from Rachel: My Thought Closet

Write down the “I am” statements you say when you’re beating yourself up.

  • I am “so lazy.”
  • I am “such a procrastinator.”
  • I am “so silly/foolish/stupid/idiotic/weird.”

What words best describe how you feel when you beat yourself up?

“defeated, incapable, incompetent”

How in control are you over your thoughts? “infrequently”

Are you satisfied with your answer? “no”

Why or why not?

“It’s not good for me personally, and it’s not how we are Biblically called to be.”

Describe your thought closet bins. Write the phrases you most often speak to your soul in the box at right.

  • “‘You’re right, I should… But I’m not going to’
  • “‘I should have done that better’ (even that [thing I decided not to do, above])
  • “‘Other people can do all these things; why can’t/don’t/won’t I?’ / ‘Why am I so lazy?’
  • “‘I’m such a screw-up’

On the bins below, describe what each verse says about the potential of human thought.

  • Psalm 10:4 “‘pride’ ‘wicked’ ‘no room for God’”
  • Psalm 58:5 “Words get twisted and returned with intent to harm” [this one I relate to most]
  • Isaiah 59:7 “Evil thoughts go with evil deeds”
  • Isaiah 65:2 “Obstinate unbelievers pursue their own imaginations”
  • Romans 1:21 “their thinking becomes futile”

What does this verse [Psalm 58:5] say about the tendency of human thought?

“They are easily and frequently twisted around and turned back harmfully on the thinker”

Describe a time when this kind of thinking showed up in your life, and how it felt.

“Since high school, at least, I have on occasion gently chided myself aloud sometimes, ‘Silly Goose.’ My best friend in college picked up my habit, but was at times far less gentle, occasionally leaving off ‘Silly’ and harshly spitting ‘Goose!’ at me.”

Have you ever pulled from the human thought closet? How did your thoughts affect others?

“I guess like [the example] above, my mild self-abuse acted as a license for their actual verbal abuse.”

Fill in the boxes describing God’s thoughts.

  • God’s thoughts toward us: “‘too numerous to count’” Psalm 40:5
  • God’s thoughts are: “‘very deep’” Psalm 92:5
  • God’s thoughts are: “precious to me: ‘How great is the sum of them!’” Psalm 139:17
  • God’s thoughts are: “higher than ours: as the heavens are higher than the earth” Isaiah 55:9
  • God’s thoughts are: “of peace and not of evil: to give me a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29:11

Since you clothe your life with the contents of your thought closet, what would your life look like if you were clothed with the contents of God’s thoughts?

“more lovely, serene and Christlike”

In what ways does your thought closet need to look more like God’s?

“more mercy, love and cherishing; less judgment, discouragement and name-calling”

How can you establish godly thinking (Proverbs 16:3)?

“I can commit my efforts for thought change to the Lord, and my plans will succeed.”

Dearest Rachel –

This study did give you the option to claim you were largely in control of your thoughts, and later, that you were satisfied with how much your ‘thought closet’ looked like God’s. I suppose it would be intellectually dishonest to make either of those claims, though. Still – and it may simply be because I keep getting farther from the times when you were here with me, and that more and more, I remember your sweet, cheerful and loving side rather than your faults and foibles – it’s astonishing to see your deep dissatisfaction with yourself.

Then again, this day’s homework is asking you specifically about those times when you were beating yourself up, so I suppose it stands to reason that you would wind up accentuating the negative in your notes.

I vaguely recall Elizabeth talking to you like that at the campus cafeteria. I’m not sure that she necessarily meant to sound as harsh as she did; that, if I recall, was merely her tone of speaking, being a much more forceful person by nature. And I have no room to criticize her, either; I recall you telling me how you liked it when I shortened your name to ‘Rei,’ only for you to change your mind when I developed a habit of using it when expressing disappointment, as if I couldn’t bring myself to finish saying your full name. Effectively, I had both created and ruined your nickname, and that was on me. I’m sorry about that.

And even as I was transcribing this day’s study, I found myself wondering if I had known you were this dissatisfied with yourself, whether I could have helped you with these issues. There are so many times when I think I may have enabled you – much as I’m pretty sure I still do with Daniel, I think – rather than help correct certain undesirable traits. That again, would you simply have resented it if I were to push you towards being a certain way before you were ready to?

I guess I’ll never know.

At least now, your thoughts are fixed upon Him, as they were always meant to be. It must be nice; looking forward to that completion myself.

Until then, take care, and keep an eye out for me.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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