“Sticks and Stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” What a bunch of baloney, seriously! I have always thought this statement was a bold face lie. Words carry a lot of meaning and power. It is the major way we communicate with each other. Words can affirm us but also tear us down. Words can deeply hurt us, more than a physical wound.
I understand the argument to not allow words to affect us, that words only have power if we allow them to. But honestly, how hard is it to not allow them to carry any power over us? It is so hard. Especially the negative words that we speak to ourselves. We can be the biggest bullies to ourselves. We can be our harshest critic. Why? I believe it’s because we truly know how broken we are. We believe the lies that tell us if people truly knew us, if they knew the darkest parts of us, they couldn’t possibly love us. We couldn’t possible be worthy of love.
So many dangers come from this. And I say, we begin by breaking down those lies. First we need to understand that no person will be our savior or can save us. We already have a Savior who longs that we invite Him into the darkest parts of ourselves so that He may shed His merciful light. We need to stop seeking the approval of others. We need to start seeking the “approval” of the One who already looks at us and says “My Child you are worthy of the blood I have shed for you.”
Secondly, we need to practice self compassion. I am not saying we need to become self absorbed and inward. I am not saying that we stop serving others and begin to serve ourselves. No. What I mean when I say we practice self compassion, I mean that the same compassion, the same uplifting kind words that we share with our best friend or our loved ones, we share that same compassion with ourselves. Let us ask ourselves this question: The way I speak to myself, the words I say to myself, would I say them to my best friend? To a loved one? If we are honest with ourselves, the answer would be no. Because those words, those words can be too cruel to say out loud.
“Gosh if only I had studied the extra 10 mins than I would have gotten an A on the exam, man I am so dumb, I am a failure.—– Man why can’t I be as fast or athletic like my friends, I am such a loser I will never be good enough. —– If only I didn’t eat that last cookie, than I wouldn’t have gained the extra pound, gosh I will never be like those girls, I will never be beautiful” These are just some surface level lies that we feed ourselves, that I have fed myself. There are some that go so much deeper, but even these surface level lies, these chip away at us, they tear us down.
Those words, the lies we feed ourselves, they are not of God, that is the devil. That is the devil in attempt to separate us from God. That is the devil attempting to make us believe that we were not made for greatness. But I refuse to believe those lies anymore. I refuse to speak those words to myself anymore. Because I am a daughter of God, God who created me and saw no flaw in me, so why do I, why do we seem to only focus on those flaws. We need to begin to focus on Christ. God made us for so much more. He made us from love, by love, for love. We are not the sum of those lies we feed ourselves, we are the sum of the Father’s love for us.
So while yes, words can hurt, and they can hold power over us, know that no power on earth, in the heavens, or under the heavens is greater than the power of God, and His love for us. So let us allow the words that He has spoken to us be the ones that hold power over us. Let us let those words be the ones that we draw our strength from. And even if that is still hard to accept, even if we continue to struggle with not believing the lies we speak to ourselves, than in those moments, let us speak these words of truth to ourselves, while looking to the cross:
I am so much more than this. I am loved, I am worthy, I am cherished. I am enough. Those words are not true, and they are not of God. Lord show me how to receive your love today. Speak truth into my heart.
“My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak”- 2Corinthian 12:9