Your mental script has been developing since the day you were born. It began with what your parents said to you. If your parents made comments that led you to believe you weren’t smart enough, cute enough, or good enough, those hurtful words and the emotions that accompanied them started setting the foundation for how you see yourself. Along the way, friends, teachers, and personal experiences built on that foundation, shaping how you think about yourself and thereby shaping what you think you can do and be in this world. What you believe about yourself determines how you feel about yourself, how you feel about yourself dictates your daily actions, and your daily actions added up over time determine your level of accomplishment in the areas of life that are important to you.
When you wake up to this reality, you can begin to filter the contents of your mental script through the sieve of truth, keeping what is helpful and discarding what is not—a process that is crucial to creating a mental atmosphere that will allow you to operate at the full potential God has put in you. If you don’t, you will end up living out your story based on the incomplete and often inaccurate script that has been handed to you by others. As Stephen Covey wrote:
These scripts come from people, not principles. And they rise out of our deep vulnerabilities, our deep dependency on others and our needs for acceptance and love, for belonging, for a sense of importance, for a feeling that we matter. Whether we are aware of it or not, whether we are in control of it or not, there is a first creation to every part of our lives. We are either the second creation of our own proactive design, or we are the second creation of other people’s agenda, of circumstances or of past habits.5
Becoming “the second creation of [your] own proactive design” requires that you become aware of how you think about your value, your abilities, your dreams, and your goals; get rid of misinformation that isn’t helping you live as the person you know you can be; and focus instead on your true identity as a new creation in Christ. Consider just a handful of Scripture passages that speak to who you really are:
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Eph. 2:10)
God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them. (Gen. 1:27)
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
- I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Ps. 139:13–14 NIV)
- See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! (1 John 3:1)
- Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Cor. 3:16 NKJV)
- “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11)
When you think negatively about yourself, you are putting down God. You are his child, created in his image. He knit you together with meticulous care, filled you with potential, and has given you everything you need to accomplish the purposes he has for you. Why, then, would you choose to spend precious time operating from a place of self-doubt and pessimism that will do nothing but undermine the level of your life?
You get to decide what mental script you allow to direct your thoughts and dictate your days—the script that has come to you from well-intentioned (perhaps) but often misguided people speaking out of their own poor scripts or a script based on the true identity God has given you as his child. Choose wisely. Your decision will determine the messages your subconscious mind receives and thereby control the direction and quality of your entire life.
Nelson Searcy and Jennifer Dykes Henson, The New You: A Guide to Better Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Wellness (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2019).
Want to make this idea a habit in your life?
We have just completed a Bible study to guide your group into meditating on and applying these truths. The Tongue is a Rudder is our Bible Study based on Nelson’s Searcy’s book Tongue Pierced: How the Words You Speak Transform the Life You Live. It consists of 8 ready-to-use question-based Bible Studies suitable for groups. It can be purchased on Amazon and is also available as part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service.