When my biological dad said, “I wish I’d never had children,” my interpretation that gave this statement power to fuel my fears was “You aren’t wanted.”
When the girls in middle school said, “Loser Lysa,” the fuel to my fear was “You aren’t accepted.”
When the boy I had a crush on said, “I just like being your friend,” the fuel to my fear was “You aren’t pretty enough.”
When the other mom said, “Your child is the worst,” the fuel to my fear was “Your kids are going to be as messed up as you.”
And then came the most hurtful of the statements, when my husband told me he’d met someone else. The fuel to my fear was “All the worst things you’ve ever wondered about yourself are true.”
So, there was no shortage of fuel to help the statements of others, those who knew me and those who just knew about me, travel right to the core of my vulnerabilities and insecurities. I feared their statements, because they simply gave voice to thoughts that already haunted me.
If someone says something about me that’s not true, I should be able to pull a Taylor Swift and simply shake it off. If it’s a ridiculous statement, then it should be like a bad smell that may make me cringe for a few seconds but then passes on by.
But if someone says something about me that I’ve already wondered about myself, I probably won’t be able to discern if it’s ridiculous or not. I’ll invite that statement in and offer it something to drink and a cozy seat in the corner of my mind. And before I know it, it’s moved in like a bad roommate I never intended to have. A roommate who comes into my bedroom when I’m trying on a two-piece bathing suit and reminds me of all the reasons I should never turn toward the mirror.
And, just like Adam and Eve, I want to run. I want to cover up. I hear God calling for me, but I’m afraid of being naked so I hide. But isn’t it interesting what God said to Adam? He didn’t ask about the sin. He didn’t scold him. He didn’t point out his flaws and all that was now wrong in the world because he ate the forbidden fruit. God’s first two statements to Adam were:
“Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9).
And “Who told you that you were naked?” (Genesis 3:11).
God wasn’t unaware of the answers to these questions. But Adam was. God posed these questions for Adam to process what just happened through recollection, response, and ultimately to repentance through confession.
If we were together right now, I’d turn to you, with tears of true understanding, and whisper, “Who told you that you were naked? Who told you that you are anything less than a most glorious creation of the Almighty God? Who spoke words over you and about you that stripped you bare and broke your heart?” Whatever statement was spoken to you that came against the truth must be called a lie.
God’s Word is the Truth. And His Truth says you are a holy and dearly loved child of your heavenly Father.
You are wonderfully made.
You are a treasure.
You are beautiful.
You are fully known by Him and lavishly loved by Him.
You are chosen.
You are special.
You are set apart.
No matter what you’ve done or what’s been done to you, these words of God are true about you.
May we carefully choose what we remember and what we forget. I’m so quick to remember others’ hurtful words but slow to remember God’s healing words. We must set our minds and our hearts on things above by choosing to remember God’s words, repeat God’s words, and believe God’s words about us. We must let God’s Word become the words we park our minds and hearts on. We must let God’s Word become the words we believe and receive as truth. We must let God’s Word become the words of our story.
Adapted from It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa Terkeurst – publishing 13th December 2018, available to pre-order now.