Have you ever said something to someone that made you cringe later?
Maybe you can relate to this.
I can’t believe you did that? What in the world would make you think that?
I stood there telling her she was wrong. Just plain wrong.
If that wasn’t brutal enough, I reminded her of how she had failed me multiple times.
She promised me she was trustworthy but she never followed through. She over-promised and under-delivered. How can you trust someone like this?
She stood there with a blank stare as I recounted the number of ways she had let me down.
I depended on her. She came up short. With every word of condemnation she shrank. She stepped back.
I looked straight into the mirror berating her….
Berating me, I continued spewing words. Words that cracked her heart. She stood there looking defeated.
I know, it’s incomprehensible. It’s jaw-dropping. Even cruel.
Our Self Defeating Scenario
Don’t we do that? When we have a series of really bad seasons of life. They can be ammunition. Directed at an easy, convenient target. The target is you.
We march in there, look at her in the mirror and begin to let her have it. Reminding her of what she should have done, instead of what she did.
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
God is Present
From the corner of my eye, I sense God is right there in the room. Off to the side, with every onslaught of negative words. It’s as if I picture Him dropping His head and shaking it no.
Not a no in anger, but no that says, this is absolutely not true. He removes himself, refusing to listen to his beloved daughter’s self-deprecating assessment of herself.
The wad of jumbled disappointments within her came out like a firing squad of stored up negative thoughts.
But what if… We took her by the hand, pulled out a chair, poured her a cup of coffee, and said, Let’s talk. Let’s talk about you.
How are you? How did you get here? What if you began to tell her all the wonderful qualities she has.
What if you showed her the qualities that give her stamina. What if you pointed out the inner beauty that needed a gentle dusting off.
What if you told her the lengths that God would go to just to get to her. No one else, just her.
What if you pointed out the empathy she has when others are hurting.
What if you told her the strong words she says at times come out of a strong love and concern for other people.
What if you told her weight did not determine her worth.
What if you told her repentance would help her find a million do-overs.
What if you told her grace for herself is no different than grace she gives to others.
What if you whispered, You are wonderfully made.
What if you told her she was ridiculously loved?
She would stand in that mirror and say, You must be having a bad day. Tomorrow will be better. Be gentle with yourself.
You would point out the wonderful qualities she has. You would tell her to forgive herself and to take herself off the hook.
You would remind her what the cross did for her so she wouldn’t crucify herself with every bad moment.
It’s enough, it’s finished. You would tell her to never berate herself but to embrace herself because that’s what God does.
The way we talk to ourselves matters.
It hurts or heals. It builds up or tears us down. We cannot verbally shred ourselves and expect to feel good or have confidence in our lives.
Confidence comes from knowing what God says about you and agreeing with Him.
He says You are the apple of my eye. I have wonderfully and fearfully made you. Exactly like you are. I didn’t have an oops moment. I designed you intricately, with quirks and all.
Nothing about you catches me off guard. I might re-shape some things in your life but just because you are on the Potters wheel doesn’t mean something is wrong. I prune things that aren’t working in your life.
Transformation happens as I minister to and massage the broken places in your life.
Wounded places are sensitive and even hurt at times, but all hurt isn’t measured the same. There is a tender hurt that is healing. It’s redemptive and life-giving not life-taking.
Those who put their trust in me will never be ashamed. I remove shame, I don’t add it.
Trust the process and stay hidden in my love. Laugh at the length I go to for you. It’s laughable because no person will go to the extreme to reach you and redeem everything in your life. My arm isn’t too short to reach you and my ears are not deafened at your cry.
Speak kindly to yourself. Be quick to forgive yourself. Let gracious words be spoken over your life as you work through difficult seasons.
You are my beloved. May you see me today when you see yourself. You are the work of my hands.
Lord, help us to say the things to ourselves that you say. May we be quickened to bridle our tongue when hurtful words want to spill out because we are frustrated or disappointed at life or even ourselves. You are bigger than anything we face, even ourselves. We trust you Lord to transform the way we see ourselves and look more like you every day. We thank you Lord for your loving-kindness.
For no one ever hated His own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as The Lord does the church.
Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of your wings.