Who Told You That?

I've written before that I'm a big fan of Jamie Winship. One thing he often asks in his lectures is, "Who told you that?" As in, when you have an opinion about yourself, where did it come from? For instance, maybe I believe I'm bad at spelling. Who told me that? A teacher way back in 1st grade? My friends who were better than me at spelling? Maybe I'm a good speller, or maybe I could be with a little application, but this belief has kept me from realizing it.
The same principle applies to more weighty feelings: I'm not a good dad (husband, brother, worker, etc.). Who told me that? My wife, myself, my friends, the world, media? Most importantly, did God tell me that? Probably not, because God rarely says things like, "You aren't," but rather, "You are."
 But Moses said, “No, Lord, don't send me. I have never been a good speaker, and I haven't become one since you began to speak to me. I am a poor speaker, slow and hesitant.”
The Lord said to him, “Who gives man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or dumb? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? It is I, the LordNow, go! I will help you to speak, and I will tell you what to say.” (Exodus 4:10-12)
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine. (Isaiah 43:1b)
So when you're thinking things that may be counter-productive, about yourself or others, ask yourself where it's coming from. I know personally I've felt the most animosity in this realm towards my marriage, sometimes just plain not feeling like loving my wife. Why? She's the same person I married. We're only closer today than we were back then. I think she's grown more beautiful today than she was back then. So where is this coming from? Certainly not God. And so my response must be to reject it.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
When I find myself spiraling down into doubt, despair or negativity, and catch and reject those feelings, they do indeed leave, and a feeling of peace and joy is often left in its place. It may seem strange, but there are spiritual influences present in our lives, whether we acknowledge them or not. Being aware of them and your power to resist that influence, through Christ, is the first step towards freedom, joy and healing.