Christine Duncan

Precepts & Life Preservers

Taking That Internal Dialogue Captive

It was doing it again.

Blocking out everything.

Interrupting everything.

That infernal internal dialogue just doesn’t stop.

It doesn’t break for pedestrians.

It doesn’t slow down after peak hours.

A running commentary that becomes the white noise in the background of life.

It can be the reason for our lack of focus. It can be the reason for our lack of sleep. It feeds anxiety. It feeds worry. It feeds defeat before we even get going on our day.

The internal dialogue.

It’s a powerful thing, isn’t it?

And it can run the gamut of all the lists of things I need to do, always being edited and re-assessed, to all the things I’m juggling for blogs and writing, about everyday life and health, and then on to all the things I try to fit in between.

A mish-mash of any random thought, idea, plan, worry, prayer, doubt, fear, and truth.

It rolls around in my head, often drowning out the immediate, and hindering me from making strides into my day.

Oh, some days the internal dialogue seems harmless and quiet. Like I almost don’t know it’s there. And then other days it’s like the conversation is using a megaphone and blasting away on my insides.

I think we get so used to hearing that dialogue going from head to heart that we start accepting it as just another part of life. Like how a momma tunes out all five kids as she’s driving for carpool, or how an office worker begins to tune out the fax and copier machines in the next cubicle.

Our internal dialogues become second nature, and before we know it, all our faith and desire and purpose nose-dive or soar depending on the conversations happening on the inside.

I for one was tired of the trap it was causing. Of how the running commentary was depleting me, wearing me down, and robbing me of the most important things.

Like rest.

Like passion and zest and laughter.

Like peace and trust.

Like prayer.

Yep, even prayer. I know I’m not the only one who has begun praying, only to suddenly have the mind take over the heart and suddenly you’re reviewing your grocery list, deciding to buy that new couch you saw shopping,  and wondering if that young guy who called for a minute to talk to your daughter is going to wind up being “husband material.”

Where was I?

See. Internal dialogue does a complete take-over every time.

I was tired of having my inside voice ransacking and hijacking my day and my nights.

So I took to my Bible.

And then something happened.

And I started taking my internal dialogue to the Word as well.

And I started doing something that made such a difference to my whole day that I can only describe it as one of the best tools I’ve ever been given.

He freed me from my own words…

All because He wanted me in the Word.

All because He wanted me to take every thought captive.

Literally.

Taking Our Internal Dialogue Captive!

I know we’re told to take every thought captive, and that we’re to use the whole armor of God each day, and that the Bible isn’t just a love letter but a weapon to wield when we need to go to battle… and boy did I have a battle on my hands each time the running dialogue started up. But one morning, when I hadn’t slept because I couldn’t seem to shut my brain off for the thousandth time, and couldn’t seem to start my day for all the things being shouted over my brain still, He showed me the most simple principle of the Word.

So that His words would wash over me and through me and propel me instead of my own.

So that a spiritual dialogue would take the place of the internal one.

So that His voice would drown out the static and noise.

I was sitting that morning, Bible in my lap, reading words of power and hope. I was so desperate for hope, for focus, for strength, for endurance. I knew the internal dialogue that day was going to be loud and involved. I was reading about trading my burdens for His peace.

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Matt. 1:29,30

Such a familiar scriptural promise. And I wanted that trade. That burden-shift. That release from what dogged me at any given time. Wasn’t a child of God free from burdens of all kinds? I knew the truth. But hadn’t thought through its intention or how to apply it in this instance.

But my heart made a new connection as I drank in this verse. If you keep reading from that point on you’ll see that after such a wonderful promise from Christ he then goes on to address the religious. He’s just finished talking to his disciples about opening their eyes, to see him for who he really was and what he can provide, and now he has to deal with the shallow of heart, the ones who knew what to believe, but not how to live it.

This stopped me. How many times had I told others to give over and submit all their cares and worries and internal dialogues to Him but had said those words while clinging to my own? There he is in the temple talking to the hypocrites and hard-hearted and they carried a huge burden they’d placed on themselves that kept them from being free even as they professed to know God.

I had known God carry’s our burdens, trades our yoke for His, gives peace and rest to the weary. But had I heard His Matthew 11 words and then actually lived them?

I breathed a prayer, “Lord, I’m going to literally trade you my internal dialogue for Yours. My words are dragging me down, and Your words bring rest and peace and life instead.”

And then I did something physical with my internal conversation.

I placed my hand over His verse of promise in Matthew, drew those words of His in to where my heart needed them, and, are you ready for it…?

I literally closed His Words over my own.

I closed my Bible up with a firm sweep of the hand.

And left my words encased in those pages with Him.

Maybe my action sounds funny to you. But I’m a visual learner. The more I see something and do something important, the more it invades all the places it needs to in order to impact all of me.

People, can I tell you the release that comes with putting God’s principles into real action? It’s insane. It’s wonderful.

His Word taking my words captive.

I got up and left the room feeling lighter.

Instead of taking the internal dialogue with me, now I take only the spiritual dialogue with me.

Every morning, every night. Whatever His words to me are, I lay down mine right there and make the best trade ever.

I leave mine with Him, I hold His close. I close the Book of all books on them. And I walk away with peace.

Putting that old internal dialogue in a new place, where they no longer have any power over us! Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Instead of taking the internal dialogue with me, invading everything I do and everywhere I go, I take only the spiritual dialogue with me, and it covers everything I face and blankets everywhere with His fresh certainty.

What do you need to close the Good Book on today?

Doesn’t have to be just your internal dialogue. Could be your disease. Could be your fears. Could be your mistakes. Could be your doubts.

Trading our dialogue for His!

Lay them down between His words, in His Word, where His power will invade and He trades you for your burdens and gives you peace instead.

Best trade you’ll ever make.

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4 Comments

  1. Great topic Christine. That inner dialogue can get us in trouble. I see it a lot in leadership (including myself) We need to delegate a task and we start making excuses for the other person, “They are too busy,” “Have so much on their plate,” etc. The Word and prayer go a long way to “renew” our minds to make sure we have the right internal conversations.

    • Christine Duncan

      August 20, 2015 at 1:29 PM

      Yes! Renewing our minds… filling them with His promises and truth… It’s a wonderful thing, I think 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by Jon!

  2. Just re read this one again, so needed it at such a time as this. The inner dialogue is
    pulling one way then another, I have to get focused again on the scripture casting all your cares upon Him for He cares for you. Oh how quickly mortal people, I’m sure we’re not the only ones…….can get caught of guard when we least expect it, and once again have to run to the word (Jesus ) to get ourselves in tune with Him again.
    what would we do without Him ??

    • Christine Duncan

      November 25, 2015 at 1:10 PM

      Aw, thanks Edna. He is able to take our thoughts and infuse us with His instead when we’re willing! Isn’t it wonderful?

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