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.
But I didn’t ask your opinion.
But I love Jesus.
But surely I can’t be doing everything wrong.
But you don’t even know me anymore. When was the last time you even asked me how I am??
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.
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.
From where I sit, you have handled the course of life well and with great dignity. I try to remember that “He remembers we are dust…” and that God isn’t measuring us against perfection – it is for this reason He sent His son at Christmastime. We can never do it all ‘right.’ Cling to Him, let Him define you.
What can you do to take care of yourself today? writing? sounds like that helps. Lunch with a friend? A quiet walk alone? You count and your needs are important.
Keep sharing, it is balm for many others!
I am so sorry that these people have hurt you with their words. I know how hard it is to forget the things that peoople say to us. Please know, though, that your words encourage me and help me know that I am not the only one with these thoughts and feelings. You are able to express exactly how I feel and I am so thankful for that! Hang in there and (please) keep writing!
OH, amen, sister. I totally get the codependent caring what EVERYONE else thinks thing. 😛 You will be in my prayers, as I find the emotional energy to pray them. Which, I am finding more of every day, thanks to women like you who speak up about these issues. <3
hang in there.
I also think the concept of Safe People is a good one and these people obviously aren’t right now. If you struggle with giving these people inappropriate value to their words when evaluating how much of a real friend they are, then for now might I suggest you turn down their volume by spending as little time with them as possible. You do not have to respond to every sling and arrow. They do not seem to have your best interest at heart, but rather their own agenda or even pride. Leslie Vernick has written well on this subject as well as Jann Silvious and Foolproofing.
Great idea to be with safe people only. I am a sensitive person – just as you are – and I am grateful that God made me that way. You have the gift of compassion and caring and I hope you know how much you have helped all of us out here in blogland with your transparency, authenticity and kindness.
Sometimes these situations truly show us who our friends are. Continue to pray that the Lord would reveal His truth to you.
Blessings to you,
I see where you walk, as I have walked in a similar place…I have found that people will judge by appearances as Jesus says Stop! in John 7:24 we cannot make a right judgment unless we have all the facts…Through this time, allow God to continue to soften you heart as He uses it to toughen your skin, conform you more to the image of His Son, Jesus, and build character through it…Remember, as believers, Our first loyalty, as believers, is to Christ…Jesus was obedient in all ways because He sinned not, we are sinners redeemed by His Blood..Jesus was up against the Pharisees, hypocrites, religious leaders, scribes…Who can be against us, when God is for us..Romans 8:31..Onward Christian Soldiers..my precious sister in Christ….Merry Christmas!!
I am married and although I can’t relate to your specific circumstances, I read your blog because I think you model a very godly approach to handling huge conflicts in our lives, and trying to follow the Lord’s leading during very tough and confusing times. And you are a gifted writer. Your blog is wonderful – so honest and encouraging. I pray for blessings and peace for you and your family in 2013.
God bless you for sharing your pain, as that is exactly what I am dealing with now. You have encouraged me so much with story. God bless you as you encourage others.