she has to contend with the voice in her head, a voice that does not always speak kindly.
In “Self-Talk, Soul Talk: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself,” she reminds us that “what you think and say to yourself will impact the texture, color, and music of your life.” We should base those words on God's words, words from Scripture, words that tell us how to live. Even when we do need to correct our behavior, our words to ourselves should not be unkind. “Wise, truthful words are never harsh and unkind. They are gracious. Wise and truthful words are never wimpy or without power. They have authority. Even the hard truths we speak to ourselves should not be condemning. They should build us up.”
In Chapter 4, “Speaking Truth to Your Issues,” Rothschild focuses on the woman suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years who had the courage to reach out and touch Jesus' cloak in order to be healed. This was such a radical act. According to Jewish law, she was unclean. What she was doing was illegal. Yet, she reached out. “She told herself that if she touched Him, she would be healed. She encouraged, counseled, and advised her soul.” (Matthew 9:21) Her words of encouragement helped her faith and she was rewarded for that faith.
Part 2 of the book concentrates on “Seven Things to Say to Your Soul.” Taken from scripture, these seven statements offer a jumping off point for nurturing your soul. God (and Rothschild) invite us to awaken our souls, look up to God, rest our souls, remember the good that God has done for us, persist when the road is hard, and praise the Lord.
Rothschild's message that what we say to ourselves matters is a very important one. Many people tell us that we should be kind to ourselves. Self-help books are full of such affirmations. What makes Rothschild's take on this subject unique is that she utilizes Scripture to help us speak the truth to ourselves. The point of “Self Talk, Soul Talk” is not simply to help us feel better, but rather to bring us closer to God.
Some great quotes from this book:
“When we receive new life from God, He declares that 'the old life is gone. A new life has begun!' Neglecting our new, clean selves allows dirt and grime to collect on the surface of our souls. It will become stuck on and hardened, it will work itself down deep, and it will certainly dull our shine. To prevent this from occurring in our lives day by day, we must be attentive.”
“The most hopeful people I know are those who place their trust in God . . .It's not a once-and-forever choice. It's a choice I make day by day.”
“You see, rest isn't just what God did. Rest is who God is. Rest means we quiet ourselves next to the One who not only gives peace but who is the Prince of Peace.”
“If you quit, the world will be lacking what you alone bring to it.”
Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur is editor of Spiritual Woman and author of "Letters to Mary from a Young Mother" (iUniverse, 2004). She has a Master
of Arts Degree in Applied Theology from Elms College. Visit her blog at spiritualwomanthoughts.blogspot.com
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