by Leslee Stewart
The other day I was floating along in life, feeling like everything was pretty good, when a friend made a comment in passing that opened the floodgates of doubt and worry in my mind. Suddenly I found myself replaying our conversation over and over, trying to dissect each word, tone and facial expression of my friend, hoping to uncover the true meaning behind what she’d said.
My friend was clueless about how her comment had affected me. She was just innocently passing along some information that another person had shared with her – information about something I’d said that that person didn’t particularly like hearing. Even though I hadn’t done or said anything wrong to the person she got the information from, I couldn’t shake the idea that somehow, someone I’d encountered had registered a bad impression of me.
It’s amazing how quickly our mind and emotions can go from happy to sad. Some days it’s like riding a roller coaster – up, down, good, bad, pleasant, miserable. Why did I allow a simple comment from my friend send me on the mind games crazy train?
I let myself stew over her words all day long, until finally my husband asked me what was up. He could tell by my abnormally quiet demeanor that the cogs in my brain were on overdrive.
I shared with him how I was feeling and how upset it had made me. I felt deflated, defeated. It made me want to shy away from opening my mouth and speaking the truth – even when it’s done from a spirit of love and grace.
He pinpointed my mind-sabotage pretty quickly. It all boiled down to a lack of self confidence on my part. As much as I try and tell myself that, “sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” it just isn’t true. Words can wound us. Words can open the door to self doubt. Words can make us want to temper who God’s called us to be out of fear of what others might think or say. No matter what I might tell myself, at the end of the day, I still want people to “like” me. And when they don’t, I struggle with how to handle their “dislike” of me.
My husband reminded me that no matter what others might think of me, the only thing that really matters is what God thinks of me. I am His daughter, the apple of His eye. (Deut. 32:10) He knows everything about me. His thoughts about me are precious. (Psalm 139)
Even though I “know” everything my husband was telling me, too often I forget it. I let the influence of others shape my self-perception.
In Romans 12:2 it says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” And Psalm 94:19 says, “When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.”
That’s what I want – to change the way I think, to let God’s comfort erase the doubts of my mind and bring hope and cheer to my heart. God, give me Your confidence. Renew my mind. Help me not put so much weight in what others think of me. Help me to see myself through Your eyes – as Your precious child. Let me be a reflection of Your grace, love and forgiveness so that I might help others experience the freedom that comes from living fully in Your presence. Amen.
Leslee Stewart oversees communications for GFC Beautiful. She is a wife, stay-at-home mom of two boys and former communications executive. She openly admits she owns too many throw pillows, loves junky old furniture and can sing all the parts of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”