Options: Watch the Video below or Skip to the Writing
The material is basically the same. There are more journal prompts in the written material that you can scroll down to even if you choose the video option.
Warning: Do not attempt to do all the journal prompts. There are too many of them. I’m afraid you’ll never want to pick up your journal again!
Recommendation: Simply skim the affirmations and focus on the one or two that stand out for you. Forget the rest or save them for another day.
Enjoy! Let me know if you find this helpful.
Read Psalm 23:
Psalm 23 is one of the most famous of Psalms. I’m sure everyone has heard it and I’m equally sure many of you have heard it so often, you no longer really hear what it is saying. And for many of you it has a connection to funerals. I believe it’s one of the most used portions of the Bible especially on the back of funeral cards. This little chapter’s most powerful usage though is for the living. It is brimming with positive affirmations that have the potential to heal your wounded heart, encourage your weary soul, and rewire an anxious brain.
Today, I’d like you to try to see this Psalm in a different way. We are going to do this through the use of affirmations.
What is an Affirmation?
Affirmations are a practice that have been tossed around for decades. They are “positive statements that help you to challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts.” (www.mindtools.com) The premise is if you repeat them often and believe in them, you can start to make positive changes.
On one hand, it sounds like a really great idea. Many of us have a nasty inner critic that populates our heads with mean or discouraging statements. It can only be a good thing to turn off the automatic stream of criticism and replace it with kind words.
It’s like removing Eeyore from our heads and inserting Mrs. Doubtfire.
Or Cruella Deville with Betty White. Who doesn’t need that upgrade?
I believe the problem comes in when we think we are lying to ourselves. You can’t tell yourself you are a millionaire if you are swimming in credit card debt. You have to draw your affirmations from something you believe or from thoughts that are at in the realm of the believable for you. If you just repeat things to yourself that you don’t really believe, you are causing cognitive dissonance.
Cognitive dissonance is when you have two conflicting thoughts at the same time – which actually causes angst in your system. It literally takes a mental toll. An example is going eye to eye with yourself in the mirror and telling yourself you are young and beautiful when in reality gravity is taking a toll on your jowls. Or saying “I will graduate with honours,” if you can’t bring yourself to do your assignments. When we tell ourselves things that aren’t true a part of us stands back and says, “Really?”, cancelling out any motivation or positive changes we so long for. Our brains aren’t that easily fooled.
Just saying words you wish were true in hope that some magic will happen is a wasted practice. Let me show you a way you can incorporate affirmations into your life that are anchored in thousands of years of productive practice.
I have pulled a list of 10 Affirmations from this little psalm. I will walk through them with you. Which one or two does your soul need to hear today?
Ancient Anchors for Present Day Problems
“The Lord is my Shepherd.”
Relax. You’re in the right place at the right time.
Someone else is in charge. It’s not all up to you. You have a guide through this crazy wilderness. You’re not alone and He has you right where you are supposed to be.
Journal Prompt: I question whether I am in the right place at the right time because…
“I have all I need.”
Look at you! You are fed, dressed, warm, You don’t need anything else. The world of marketing! bombards you all day long with all the things that are supposed to make your life better.
Journal Prompt: What if you believed for this moment, for this day, that you have everything you need? What would shift or change?
“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He restores my soul.”
I don’t have to hustle 24/7. There is space to refresh myself. You can and should take a day off. If you are sick or injured and unable to work, instead of working yourself into a frenzy, or the opposite: amusing and entertaining yourself; What if you paused and saw it as a time for soul restoration.? A time of resting by quiet waters. A time to renew your inner spaces. This is the moment when you don’t have to hustle for anyone or anything. Everything can wait for this minute.
Journal Prompt: The world will not fall apart if you rest. What are you afraid will happen?
“He guides me along the right paths for his name sake.”
If I’m willing to follow, He will direct me on the right path. Trying to make a decision today? He’s on the path ahead of you knowing where you should go. Calmly take the next step that you know to take. You’re a cared for sheep not a feral squirrel scattered and panicky to store enough away so you can survive.
Journal Prompt: What are the things overwhelming you. List them out. What if you only focused on the next right thing?
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I have nothing to fear for you are with me.”
I’m not going to focus on fear. I will instead find a place of comfort. The news, the media, the world will marinate your mind in fear and negativity. I don’t think our nervous systems were designed to handle all the bad news from all over the world. Turn it down. Shut it off. Tell yourself you don’t have to be afraid. You’re not alone in this. One of things I know about what makes an event traumatic is the sense you are alone in that moment.
You are not alone. Ever.
Journal Prompt: What situations would be different if you believed that?
‘Your rod and your staff comfort me.”
My guide has the tools needed for this space and this time. I don’t have to know everything or do everything. I don’t have to have it all in control – He’s got this. There’s comfort in knowing He will care for and protect me.
Journal Prompt: What is on your mind that is actually out of your control? How can you surrender that?
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”
My wellbeing is not dictated by my haters. Even when someone is against me, I can still eat in peace. Their anger, their contempt, their hatred doesn’t have to touch me. Surrounded by an invisible shield, I can see it but it doesn’t come near me. I can see it and continue to take in nourishment for my soul.
Boundaries. Boundaries. Boundaries.
Journal Prompt: Picture yourself in a bubble with the critical people in your world on the other side. You can see them but everything they say against you splats against your bubble and you can look at it and either take it in as valid or reject it. What would change?
“You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows”
I am anointed and filled to overflowing. What if you took that into your day? This is the line that spurred me forward to create this today. I am anointed and filled to overflowing. Take that in for a minute. What are you anointed for today? What do you want to be so full of that you can’t help but overflow into the lives of those around you?
Journal Prompt: How would my day be different if I went into it knowing I’m anointed and filled to overflowing?
“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.”
I am leaving behind blessings of good things and love for those that come behind me. Try to leave people better than when you found them – from the grocery store to the living room.
Journal Prompt: How can I leave things better than they were when I pass through. What area of my life needs this most?
“I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
I have a place in a home where I belong. Maybe today your home is in turmoil and it doesn’t feel peaceful and safe. Know you are part of something greater. You are a child of God in a house where you are loved, and cherished, and looked after forever. No one is kicking you out at a certain age. You’ll never be too old to have value in this house.
Journal Prompt: What if I believed that I belong? Where is that hardest to believe?
How to Use the Affirmations to Rewire Your Brain.
Pick out one of these that resonates with you.
Right click on it or tap it. Save it to your phone or your files. You can send it to yourself in an email. This works well If you can schedule the email to send later in the day as a reminder to yourself. Or, you can use it as the background in your phone for reminders throughout the day.
Use it as a Reminder.
When you find yourself with negative or unproductive thoughts swirling through your head, take a moment to remind yourself of the affirmation. You may have to do this several times a day. Our brains are astounding but they are also efficient. If there is a pathway in your head that your thoughts are used to going down, you can guarantee that’s where your brain will continue to funnel your thought train.
Whatever you believe, your brain will look for proof. For example, if you believe you will never get it all done, your brain will take every opportunity to point out moments when you are distracted and unproductive.. It will find proof that you are inadequate to meet the demands of your life. Try catching yourself in the moment (which is the start of a series of moments that lead to overwhelm) and hand your brain something different to ponder on, such as “I just need to do the next right thing.” This sends a different message throughout your system and can prevent the freeze and unproductivity that comes with overwhelm. Try it.
Rinse & Repeat.
When the unwanted thought pops up, actively redirect your brain toward the affirmation. Over and over. That my friend is how you reprogram your brain.