"I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast towards you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you, you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.
It's the last day of the Watch Them Fall series! I pray that the Holy Spirit has spoken to you in many ways through this and that you learned something from these posts. I love you all and will continue to keep you in my prayers :) God bless, and enjoy this last post!
Questions are lined up side by side, one on top of the other. My soul processes them and call them worthless, my brain processes them and call them neutral, my heart processes them and keeps them. Three different filters to go through, three different outcomes. Three sides, all opposing one another. A friend walks in. Four filters, four outcomes, four sides. Social media pops up. Five filters, five outcomes, five sides. A parent rushes in. Six filters, six outcomes, six sides. Another person, and another, and another. The devil sneaks in, disguised as an angel. Ten filters, ten outcomes, ten sides, ten influences. The Holy Spirit takes over - eleven filters, eleven outcomes, eleven sides, eleven influences. Ten lies. One truth.
Okay, so I know this series is supposed to be about who you are in Christ, but I want to slightly take the focus of who you are and talk about your neighbor- your friend - your enemy - your brother.
Last week, I was placed in a tough situation. I was eating a meal with a few other girls. The thing was, they were gossiping and saying unkind things about some other girls who weren't present. They went on for about ten minutes, and I sat there, silent.
First of all, I want to just say that gossiping is wrong. Ephesians 4:29 says to "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." Gossip is corrupting talk. It pulls people apart - friends, family, best friends and acquaintances alike. Nothing good can come out of gossip - sin - and when you gossip, all you're doing is giving word to the devil. What I mean by that is that when you gossip or say anything unkind, you are letting Satan speak DEATH to those around you, and yourself, through your words. Maybe it's not directly to that person, and maybe they never hear it, but it's poison to those who hear it. It makes them think differently of the subject of gossip, or makes them suspicious of him/her. Gossip is poison. End of story. Don't do it.
I stare at my reflection. Am I pretty? Do I live up to the standards of the other beautiful girls that surround me constantly? If I wasn't super pretty, would people still accept me? Would they be able to see past my appearance and love me for who I am? Am I "pretty enough" that someone would like me? Pursue me?
I pondered over these thoughts a few months ago, though they still pop up often. A girl had just told me I was "really pretty, omg!" plus I had recently discovered another guy liked me. You're probably asking, why was I denial if that had just happened? Well, because that was one of the first someone outside of my parents/family told me it. And what shocked me more- the girl was Caucasian, saying it to an Asian!
All my life, I've struggled with my appearance. People had told me I wasn't that pretty, had a fat nose…I told myself I was ugly, had super non-complimenting uglier glasses. People told me I looked like I was thirteen or younger. I told myself I'd never be as pretty, mature looking as my sisters. Beauty was an insecurity of mine that only grew as I grew, though I got better glasses and grew up a bit more. And I'm still struggling with it. The vast majority of girls - and guys, too - are insecure about how they look. Even the prettiest ones, those who seem all put together. They're not perfect, though sometimes I tend to forget that. They're just as human and broken as you, and they need Jesus as much as you and i!
I don't know if it's something mainly middle children deal with, but I'm sure a lot of you have experienced something similar to what happens to me somewhat often:
My dad has been wanting me to learn this song called "River Flows in You" by Yiruma, but without the sheet music and only by ear. I've been putting it aside for a while (although I loved the song and had wanted to learn it for a while, I was just so busy), but a few months ago I finally decided I'd actually do it. I learn about ten measures, more or less, and I play it for a while to make sure it sticks in my head.
And no one notices. No one takes the time to realize I've just learned a brand-new song without reading the music. Sure, my family stop by to talk to me about other things, but no remark about my latest accomplishment. And no - I'm not doing it just to be praised, but it is encouraging just to hear one short comment about it, even a negative one, to show that they realize I'm here. My dad even has the time to yell my name so I can help with groceries, but nope, no "great job! You started learning the song!" comes to my ears.*
Two months ago, I was sitting on the ground, painting, when I overheard a teen say to his adult friend, "I'm just not good enough!" His friend immediately replied, "Don't say that! That's not true." The teen said, "But I can't do it. I'm not talented enough."
It deeply saddened me to hear that, but it wasn't the first time I'd heard something like that. There are people I know who are constantly putting themselves down, telling themselves they're not good enough, that they're so much worse than so and so, that they can't do it, and so on and so on. And I know I do this to myself, too, lots of times. It's a constant theme that Satan attacks us with - questioning our identity and our capability. Was I good enough?
After hearing people say this to me before (not in the exact words, and sometimes just in their body language and facial expressions), it's hard to keep their statements out of my head. Am I good enough? Did I do enough to be loved by all people - am I supposed to be loved by people? Do I fit in enough? The question "Am I good enough?" is a question that grows from the seeds of comparison. Comparison - another trap of the enemy. You want to be good enough, but how are you defining "good enough"? Are you defining it by your friends' statuses, or your family's standards? Is it good enough for that cute person of the opposite sex? Is it good enough to get a certain job, certain position on the team? Is it good enough for your own goals and rules? What is the definition of good enough - and are you it?
Ever since I first started thinking about how other people thought of me, I've been chained. Chained to doing what appealed to them, what they liked, what they said I should do…it became an endless cycle of me asking someone what they thought and then me immediately obeying their suggestion. The things I wanted to do became the things people wanted me to do, the things I did became the things they told me to do. I was a slave to their words. If someone said something negative about me, I would often worry about it until I could "fix the problem" - and if I didn't have a solution, I'd just let it drag me down. When someone said something really positive about me, I was literally walking on cloud ten for the next couple weeks, until someone said something negative, and then the cycle would repeat. I wanted to be accepted, and to me, this was the way to do it. And, I guess, I am also a born people-pleaser, which can definitely be good or bad!
I was so used to someone criticizing me all the time, judging me for every single thing I did - from the things I'd say even to the way I breathed "too loudly" that I became afraid of sharing my heart with people. I tried to do everything right so that I could maybe avoid a harsh comment or look, and I was constantly asking person after person what they thought of the things I did or accomplished or who I was. I became so concerned about fitting in - being accepted - that I forgot who I was. All I remembered was the slap of the negative comment and the feeling that I just wasn't good enough. Wasn't pretty enough. Wasn't talented enough. Wasn't everything enough.
"I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart;
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"I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all of my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds."