MeandAlison

Lately, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to a few groups around the country. It is one of my most favorite things. I enjoy meeting you in the flesh, sitting across the table from you before the speaking session, hearing your story, singing worship songs with you, and taking selfies to post on Instagram.

But let me tell you something. Every single time I stand in front of a group of people to share a few words—no matter the size of the group, no matter if you laugh in all the right places, applaud in moments that catch me off guard, smile and nod at me from your seat in the audience or congregation—no matter what, every single time, when my talk is over, and before I’ve returned to my seat, a symphony of negativity has already taken up residence in my head.

Perhaps you’re familiar with this particular chorus? The one that sounds like this: Who do you think you are, anyway? What a ridiculous bunch of words you strung together up there. And what’s with that outfit? Seriously? You wore that to talk about Jesus? Not to mention your hips. They are way too wide. And your belly is a bit out of control, don’t you think? Why do you think you have anything good to say? Why do you think you have any authority to speak about Jesus? And, didn’t you mention the Holy Spirit while you were up there? What in the world do you know about the Holy Spirit? Let’s not be foolish, okay? Let’s not go overboard. You should just call it quits. You really should read more books or take a few classes before you get up in front of another group. And what’s up with your hair?

I truly have to  fight (and I do mean fight) to keep my head above the litany of naysaying that often unleashes itself in my heart and mind. I don’t have this all figured out, and moments like those remind me I’m not done with the “I don’t measure up” game.

Darn it.

You too?

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Well, let’s remind ourselves of this real and honest truth: God rejoices over us with singing. Nothing we do will separate us from God’s love. Nothing. There is nothing we can do to make God love us less, or more. His love is not dependent on our performance, our talent, our intelligence, our words, our actions, our platform, the cleanliness of our minivan, our ability to make a perfect batch of brownies, our skillful (or not) stringing together of words on a page or from a podium.

We don’t have to believe it for it to be true. But, it is, by far, a better report than the ones we often find ourselves believing about ourselves, don’t you think?

When I find that symphony of negativity trying to strike a chord in my mind, I start singing a song I learned when I was very little. It’s one of the first songs I remember my mother teaching me, and this is how it starts: Jesus loves me, this I know

That’s usually as far as I get. Just that first line. Because that one line is enough to kick the symphony of negativity straight to the proverbial curb.

{Photo by Mel B}

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  • http://sunrisewithasixpack.com Karin Madden

    Oh thank you for this, Deidra. What a relief to hear this. It is an awful negative symphony, and when I remind my kids not to listen to it – I have to remind myself, too. I’m kicking it the curb with you. Thank you for being so transparent and real. “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’ ” ~ CS Lewis. Yes. This. Exactly. Thank you.

    • connie

      Thank you for sharing….his name is “accuser of the brethren” and his job is to intimidate.
      Yes, Jesus loves us, yes Jesus loves us, yes Jesus loves us for the Bible tells us SO (there!)

    • http://www.deidrariggs.com Deidra

      Love that C. S. Lewis quote. It’s the truth, isn’t it? We think we’re the only ones, and then! Surprise!

  • http://walkingwellwithgod.blogspot.com Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God

    Deidre,
    Oh that chorus in my head…I’ve heard it many times. It was playing, in fact, right before I sat down to read your post. How right you are that we need to kick it to the curb because that is the enemy’s chorus, not the voice of our loving Lord and Savior. It is comforting to know that I am not alone. With power in numbers, we can tell the creep to get lost! Thanks for the encouragement this morning – it was much needed!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • http://www.deidrariggs.com Deidra

      Yes, indeed! Get lost!

  • Melissa

    I have chosen my One Word for this year and it is Growing. For the month of March God has led me to grow in my health. Part of this is my emotional health. I need to stop the negative talk as well. Thank you for this timely post. God has spoken to me through you!

    • http://www.deidrariggs.com Deidra

      A friend once recommended a book called, “Telling Yourself the Truth.” It helped me in so many ways. Mostly by recognizing what’s true and what’s not, and then getting rid of what’s not.

  • http://www.bellsthatring.blogspot.com Kate

    Speaking of songs….

    The last two mornings I have woken up with Kari Jobe’s “You Are for Me” lyrics in my head. Odd – seeing as though I haven’t listened to that song in a long time. The part that keeps coming to me is:

    ‘I know that You are for me
    I know that You are for me
    I know that You will never
    Forsake me in my weakness’

    For us girls who here that nay-saying symphony often – truth filled lyrics are a gift :)

    So grateful you shared here today. Many thanks.

    Blessings,
    Kate :)

  • http://itsallbananas.wordpress.com Anna

    Yes. Yes. The enemy knows just what kind of discouragement gets to me. Greater is he who is in us. Thank you, I needed this.

  • Dawn

    I struggle so much with negative self talk and I asked God how I can stop it, only 2 hours ago. When I put my daughter to bed this evening she was particularly scared so after the bed time prayer and normal lullaby I also sang ‘Jesus loves me’ to her to help her remember she is not alone. I said to her that God loves her so much that he can help her to change her scary thoughts. I’m in tears reading your words as I know they are His words for me. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • http://loriharris.me Lori Harris

    First off, let me give you a resounding amen. I live in the pit of negativity more often than I like to admit, my favorite thought being “Who do you think you are?”.
    But secondly, I’ve heard you speak and can I tell you something? When you open your mouth, I see Jesus.
    And your fabulous hair.
    {smile}
    Keep fighting, woman. I love the Christ in you.

  • http://embracinghispresence.wordpress.com/ Shell

    I could so relate to this post! How quickly the negativity fires up the moment we get fired up for Him! Thank you for reminding us that we are HIs, He is bigger than our ways, our thoughts and our actions. Our hearts, it’s our hearts He desires and loves.

  • karyn

    Just for a good laugh to encourage you.
    My history teacher called me a proverbial. Every history lesson cos I answered all his questions while others were eating their Mars bar hidden in their desk or just day dreaming.
    I loved history, this proverbial did and still does.
    Now I just read Scripture and everything pertaining to it.
    :)

  • http://www.sharono-somethingtothinkabout.com/ Sharon O

    SO powerful. Thank you. this is beautiful and so full of ‘real’ truth. We all struggle and we all can sing that little song and get past those ‘words that hurt us’.

  • Chanda

    Thank you!
    I too get opportunities to speak but currently I am leading worship for 100 women each week prior to our small group bible studies. I am never nervous before or during our worship time but it is immediately the moment I walk off stage. I hear these horrible comments in my head like “are you kidding me? That sounds horrible. Wait till these women get a chance to talk behind your back”. Or “you shouldn’t be up there, that is a disgrace to God”.
    It is only until I start humming “How Great is our God” that I finally end the anxious feeling and no longer hear the comments. Thank you for posting this, it makes me feel sane! Thank you for being a sister with a love for Jesus by encouraging us each day with sharing a part of your life. I can’t wait to be partying it up with Him, with you. Xo

  • http://www.notsorandomstuff.blogspot.com Gina Detweiler

    We are good at this, aren’t we? I want to make that something I’m really bad at!

  • http://intentionallygraced.blogspot.com Penny

    I love, love, love the idea of singing “Jesus Loves Me” when those lies start invading your thoughts! Oh, I can’t wait to share this with my girls. Even at such a young age they struggle against the very same things. It seems negativity comes so easily, and takes up residence so completely. Thank you for sharing such a sweet, simple solution. I believe it will be monumental!

  • http://www.sbryant.me Stephanie Bryant

    Amen. Jesus Loves Me is little Miss Gabrielle’s favorite book and song. I’ve read it almost every day, multiple times per day, for the last 9 months. She claps, squeals and is so intense. Every time. She knows it to be true. I’m still learning from her childlike faith. I’ve realized the repetition is as much for me as for her. Probably more for me. ‘I KNOW Jesus loves me’ changes me and the way I experience everything. Thank you for sharing what most of us struggle with daily. Xoxo

  • http://www.lisaspidle.com Lisa Spidle

    Oh I so get this! I feel the same way every time too. I love thinking of the song. Great idea. When I feel those negative thoughts, I remind myself God has called me to obey him. What I might perceive as nothing or less than or a mistake, God gently reminds me He called me to do that. I need to stay faithful to him, even in the small things and remember what he wants me to do not what I think the world wants to see. Thanks for this post!

  • http://sundaygravy.blog.com Kasy

    Every. Single. Time I post something to my blog-or even think about picking up my laptop and typing what God lays on my heart I hear this symphony…almost the exact words you described. I feel it and hear it too, I have to let God’s song sing so loudly over me to drown out the negativity. The devil knows the words to say to crush me, but God’s love is bigger and mightier! I hear His voice through the negative thoughts. Jesus loves me (and you!) indeed!!

  • http://www.butterflymoonjewels.blogspot.com alli

    What he tells me ‘why do u just go and hide’ i needed to read this bc it happened today. ‘Why dont u just dig a whole and crawl in’ lol. The bad thing is im mistaking that for God. I know why, i grew up around it and anything less then perfect, simply wouldnt do. I look at others and think theres no WAY i can compete with that, but the sad thing is i assume that what someone else has is ‘better’ all the while they want what i have. So glad you posted this because inspite of the voices in my head, im going to write even if its not perfect.

  • http://www.butterflymoonjewels.wordpress.com alli

    Somehow i got in my head if it isnt perfect its not worth doing. But who’s perfect, but God alone.

  • http://www.adandeliondiary.blogspot.com Mindy

    “God’s love is not dependent on our performance.” Yes, nor the size of my hips or the ways that I lack because in Him I am enough. He is enough in me. Thank you for your words today..

    • http://incourage Julia

      Deidra
      Thank you for your words of encouragement in Dare to Dream Womens Compel Conference
      In Sioux ,IA.
      You were so refreshing to listen to about the dream process and being created in God’s image. Also funny story about coming to the midwest. Thanks for the hug and your smiling attitude!

  • Paulette

    Yes this resonated with me in such a huge way. I have been in the same situation after speaking in front of a group and have actually cried afterwards when all those things come to mind. I was always afraid to speak in front of a group of people and would speak so fast just so I could finish and run and hide because I felt what I had to say was not good enough or the top management would say why did we promote this person to management when she clearly does not seem to cut it. BUT GOD brought me through that fear and he loves me with all of those flaws and will ALWAYS LOVE ME no matter what. Thank you so much for sharing something I am sure many of us face. JESUS DOES LOVE ME THIS I KNOW!!

  • http://www.faith2shine.com Brandi

    Diedra,
    I should show you the text message I just sent my husband… we had had an argument and in my text I detailed the thoughts I was battling … those very negative, discouraging and not-from-God thoughts about me not being ___ enough. It is a battle and a bloody one somtimes. What a fantastic tool, a simple song full of humongous impact. Jesus does love me (and you) and if we know it- the devil has lost the battle. In fact there is no battle. I like Kasy’s words- every time I post or step out to be obedient I too, fight the fight. Armed with His love each next post or step out will get easier. And Mindy, I am writing “in Him I am enough, He is enough in me.” with a dry erase marker on my mirror!
    Thanks girls for this reminder… a most timely word!

  • http://hopehearthome.com Susan Shipe

    I hate the devil! Always trying to take God’s beauty and bashing it. My issue was/is always “why can’t be like so and so?” It’s a terrible way to live, as a wanna-be. We must remind ourselves every single day, we are His masterpiece – and put on our armor from Ephesians 6 so man’s comments and the enemy’s cannot penetrate our spirits. Great post and I bet your hair always looks good!!!

  • http://livingloveloudly.blogspot.com/ Sarah Skinner

    Ladies…You are loved. As Jennifer Dukes Lee said…Pre Approved. I’m claiming it for myself and passing it on to you. You’re Pre-Approved. Yes and amen! Jesus Loves me.

  • Ruth

    God rejoices over us with singing. So often the enemies voice is the one I tune in to, yet my heart cries out to hear the Father’s song. I think the simple yet profound truths in ‘Jesus loves me….’ may be God’s call to me to switch channels. I will sing. I will sing loud. I will sing truth. I will sing with joy and with peace to the One who rejoices over me as He sings.
    Amazing, a chorus of truth to combat the enemy.
    Thank you for stirring my thoughts today
    xx

  • http://www.kathycheek.com Kathy @ In Quiet Places

    I do almost the exact same thing when I am having trouble falling asleep which is usually when negative thoughts are spinning in my head. I remind myself Jesus loves me and I am His and those words always soothe and comfort me because I know they are truth!

  • http://learntoembracethestruggle.com Alison Hector

    Ms. Deidra, needless to say that I had a “What the What?” moment when I saw the first picture. LOL! But here’s a song that used to be my mantra when those crazy thoughts would flood my mind and try to take me out. God’s bigger than the tripe that the enemy would want us to believe, Deidra!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZX5z6oGx6g

  • http://freedtofly.wordpress.com Trudy

    Oh, how I identify with you, Diedre. I’m not a speaker like you, but that symphony of negativity plagues me. Sometimes after every word I write or speak… Such a nice thought to sing “Jesus loves me.” At the name of “Jesus,” the devil must flee. :) Thank you for sharing, Diedre.

  • http://www.alyssasantos.com Alyssa Santos

    Wow! This is great timing because I am sharing God’s story in my life on Tuesday and yes, the doubts come rushing. And I was thinking about that verse from Zephaniah about God singing over us. He doesn’t him or murmur a little ditty- he sings with all the soul of God. Here is the one I love, sings he. How we need to remember he rejoices over us. Thanks for your honesty and these words!

  • Veronica

    Hi Deidra,

    Thank you for your honesty in sharing your truth. Thankfully, we have a God that loves us despite our imperfections. He sees only beauty, while we focus on the “what is wrong with me.” You brought a smile to my face. I was able to identify with what you wrote and further claim God’s grace. Where would we be without it? I love our humanness…you share…then we share in community. Beautiful!

  • Theresa

    I can honestly say, I have no idea why we have these negative things in our head, it just seems others opinions are so important and what’s so scary, is they probably don’t even know. Let’s let the king of kings reign in our thoughts and minds.

  • http://na susan

    Dear Deidra,
    My yes those haunting whispers that trap us into quieting our voice. Loved today’s post and love your sharing in the past here at (in)courage. Hope to see you and hear more at the (in)courage conference in March. Blessings

  • Regena Mills

    Satan knows the weaknesses of most of us as women…our lack of self-esteem…of our doubts about ourselves. About our wishes to be a better wife, mother, sister, daughter. To be more beautiful, more self-assured, more talented, more…..everything. I heard some years ago that Satan cannot read our minds as our Lord can, but Satan hears our spoken words and plants those doubts and fears in our minds….its difficult but we must to stop feeding him weapons to attack us with! And I am one of the.worst.offenders. Bless you for sharing!

  • http://dianatrautwein.com Diana Trautwein

    Sheesh, your symphony sounds a heckuva lot like mine. I know that song, way too well. And I’m grateful for other songs to sing, too.

  • http://helenwashington.com Helen Washington

    Thank you Deidra!
    I needed to be reminded that this struggle of trying to measure up and be found adequate is not
    a lone venture.
    This week, I had to do some serious self-talk as I floundered in the waters of “not good enough” and completely ignored a big accomplishment I had achieved.
    It is so easy to look at what is lacking or even wondering what others will think when really no one is spending all that time thinking about me ;)
    So thankful that YES…Jesus loves me.

  • Marinalva Sickler

    The symphony of negativity is very noisy around me with the probating of my home. Meanwhile, I’m practicing with my soul to hearing the singing of
    the Lord over me. I’m reminding my soul that my Redeemer is watching over me. Thank you.

  • http://maddychristinehope.com Hope

    I am really ‘good’ at what you describe. It’s really sad. After some months of not working I started up again and the voices came crashing in. It’s hard to fight really. I like the idea of singing that song. I also makes me think of the following quote by Marianne Williamson:

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

  • http://redemptionsbeauty.com Shelly Miller

    And see, every time I’ve heard you speak you seem so at ease and confident. I’ve been in awe of the gift, really. It’s nice to know that we are all the same isn’t it? It seems that is one of the greatest gifts of maturity is learning how much we are all so much the same when we thought everyone had their act together and we were somehow out of the loop.

  • http://www.ablaringquiet.com mijin

    Your symphony of negativity made me smile- just because it’s so honest and so familiar.

  • http://songskatesang.com/ Kate @ Songs Kate Sang

    Oh my goodness – I love this quote – We don’t have to believe it for it to be true. Thank you!

  • http://www.dorisswift.com Doris Swift

    Thank you Deidra! I can definitely relate to this soul-bearing post. I think the world would call it “misery loves company” but we speaker sisters can call it “joyful over-comers through Christ loves company.” Blessings, peace, & joy because He Is.

  • http://daysnthoughts.wordpress.com Joanne Viola

    I wish you could see me nodding my head as I read your post. And may I say, I would hug you & thank you for these words. I will be remembering to sing that first line, “Jesus loves me this I know” repeatedly when doubts begin to plague me until they are dispelled. I am deeply grateful for this post. As an aside, I love when I see your photo in a post or link. Your hair shouts, “Joy in Jesus” to me every single time! And so does the words you write. Blessings!

  • Rachel

    Your sentiments resonate so clearly with me. As a worship leader I too battle every single one of these thoughts! But what has stuck out to me through each of the following comments is the power of worship songs…almost every one has listed their go-to song…which reminds me that worship is the single best weapon for defeating the devil & his fiery thought darts! Let the worshippers arise & the enemy be scattered!

  • http://stateoftheheartliving.com Caryn Christensen

    Hmm…sounds JUST like the symphony that goes off in my head! Honestly Deidra, I feel like I could have written this exact post word.for.word. The biggest “tune” I battle is, “Who do you think you are?” Every time I write a blog post. Every time I lead in any capacity. Every time I step out, in faith and share what is on my heart. You are an amazing woman of God who shares with boldness (even if you’re shaking in your cute little boots!) that Jesus loves us. Just as we are. And maybe you need to hear it again…that the single melody you sing, comes across loud and clear. <3

  • http://soulstops.com Dolly@Soulstops

    Amen, Deidra…Keep talking and keep shutting out that “symphony of negativity”…

  • http://whoivealwaysbeen.blogspot.com Carolyn Counterman

    Tell those voices to hush. Your hips are lovely.

  • http://trendingmama.com Marisa Slusarcyk

    I love how honest and real this is. No matter how well someone performs or looks or doesn’t look we all have doubts and I think that stems from Eve in the Garden of Eden and the forbidden fruit making us self-conscious. Perhaps these feelings of negativity can be something you speak about so all those people in the audience can realize that they too have worth! Bless you and your journey!

  • Beth WIlliams

    Deidra,

    God bless you for being so transparent and honest! I also want to add an astounding AMEN AMEN AMEN to that negativity concert. I hear it quite often.
    My problem is not feeling adequate at work. Feeling “stupid, not smart enough, not measuring up–I don’t belong here”.

    I fight hard to keep my head above the litany of naysaying that Satan whispers into my head. My course of action is usually to turn around and yell – even if with no voice “Get thee behind me SATAN”!!

    Blessings :)

  • http://www.missindeedy.com Missy

    Deidra, one of the reasons that I so appreciate your words is because of the gut-level honesty you deliver them with. Every. Single. Time. You prove that again, here. That “you too?” question? Oh yes! That symphony can get down-right frantic, too, if I determine to remember how much Jesus loves me. I love the reminder that our God rejoices REJOICES over us with singing. My goodness… how can that be? But He does. And that is a positive place I can park, right there. I love your encouragement here, for us.

  • http://chocolatecovereddaydreams@blogspot.com Simone

    Me too!!!!!I It is wonderful to have company in feeling the way you do. Sometimes, it just means hearing, “Me too!” that makes it all better. I know the truth of God’s love for me but doubts seem to win easily over the truth at times. Last Sunday, as a part of the worship team, I totally started a song way too high for my range. I could feel myself getting more and more embarrassed each time I attempted to hit a high note. Then, I realized that I was singing to WORSHIP and not performing for the crowds. It was all about God and not about me. I grinned and looked out at the congregation and shrugged my shoulders and said, “Whoops!” Everyone laughed along with me and by the time I sat down, I was still laughing. That moment could’ve ended up with me walking out in tears or doubting whether I was meant to be up on the platform at all but like you, I am humbly reminded of his love for me and it makes it alright.

  • http://www.janarogers.org Jana

    Beautifully written! I have to remind myself often that God’s love isn’t dependent on my performance. Thank you for that resounding assurance.

  • http://www.jenniferfrisbie.com Jennifer Frisbie

    Beautiful!

  • Sheila

    I’m tired of fighting. Glad you still can.

  • Holly

    I love your honesty and must tell you how close this is to my own heart and mind. Thank you Deidra for sharing this. The Lord brought me to your words tonight after a very frustrating bible study that I led on Friday. I go with a positive outlook but by the time I arrive back home the “negativity symphony” is ringing in my ears. Next week we will sing Jesus Loves Me before we begin the lesson. Also, thanks for all the comments as well. Each one lets me know I am not alone. I have Jesus and many “sisters” with me.

  • http://lisanne3015.wordpress.com lisa

    Deidre,
    I literally just commented on another post about the naysayers in my mind. I have very recently begun to blog and recently shared about my “Insecurity Buttons” .
    Thank you for sharing your gift for the Lord. I needed the reinforcement of Zephaniah this morning.

  • http://www.composinghope.com Amber

    These are the same words I have running through my heart, and it keeps me in secrecy. I don’t share my blog in real life, with people I actually know, because of this. It’s a horrible fear of man complex and I’ve been fighting it for 2 years. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one and even just reading though some of the comments encourages me. Thank you for sharing your heart because it has blessed mine!

  • http://withlove-simplybeth.blogspot.com Beth

    I love how it only takes a few lyrics to say good-bye to those negative thoughts. Love even more how God really does delight over us with singing. It’s so beautiful to imagine.
    Loved the picture of you and Alison, too. I was able to meet her last December when traveling to DC for work. She is a sweetheart!
    Much love to you, Deidra.
    <3

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