Thin Skin - Elisabeth Klein
I am weary from the weight of several people’s words on my life right now.  And when I say several, I mean nine.  In the past several weeks, a circle of nine – none of whom are walking closely with me – have sent criticism arrows at my exposed and currently totally vulnerable Achilles heel – my heart. A friend even said to me recently, “Is there a target painted over your heart?” Many things that I am doing and thinking have been pointed out to me as wrong.  Many things.  And here are my knee-jerk responses, in my head:

But I’m 42, not 12.
and 

But I didn’t ask your opinion.

and 

But I love Jesus.
and 

But surely I can’t be doing everything wrong.
and 

But you don’t even know me anymore. When was the last time you even asked me how I am?? 

and 

But it wouldn’t even cross my mind to walk up to you and tell you something you’re doing wrong in your life, you who I barely know anymore.

and

But I’m just trying to heal from this horrible thing.

But those things run through my mind within a few short moments, and then I’m just left with the stinging.  Because the words that have been spoken over me all hurt so very much.  And I cry because I know how hard I’m trying to do the right things and say the right things. And I roll the words around over and over again. And I ruminate. And I assume that they are right about everything they’ve said about me and I am wrong for doing and thinking what I’m doing and thinking. And I get sad, and I stay sad. And I totally second-guess myself and my words and my every decision. 

I have a very thin skin. I am very easily hurt. I so wish this weren’t the case. I would give anything to not care what people think about me.  But I pretty much care very much what every person thinks about me, being the good little codependent that I still am.  It seems my view of myself is informed by your view of me; I am dependent on your perceptions and opinions.  And when I say your, I apparently mean every person alive on the planet at this time.  

So today, I sit with the criticisms and I ask the Holy Spirit to bring to bear what I should do with it all and what I should just let go. But that doesn’t feel like enough. I want to be humble enough to take in what someone says to me; I want to learn and grow. So I can’t just angrily blow off everybody who ever tells me something about myself that I might need to work on. And yet, I don’t have the emotional energy to carry everyone’s analysis of me around and enfold it all into my personality like gospel truth, not these days I don’t. There must be a balance. 

So other than memorizing and saying over and over again I Corinthians 4:3-4:  I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. And other than crawling into a hole and not speaking to anyone ever again, or at least until I’m a bit stronger than I am right now, I don’t know what to do with it all. Today, I have no answers. Just questions and wounds and a lot of self-doubt.

If this post encouraged you, you would benefit from “Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage”, found here or “Living through Divorce as a Christian Woman”, found here.