Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.
That’s a joke, right?
I can’t imagine that anyone has escaped from this life without at least once feeling as though they didn’t fit in for one reason or another. I was one of those kids who wanted to be noticed. I wanted to present my projects first, to volunteer to read aloud, or to audition for the solo or concert.
But I was also a child (and teen) who was very insecure about how I was perceived by others. It doesn’t take much for your confidence to be stripped away, does it? I can vividly recall the words of the unkind boy at my grandmother’s swim club and the girl I overheard in passing at camp.
I remember the start of 4th grade as if it were yesterday. Our classroom was oddly located overlooking the school gym, making concentration next to impossible if any other class happened to make their way to P.E. during a test. The carpet was peach and we had windows that also faced the back parking lot and soccer fields. The room was on the second floor and had a long closet where we could hang our backpacks and lunch boxes or travel down to the computer lab at the other end of the hall. I can’t recall what I wore on the first day of school, but I vividly remember the boy in my class who walked up to me quite candidly and stated that “My dad said you got fat this summer.”
Not, “How was your summer?” or “I wonder what 4th grade will be like?” or even “I don’t know if I like Mrs. So-and-So already.” It took my breath away. For years I let this moment dictate how I felt about the way that I look. I let one off-handed remark rob me of my confidence.
Look, I have no doubt that you’ve also had negative words spoken towards you at some point in your life. They sting. They can scar. There’s nothing pleasant about the experience. But rather than just accept the negativity and hide those thoughts in the back of our minds, I want to encourage us all to do some summer cleaning.
Check out 2nd Corinthians 10:4-5:
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
You caught that, right? “WE TAKE CAPTIVE EVERY THOUGHT TO MAKE IT OBEDIENT TO CHRIST.”
I thought so.
Yesterday I was fighting a mental battle. I was at the gym (good) thinking totally negative thoughts directed towards myself (not good) while I was trying to work out. This time the scarring words were coming from ME, not the boy in 4th grade. Rather than pointing those lies out for what they were, I wallowed in them. I marinated myself in them until all I could see was unlovely things in my body. Instead of demolishing the lies with strong weapons (The Word of God!), I chose to let the words take me captive.
I know it’s tough. Negative thoughts and words can be everywhere you turn. Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can take you captive and destroy you. Choose to be the victor today.
I’m starting over, this time making Psalm 139:14 my battle cry… “I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well.”
Following and still learning,