God often surprises me; how could he not when he is God? But sometimes I am taken aback with how intentional and delicate he is in his love and care of each of us. I was recently reflecting on the Words Matter Conference from a few weeks back and although I knew a certain moment made warm fuzzies explode in my heart, it wasn’t until I thought back on it that I saw the intricate handiwork of his love.
Let’s see…how to begin…I may pop around a bit here, so hang on. I will start with the powerful words, yes those lovely buggers. In a special feature I was a part of on the conference’s Saturday morning, my friend and emcee for the session said something during her time on stage with me that she would never fully realize the depth of. Dear Kendra said something along the lines of, “Melinda is the kind of girl that you just want to be friends with!” Her comment took me by pleasant surprise, making me blush and feel lovely all at the same time. Those words also pierced something deep inside me that needed to die once and for all. In the blur of the session and busyness afterwards, I wasn’t able to fully take it in and maybe God knew I needed to steep in it for a bit and let the whole thing sink into my heart.
Later on that day of the conference, the third in a collection of videos played. In those videos women shared the words that had affected their lives and how they had. In the last video, there I was. I had recorded it months before and yet the words I shared directly, related to what my friend had said about me only hours earlier.
Through childhood bullies’ words and the surrounding crowd’s silence, the idea that no one would truly want me for a friend had penetrated deep into my young heart and burrowed in to stay. For the next couple decades, those lies would claw at any and every relationship I had. The belief that I was unlikeable and truly not enough to be someone’s friend was like a subconscious haze over my mindset and thought life. I do believe it hindered every relationship I have had in some way, sometimes as a nuisance, sometimes fatally. I had fought it and wished for others to prove it wrong, but what I have found is this: No one can fight those things inside you but you…and you can’t do it without God’s help. Some mindsets are easily broken when you focus on Christ and who he says you are, but most are not. Most are an ongoing and often tiresome battle. But they are battles that need to be fought because those mindsets are detrimental to you fully living an abundant life in Christ.
Fight them girl. Fight hard.
You are worth the fight and God won’t leave your side as you go after the freedom He offers.
What made Kendra’s words especially powerful and showed God’s expert hand in this all was that she didn’t say these words to me, but about me…to others. Only God knows that compliments tend to bounce off my internal dialogue and fall to the ground. I am working on that as well (always something right?). I want to believe complimentary comments, and I do accept and take in more than I used to — much more; but they have to pin ball between all the silly mind games, excuses, and brush-offs in my head. Believe me, I have a heavy arsenal of counteractive complimentary…what’s another c word????…cannons? cannonry! Complimentary Counteractive Cannonry. Yep. I specialize in that. I am in the process of disarming my CCC and taking in the words of encouragement and love others want to express. I do so appreciate their words. Words are my thing.
Ok back to where I was going with all of this. God knows that I take other’s words at face value, and that I take in their actions much more than just their words. He is the only one to know (well until now, now you all know…) that although I do appreciate and need encouraging words spoken to me, they don’t quite resonate as loudly as ones that I hear have been spoken about me to another. Anyone else like that? We aren’t talking the negative words right now…I’m focused on the positive ones. Overhearing someone say something nice about me to another goes right around the maze of gunk in my mind and straight to the heart. So when my dear friend spoke those sweet words — not to me, but to the audience, it elevated the impact they would have on me extraordinarily. She is a beautiful girl and one whose words I trust, but God knew that to demolish the stronghold of this subtle but strong lie in my mind and life, it needed to be done strategically. Wow. Just…wow.
So now I am practicing walking in the freedom brought from all of that and I am humbled by her words because for the first time, in this context, I actually believe them. Why do I share this with you? Partially I share because I know I am not the only one who struggles with the lie that they aren’t worth others’ love and friendship….YOU ARE! I also share this because I want to remind you how POWERFUL your words truly are. They are to be treasured and intentional, true and freely given in love. Words are one of the greatest and most vital gifts you can give each other and though priceless, they are free, and their returns are overwhelming. Share the love. Share the joy. You never know when a random comment of love will pierce another hurting heart and warm it to the possibility of hope that what they believe about themselves isn’t truth.
Spread life, girlies…it is contagious!!