Do you ever have one of those days where you’re going about your daily tasks and the devil just smacks you upside the head with a twisted version of what someone said the day before? You know that person’s heart, you know their love for you, you even know that they would never mean, deep down, what their words insinuated. And yet, you receive their words as an arrow piercing your heart. You even allow those words to define who you are.
That was my yesterday. And this is my today.
I’m sitting at work, doing my normal tasks and all of a sudden a simple phrase stated by a friend bubbles back to the surface and the stinkin enemy spews poison all over it and I begin to doubt, once again, who I am and what I’m worth.
I am not a woman only worth what she can do. My value does not lay in people’s perception of the tasks I can, or cannot in this case, complete. If I’m not trusted by people with a task, it is their responsibility to bring it to my attention and give me the opportunity to change my habits. But in this case, I hear it from a 3rd party that I’m not to be given (read “trusted with”) tasks. The reasons why are left unsaid, but the enemy knows just how to accuse my heart in a billion directions from just one little statement.
Honestly, sometimes I wish people were just MUCH MORE BLUNT WITH ME!!! I cannot tell you how many nights I sit on my sofa contemplating why no one calls me, or why I wasn’t invited to such-and-such event. Why I’m not in that crowd of people. Why I haven’t been chosen for that volunteer opportunity. Why I feel like I’m not one that people trust or value. And in the middle of all that wondering and worrying I just want to call those people that I’m fretting over and ask them to tell me the truth. Answer those questions. Am I not a good friend? Am I not reliable? Am I not a person who you think you’d have fun with?
Because the Bible says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted (Proverbs 27:6).” If my friends would own up to their role in my life as a iron-sharpener (Proverbs 27:17) then maybe I could grow be the person I need to be.
Or maybe in this case the issue is not whether or not I’m the right person, but more that I’m concerned about what people think of me more than what God thinks of me. Am I worrying about the praises of men too much? (Galatians 1:10). I am trying to be someone God has not made me to be?
I guess what I’m faced with today is the balance between being confident in Christ alone, knowing He is my value-maker (He knows my failures, shortcomings, the way I’m made), and knowing that I’m also supposed to be sharpened by those around me (ever scratched, etched, and buffed into the me I’m intended to become).
So for those of you that might happen upon reading this, do me a favor: never hold back what you *really, truly* think of me. I can never grow, change, improve upon my shortcomings if you just hold back what you really think of me in an effort to not hurt my feelings. And on the converse side, tell me how you really feel about me in a positive vein; do you value my friendship? Does the Lord use me to speak into you? Am I a person who adds value to your life?
Moral of the story is: be careful with your words. (James 3:1-11) They can seem insignificant, and yet they, as James says, can “set the course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” With just a tinge of anger, frustration, bitterness, our words set a flame. And Satan knows just how to twist our words in light of our own insecurities so that we doubt, ever more, who we are and Whose we are.
Who am I? I am a woman, placed on this earth by an intentional Creator to affect change in the world, to bear His image, and to be conformed to His image in that process.
Whose am I? I am the daughter of The King. I belong to my Master and He delights in me. He put me together, intentioned ever part of my body and personality. He knew that I would struggle with identity. He knew that I would be concerned about the usefulness my authority figures see in me. He knew that I would question my worth. And I believe He did that so that I would tether myself to Him all the more. That in my moments of doubt and confusion, I would sit back at His feet and allow Him and Him only to speak back over me what He knows of me.
I am cherished and deeply loved by God. I have purpose and intention on this planet while I’m here. I carry a banner of who He is wherever I go. I have a God who goes before me, behind me, and hedges me in. I am a daughter of the Most High God. I am growing, changing, being polished and refined. I’m being pruned. And it hurts. The branches on me that don’t bear fruit need to be pruned, and those branches are the ones that are concerned more about man’s opinion than God’s.
So tell me what you think of me. Tell me how I can grow. Tell me how I need to be sharpened, and then leave it up to the only ONE Who is able to do that sharpening and pruning. And speak in grace (Proverbs 16:24). Gracious words are “sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” I need a lot of healing.
“Now to Him who is able to do more than we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…” (Ephesians 3:14-21)