I met Rebecca Hastings on the blogosphere a couple years ago. She has been a kindred spirit in my writer-life, one I can depend on to read right through me in her own words. I often wonder why the people I so resonate with have to live states away. God…c’mon help a sister out! But really, when we find people who get us because they get the struggle — it sort of blows fresh air into your hardened lungs. When I read her book Worthy, a 20-day Devotional, it brought tears to my eyes. I saw myself in many of the stories: The girl who was laughed at. The girl who was abused. And the mom who became a little over-protective because of it.
Sometimes, the negative things that happen to us build up like the walls of Jericho. It makes it challenging for anything to get through. In her book, Becky talks of comparison. Another subject familiar to my own struggle. Because when you’re beaten down and lonely, you start to believe what you hear is true.
“When I realized the neighbor’s house is so much nicer than mine or the friend’s vacation is much better, I struggle between being happy for them and being ashamed of myself. Somehow, I bought into the idea that if I am not the best at everything, then I am not worth anything. This is where comparison gets me in trouble. I have linked my worth with other people who don’t even know they have it. And then I punish myself.”
She asks if she’s the only one, and I will be the first to answer no she is not. Just today I found myself draping shame around my neck like a wool scarf. A relative deservingly shared details with us about a new promotion he received and deep down I wanted to be excited to for him, and I think I really was — but my sometimes messy heart began feeling frustrated. Frustrated that I had hardly any fruit to show for work done behind closed doors for nearly two years.
I heard the voices:
Comparison caused me to forget how far I’d come. My focus shifted to all the rest. That heavy feeling of, “No one here gets me,” began to rap on my mind harder until I was no longer even listening intently to this conversation amongst our group, but was caught up in a wave of stormy thoughts. The thing about my mind is that it doesn’t take but a few minutes of negative dwelling to completely exhaust me. And truly, that’s all it was. A few minutes, if that.
The enemy knows our sore spot. Mine is that ugly shame. But sometimes I think more than the enemy — we do much damage to ourselves when we refuse to listen to the right voice. This message is in my heart because I’ve lived it. It’s why this year for our church’s VBS I am writing the curriculum on “Hearing God’s Voice Above the Noise of the World.” Just like the day I carried around three ongoing manuscripts to a writer’s conference hoping to let someone in — I lugged those negative thoughts with me throughout the rest of the conversation in our family circle.
And when it was my time to talk, as if we were perfectly planning this (NOT!) what do you think happened? I will tell you. The conversation shifted and a child needed our attention. I had started talking about a dream of mine and finally trailed off when I realized no one heard me.
The voice again:
NO ONE CARES
Like the childhood voices I heard in school, those sentences became louder than the truth. But I caught myself dwelling on something that was false. And I knew truly, my family was not thinking these about me. That’s why I love Becky’s book. On the back cover, it reads,” You are worthy. Right here, this very minute.” It’s what we need to hear. That right now before we see the complete perfection in our bodies take place — we are worthy in God’s sight.
Over and over and over again in my life, God is teaching me where to find peace and where to find my worth; and it is not in things, titles, and accomplishments. It is not in lie-based labels, and I surely won’t find it in accolades. You won’t either, sis.
We can tell a million people, “I am doing __________,” and it wouldn’t make us feel more like daughters of the King. No, we have to find that at his feet. I’ve said all the phrases, had the conversations, showed the papers to a dear friend. I know this to be true. We have to stop listening to the wrong voices to tear down the Walls of Jericho around our heart, friends.
3 Ways to Find Healing from Hurt
Tear down those walls around your heart by trying these:
1) Write through the struggles like a psalmist. Going from crappy to praising via sentences strung by strong verbs has always helped. Instead of trying to cover up or chase out pain, I am learning to embrace the realness of it. To accept that I am human, and then ask God to come into that space and renew me. But this has to repeat daily, sometimes multiple times daily if it’s a tougher season. When we write through pain we get the crap out so we can fill up on God’s goodness because now there’s room for it. Emotional artists, feelers and psalmists tend to start out with questions or despair but end in praise as they allow their heart to be lifted up out of the fog.
2) Read about other’s struggles. I am not happy others struggle, but when we can share openly with discretion and wisdom about some things, there is an unseen power at work through the Holy Spirit. We can grow from sharing experiences, and I know I don’t need to go on and on about this one. Y’all get it.
3) Go against our senses. To help prevent a fall into the trench of doom, speaking God’s word about who He says I am is the best way to fight through a struggle. Speaking a promise aloud when your life looks anything BUT that right now…is difficult and bold but needs to happen and will take practice. And yes you will feel weird at first, but keep doing it. Example: Marriage struggles = “I know it looks like there’s no hope, but God you brought us together for a reason and I believe you have good plans for us. I will not believe the lie that all is doomed. I am expecting to see you move in a mighty way.” And then follow it up by listening to an uplifting podcast or dancing to music, or even going out for ice cream. When life wants to send you one way, surprise it and turn the wheel. Our minds + action is a powerful way to bring about transformation, one tiny step at a time.
Tear down your walls of Jericho.
We are honoring our friend, Rebecca Hastings for the next 2 weeks and celebrating her book’s 1st birthday (June 3rd!) To win a copy of her book, share this post with as many people as you can over the next week. Everyone who comments & shares will be entered in the drawing.
—For each share, you get 2 points.—
Come back here and comment on how many places you shared through Sunday, June 3rd at midnight, so we can tally up your total and share the winner next Tuesday!
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“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12”
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*Tips her hat, puts her phone on SHHH mode and makes a mad dash for the library*
–Link Up Through 6-3-18 Midnight–