In my previous post on this topic, I discussed my insecurities with talking to people. I used to be a wallflower who sat around thinking no one wanted to talk to her because she was awkward, had big feet and a crooked smile. Umm. That’s a pretty selfish attitude.
I didn’t think it was selfish at the time, but then God called me out. He changed my heart. He showed me that it was selfish to focus on my insecurities. I was placing my value in the opinion of others.
The imagined opinion of others. My opinion of myself projected on others.
So he stopped it. I very rarely go to that lovely self-loathing city on a hill. It’s a rather lonely place. It’s filled with shame and doubt.
I don’t want to live in a place filled with those things. I want to live in a place that’s happy and content and confident.
I rebuke my children all day long about being nice. But I wasn’t being nice to myself. And if you can’t say something nice, you shouldn’t say it at all. Even to yourself.
What example was I setting for my daughters and my son? A bad one. I was issuing an invitation to that lonely city of self-occupation.
This is especially damaging to our daughters. Girls are highly interested in the thoughts of others. In pleasing.
And I’m seeing that city of self-doubt inviting my six-year-old in like a batch of fresh baked bread. She doesn’t know what it is yet, but you can hear the gears of “Am I good enough?” turning in her beautiful little mind.
And I want that mind to stay beautiful. I don’t want it to go to the dark places. I don’t want it to sit quietly in a corner and be scared someone will bring down that egg shell of protection she’ll place around her heart.
I can’t completely protect her from this world, and as much as I want to, it’s not in my power to do it. But I can do a few things. And I can do a few things with all my might and then add a dose of His might.
I can fight for her heart on my knees. I can ask Him to show her the way, the truth and the life.
I can teach her the example of reaching to Him when it feels like no one in the world loves her.
I can teach her how to shut up that voice of self-doubt with helping others and good self-care.
I can teach her that impatience is a shortcut to Self-Loathing City.
I can teach her that her words matter so much to everyone around her. And especially to herself.
I can to put on that full armor of God to protect my mind and her heart.
What example do I set when I complain about my weight, my hair, my lack of ability to do something?
I don’t have to sugar coat things, but I do need to speak the truth in love about her abilities, her behavior and how she spends her time. But I don’t have to teach her doubt or tears or shame.
And mostly she can teach me. She called me out a couple nights ago.
She taught me the truth of the proverb quoted above: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
I could’ve crushed two little spirits by going to that angry place. That place of impatience and self-loathing. But here’s what happened instead.
The baby was crying for no apparent reason and then the man cub starts up. Uncontrolled crying is a game changer for this momma. She’s not good when she can’t fix it, especially when there are two of them at.the.same.time.
I wanted to hide in a hole and cry just like them. But I couldn’t. So I did the next best thing. I lost my patience. I was gritting my teeth. I was trying desperately not to yell at them. I was failing.
And then that beautiful little girl said, “Mommy, you know they can’t help it. They just need you.”
Ouch. He called me out again. I was ready to rage on to that city of self-loathing. But He stopped me in my tracks through the wise words of a six-year-old.
So, I put my armor back on and fought through the tears.
I actually asked myself, “Is this an example of Proverbs 31? Am I giving my children a mommy ‘clothed in strength and dignity?’ Am I speaking with wisdom?”
Nope, I was going to that place of self-reliance.
I decided to take a detour to the kitchen. I put the baby in her swing and went about my preparations for dinner. Little One found her thumb and rocked to sleep after a few minutes. The man cub’s blood sugar came back up after two bowls of ravioli. And the six-year-old sage saved the moment.
She called me out of the mommy fog. She set the example I needed to set. But He saved us from a moment that could have done years of damage to their little hearts. He gave us grace.
Even though I didn’t deserve it, he sent it anyway.