“I don’t know why you tried that outfit on, you knew it would look terrible on you.”
“You should consider losing 30lbs, you looked better then.”
“It doesn’t matter how many meals you skip, you’ll never get there.”
“It doesn’t matter how hard you try, you still won’t amount to anything.”
“If it seems like you’re going nowhere, it’s because it’s true.”
“You were a mistake. Quit trying to prove that you are anything else. You aren’t.”
If someone said any of these things to you wouldn’t your first thought be to walk, or rather run, in the other direction? Seriously, why would you want to be near anyone who spoke to you that way? We would call that person a bully. The type of person we teach our children to stand up to and definitely not become.
But what do you do when that bully spewing all of this venom is you? How do you walk away when everywhere you go there you are? What do you do when the most toxic relationship in your life is with yourself?
What do you do with any bully? You try to figure out what the problem really is.
* * * *
The last statement listed is the one that carries the most weight with me. This is the root of the problem with myself. In no way is that statement true, yet I spent most of my childhood years believing that it was, that I really was a mistake.
A few days ago I found myself up in the wee hours of the morning reading a book I’d just received. Looking back, I really believe that afternoon coffee I decided to indulge in was the Lord’s way of getting me alone later. As I read this statement jumped off the paper,
“How could I be a follower of Jesus for eight years yet still be so wounded?”1
How could I be a follower of Jesus for twenty six years and still feel so wounded? I knew I wasn’t a mistake my parents made. Yet it was there. Tears began to stream down my face as the Lord began to show me the extent of the hurt from this lie that had been exposed.
I spent most of my childhood believing that I was a mistake, and the root of the problem in my parents’ marriage. As an adult I knew well enough to dismiss that belief, yet I continued to live it out in ways I didn’t realize. My grown years have been spent living and searching for validation that my life was more than someone’s unplanned pregnancy.
I spent the last decade chasing the wind, endlessly searching for the proof that I was indeed worthy of bringing into this world. I desired approval and any I received from others kept me chasing.
Ten years, or longer, trying to prove something that was already true. My life has always mattered to God. I am His child. And though this is something I have known and believed for twenty six years, that evening He set me free to really believe the magnitude of its truth. Now I just have to take His hand as He guides me towards freedom.
Freedom from the approval of others.
Freedom from the fear that I am never going to be enough.
Freedom to chase my dreams but know that if this is all I ever do then I’ve done enough.
Freedom to stand up to the bully inside.
And now that I know the name of my bully I can fill her with love so her tone will shift from words of poison to words of life. She can begin to heal and I can move forward.
1 Inviting Intimacy by Marian Green and Luke Brasel – I cannot speak highly enough about this book. While the overarching theme is overcoming a past of lies around promiscuity, it is really a guide to helping you name any lies and hurt that keep you from experiencing true intimacy with others. Please check it out.
*** I also want to note that my parents were wonderful. This is not something that they passed to me. When the enemy wants to plant something in our head he will stop at no means to do it. He knew my weakness and he used it wisely.