“The greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity or power, but self-rejection.”
This weekend I attended the Allume Conference for the third year. So many of us squeezing as many as we could into small hotel rooms to make room so other Allume sisters could have a room as well. We loved on the moms with their children in their arms, and applauded those who shared their accomplishments, and loved well those who were standing in front of us. We allowed God to make divine introductions with those with well-known names we admire and those whose names had never crossed our lips before. This is one of my favorite conferences to attend!
But there were times, maybe because of exhaustion or perhaps overload, that a rude comment was spoken, or perhaps when we were talking, we were tuned out and not heard. Then, our inner voice that beats us up in the middle of the night has an after-party inside our head.
You might not see the boxing gloves of your inner voice, but you probably have felt and heard it’s boxing jabs coming at you. We all wrestle with the inner voice that tells us we don’t measure up. It will tell you of other women more talented or beautiful than you. It might remind you of past hurts from others, actions taken or regretful choices made. Words spoken by an inner voice can be hard-leather gloves to the sandbag of your soul, pounding away at your state of mind and confidence.
A comedian, observing Mohammed Ali’s charity boxing match commented that Ali’s opponent should have no fear, because, during warm up, Ali was seen pounding his leather boxing gloves against his head. “He’s beating him-SELF up!”
It is easy to allow our self-talk to beat us up. We are the sum of all our experiences, the memories beloved and the memories we bury, because we are created to encounter experiences and respond. Those experiences have voices to warn us, teach us, and inspire us to push forward, or tether us in place with fear of rejection.
But, what if we encountered those voices, not with our own voice, but with the words our Father tells us about who we are and the truth about words in the world around us. What if we listened to Words of hope, of encouragement, of Truth and of Wisdom? What would happen if we choose the words we hear, instead of allowing them to choose us and fall victim to their pounding?
If you hear, “No one likes you.” You may withdraw from people and feel insecure.
If you hear, “You are a failure.” You may procrastinate and feel fear when trying something new.
If you hear, “You are not attractive.” You may cover yourself in clothes to hide and emotionally eat to hide and comfort yourself.
Whether they are words spoken by others, or an echo from days long past, or our self-loathing or loving, our body will respond with an emotions and our actions move in ways that are connected with those thoughts and words.
“Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy, it will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.”
I left Allume early Sunday morning, driving with great anticipation to see Doc for dinner. Arriving a few minutes before him, I paused to breathe and gather my thoughts about the weekend, and try to make sense of some things that hurt me, and not allow them to take the forefront of my mind.
Reaching into my Mary Poppins bag, I pull out a gift yet unopened, from my sweet friend, Bonnie.
It was an ornament – golden eggs in a nest of silver. And I allowed my Father to begin to speak life into this travel weary mind.
“For eggs to be useful they must be broken. For new life to break forth, the shell, which keeps them confined and keeps them safe, also keeps them from growing and living out their purpose. Eggs must be broken to give life. I will allow you to feel hurt and sorrow only enough to crack the shell and set you free.”
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)
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