Hey friends! Following up our JU Evolve, this week we’re inviting everyone to participate in a communal fast. Every day we’re going to have a different fast, focusing on pouring ourselves out so that God can fill us up instead.

Today our communal fast is Negative Self Talk, Gossip, and Shame. I’m a 1 on the Enneagram, the Perfectionist. I’ve lived my entire life with a harsh inner critic that’s constantly whispering in my ear “You’re not good enough.” Not only that my work and results weren’t good enough, but that something was inherently wrong with me. My inner critic is the voice is shame and unworthiness.

The way that inner critic has manifested itself in my life is in negative self talk. I’m embarrassed by my inner dialogue. How harsh I am with myself, how little grace I afford myself.

I speak to myself in ways I would never speak to someone else. Maybe this is similar to your experience. The more and more I grow in my relationship with Christ, the Holy Spirit has become direct opposition to  hat inner critic. When all I hear and feel is guilt, shame, and despair, The Spirit comes in and speaks life, hope, and grace. When my critic goes low, the Spirit goes high.

We are all children of God and because of that we are inherently worthy. Give yourself grace, patience, and understanding today. (Isaiah 61:7)

The reason we paired Negative Self Talk and Shame with Gossip is because Gossip is simply our Negative Self Talk turned outwards. There is a way to lovingly call out wrong in the lives of our brothers and sisters.

But most of the time that we’re talking about the lives and decisions of other people we’re simply projecting our own shame and insecurities onto them. We’re not speaking redemptively, we’re speaking about them to feel better about ourselves. See the image of God in your neighbors, your friends, and your family today. When you feel the urge to gossip, let it pass. Trust that God is working in their life the same way that God is working in yours. (Ephesians 4:29)

Today as we fast these things together, let the voice of Shame because the voice of Love, Acceptance, and Gratitude. Though we do wrong things, though we hurt ourselves and others around us, we ourselves are not inherently wrong. We’re made in the image of God and made for good and wonderful works in the name of Jesus. (Ephesians 2:10)

Peace and love friends.

Troi Aragon Buchanan
Assistant Director of Worship and Community

March 5, 2018