Are You Your Own Tormentor or Comforter?

I talked with a friend whose verbal outpouring is consistently negative.  Her mental framework has been set for so long, she thinks her distorted view of her life and the world is reality. She reminds herself constantly of how horrible her (perceived) life is, reciting how horrible her (perceived) history has been, and taunting herself with the “fact” that her (perceived) future will be just as bad. With a mindset and self-talk like that, who needs enemies???

Let me explain a little bit further.  She speaks in generalities, like she has “always been alone” (which is not true – she has had several relationships), that there are no good guys out there (again, she has not met every guy out there), that she is old and haggard looking (she is 40, beautiful and in great shape).  Her words are so far from the realities in her life that I am sometimes dumbstruck just from listening to her.

But then I look at myself, listen to myself, and realize I can easily fall back into the “Tormentor” role at any moment.  My life is far from perfect, and has been far from perfect.  I could constantly remind myself of my own stupidity in past actions, wrong decisions that have caused life-long consequences, and incorrectly tell myself that my future will be just like my past.  And I would believe it – whole heartedly – without a second glance, depending on how exhausted I am, and how convincing the lie sounded.

I have to CHOOSE to be my own Consoler.  It is a conscious effort I have to make to overcome the “natural” negativism and critical spirit that lies within me when I look at myself and my life.  I am very exacting and expect a lot from myself, and reminders of past failures combined with the threat of future failures can literally paralyze me. No one else really knows how to speak to me at those points in my life – no one except ME.

So I have learned to speak Comfort to myself, or at least as much as I can manage at that moment.  I think of EVERY blessing in my life and recount it OUT LOUD.  I think of any scripture that applies and will give me hope. 

I also remind myself that I am not alone as far as both good AND evil company goes.  I remind myself that God is for me and with me, but that I have to guard my heart and my mind because the enemy would like to have me and sift me like wheat.   I have to take captive the thoughts I’m dealing with and make sure they are reality from God and not falsehoods from the enemy meant to frighten or discourage me.

And when I realize that the situation may be, in reality, truly bad, and I am held captive in that situation, I alone hold the key to how I will deal with and fare in those circumstances.  In “Streams In The Desert” by L.B. Cowman, one devotional reads as follows:

In order to receive any benefit from our captivity, we must accept the situation and be determined to make the best of it.  Worrying over what we have lost or what has been taken from us will not make things better but will only prevent us from improving what remains.  We will only serve to make the rope around us tighter if we rebel against it.

Proverbs 23 says:

 15 My son, if your heart is wise,
   then my heart will be glad indeed;
16 my inmost being will rejoice
   when your lips speak what is right.

 17 Do not let your heart envy sinners,
   but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD.
18 There is surely a future hope for you,
   and your hope will not be cut off.

  • I need to speak the truth, what is right. 
  •  I need to stop looking at what other people have (or really, what I THINK other people have). 
  • I need to remember that there SURELY is a future hope for me, and that hope will NOT be cut off.

By doing those three things, I can save myself from being my own Tormentor, and instead be my own Consoler and Comforter. 

What do you do to save yourself from your inner Tormentor?  How do you encourage your inner Consoler to take over and feed your spirit and soul?  You need to make a conscious decision regarding which of these two “speakers” will have control over your life.

Penny Haynes