Stuff happens. People say stuff. People do stuff.
What I am asking myself is, “Ok, so what are you going to do with that?”
Words hurt. Words get into your heart and soul.
I am noticing unkind words spoken about me or someone I love leave a mark. I am getting better at being able to look at what was said and putting them into perspective mentally. I can look at the situation and logically realize these people speaking have no real consequence in my life.
To put it honestly, they really mean nothing to the big picture of my life. I don’t mean that rudely. In relationship to my life, they have not invested in me nor are they a part of the circle of influence in my life. They have not walked with me or listened to my heart. They’ve not prayed for me and are not committed to my welfare.
Yet, words can be crushing.
The Scriptures say there is power of life and death in the tongue.
Proverbs 18:21 says,
“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.”
Have you given any thought to the words you speak to others? I am paying more attention. It matters. It’s too easy to quip off something without thinking of the consequences.
But, my experience this past week has been on both ends of the spectrum.
I have heard words spoken to me and loved ones that were more poison than fruit. Words that had the potential to bring death. But, then I have also heard many loving words of life. Words that speak life, hope and encouragement.
Which ones am I listening to?
I have had to do some hard work to properly deal with the hurt that came from the hurtful words.
Logically I understood the place those words have in my heart and mind. Yet, the words caused a grief I could not shake. It settled over me like a heavy blanket. It took a couple of days to shake off the heaviness that covered me. The words were an indictment against who we are and everything we hope to be. Cruel and dark.
These words tried to carve a giant, black X over our hearts.
“Not good enough. Not EVER going to be good enough. Broken. Not loved. Hopeless. Death. Rejected. Inadequate.”
But, after my Sweetheart and I prayed over our hearts and those we love, the true work began. It has proven difficult to shake off the death grip of those words.
It’s not coincidence that hurt follows on the heels of victory or success.
The Scripture talks about a “lion who comes to steal, kill and destroy.” Lions are stealthy and swift. The lion worked steadily all week through a totally different and unrelated interpersonal issue. This work was meant to distract me and cause me to lose focus. Then on the heels of great joy and victory, a lethal strike came from a completely unexpected angle.
I began to wonder.
Why do I listen and take to heart more the words of hurt than the words of healing? Why can’t I shake this?
It takes hard work. I knew I had a choice. Either I was going to give up and lose the ground I had fought hard to win, or I was going to army crawl, if need be, through to victory.
What do you do when you don’t want to become the victim of a strategic spiritual attack? Scripture says we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, but against powers we don’t see.
Sometimes it is confusing. It isn’t so easily recognized. Hurt is hurt. Misguided and misinformed people often are unwittingly used to strike and wound. It sure looks human. But, really it is a spiritual attack in nature.
So, here is what I have done this past week to counter attack and increase my strength. It doesn’t come easily.
It requires a concerted and mindful effort on our part.
I realized I can either roll over and let this disrupt God’s work in my life. Or, I can fight, quite literally, the Hell out of my situation.
- Pray over the words spoken to you. God has the power to nullify the effects on our hearts and mind.
- Cry. It hurt. I am human. I can’t pretend it doesn’t—nor am I required to.
- Remember, actively, who I am in Christ. He calls me good. That is enough.
- Fill your world with worship. I’ve been listening to worship music quite a bit lately.
- Read the Word and soak in life-giving words.
- Turn to a trusted friend to hear your hurt. Mine was a safe place to bandage my wounds.
- Put it into proper perspective. Remind yourself of the truth.
- Keep moving. Keep doing the good you know you are doing. Don’t quit.
- Keep giving it to God. We can be slow. It often takes repeating.
- Be mindful. Be careful not to rehearse and relive the words over and over. They can settle in and take root.
I realized something the other day.
Have you ever felt God reveal something to you? Well, He did the other day.
He gently spoke to my heart.
“Who are they to mark what I have declared GOOD, as not good?”
That pierced my heart and mind!
God has called me and mine GOOD. He has taken our pain and wounds and broken pieces. He promised to heal and has done a mighty fine job! And, then someone declares that divine work “not good enough” and “broken”? That is not part of His plan.
God does all things well.
We don’t always know all the good work He is doing in a life. This very fresh lesson gave me pause even today as I sat and talked with a loved one.
There would be no carving of an X today.