I attended a women’s retreat this past weekend. My friend Bridget did a presentation on how to relax and refresh yourself in simple ways – paint your nails, take a bath, exercise, read a book. However, I was caught off guard by what was at the top of her list and it brought up a well of emotion inside of me. She pulled out a picture of herself as a nine your old little girl, and she said, “Stop the negative talk about yourself. Talk positively to yourself about yourself. Speak kindly to yourself like you are a nine year old little girl.” I wept.
I came home and found this picture of me when I was nine, and wept some more. As I reflect back on what my friend went on to say, I would never tell this little girl (or any other little girl for that matter) that she was ugly or boring or useless. I would not tell her that she was not worthy of love or that she did not have any gifts. I would not tell her that no one cared about her.
So, why do I say otherwise to myself? Do you experience this, dear friend? I spend a lot of time listening to women and hearing their hearts, and I hear insecurities ooze out all over the place. Insecurities like mine and insecurities different than mine. They are all lies, and yet we hear them and repeat them to ourselves. What’ with that?
I don’t know. Something inside of us got contaminated along the way. Maybe cruel statements were heard, either through the words or actions of others, and somehow, someway a poison seeped in and began to destroy. We began to feel like damaged goods. Cracks in our hearts did not heal completely when we were hurt, and insecurities and lies began to distort reality and rot away at the truth that we are created by God, in His image, for a purpose, and that we are beautiful to Him.
So, what do we do?
Well, I am not entirely sure, but I am working on it. I liked what Bridget had to say – talk to yourself as if you are a nine year old little girl. Talk gently. Don’t belittle yourself. Talk to yourself as if you are special – because you are.
And tell yourself the truths of God, not the lies that you may have heard or felt somewhere along the way --lies that stick like leaches. God’s truth is bigger and stronger than the lies. You are His child (John 1:12). You are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). Your are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). God has a plan and a purpose for your life (Jeremiah 29:11); you are not a waste. You are a treasured possession, (Deuteronomy 7:6) not junk. You are a friend of Jesus (John 15:15). You are chosen of God, dearly loved (Colossians 3:12), not worthless and rejected. You are never alone (Deuteronomy 31:6). You are loved with an unfailing love (Isaiah 54:10).
Your homework for today (if you should choose to accept the challenge), dear reader, is to find a picture of yourself when you were nine. Look in to that darling face and tell her that she is loved, special and made for a purpose. And then look at yourself in the mirror, and say the same thing. Say it because it was and is true; God says that about you.
(P.S. – I must share with you that I am feeling terribly vulnerable in sharing this story with you today; maybe it’s part of the lie that I sometimes believe that people are going to think I am ridiculous and that I have nothing of value to share, but I feel that God has called me to write this. I am willing to step out and live authentically for the sake of hope. I have prayed for you, dear reader, if you struggle in this area, that God will fill you with the truth and that you will begin to see more of Him and more of the truth about you.)