“Why do you always wear dresses and those ugly shoes?”
I was leaning against the wall outside my second grade classroom as my friend ripped into me about my clothing. Oh, how I wished the wall would swallow me up. I was humiliated. Embarrassed. Ashamed.
I allowed the words to sink deeply into my mind. Into my heart. Already insecure, I became more so when her words hit me that early morning school day, affecting me into adulthood as I became a people-pleaser.
Shy was my name as early as I have memories. Clinging to my mom’s legs at gatherings. Rarely talking. Worse yet, someone talking to me. Throughout my school years friends were few. Girls can be cruel beings. I should know. I’m one of them.
To this day I struggle. When certain situations arise or words sting, I become the shy girl hiding behind her mother, standing in a bucket of lies from the past instead of standing on God’s truth believing how He sees me – worthy, special, beautiful, beloved, more than enough.
Are you standing in a bucket of lies? Well, grab my hand, Sister, and let’s get through this together. Let’s rip away the fear together because our God did not give us a spirit of fear. “…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
If Shy was my first name, Fearful is my middle name. It is hard to be brave and live without fear. Can I be myself with this person or am I not good enough? I might get hurt. It becomes my cloak. Comfortable is my shield. Not stepping out even when God’s gentle whisper nudges me to something new. Something exciting. Something . . . scary. I often wonder, what moments with God have I missed by being afraid?
Writing this post isn’t so scary. However, hitting that “Publish” button it is terrifying. What if no one likes it. What if those who read it think, “What a loser.” Will I turn into my second grade self, again? What. If.
I have a group of friends in whom I trust. We have become quite close as we pray for our needs, other’s needs and each other. Beautiful women who were the first persons I contacted with “I’m thinking about entering something for the (in)courage guest post. But, I’m scared.” Boy, did I get encouragement. Encouragement to try. Read that again; encouragement to try. To try is to risk failure and my middle name, once again, becomes Fearful.
So, how do we overcome what seems insurmountable? First and foremost, see who God sees. Not only are you fully loved by God, but so is the person slinging hurtful words.
Fall into God’s Word and fill up with His words, not human words. Honestly, this is where I fail. I want to punish the person with my silence or attitude instead of going to God. Real mature, I know. God’s Word may convict us at times but it will never diminish His creation – you!
Surround yourself with trusted friends…even if it’s just one. Friends who will encourage. Who will pray with and for you. We all need friends in our corner cheering for us, pushing us gently through our brokenness into the beginning of healing.
Years have passed since that day in second grade, and experiences have made me stronger, more compassionate. Aware of other’s feelings.
Dealing with other humans is hard. Yet humans are relational. We need one another. Where would I be without my circle of friends who love me for me. It reminds me of how God loves us. And, that is very good indeed.