“I’d pay money to see that!” he said with a laugh. “They could sell tickets!”
There was no malice. No evil intent. No hidden agenda to hurt me, just some words. I knew that. But…maybe there was not much thought, either. The words were definitely not carefully chosen. Unintentionally, they hit the mark. And boy did they hurt. Knowing that they weren’t meant to hurt didn’t lessen the pain…
Every insecurity I’ve ever had about myself came flooding to the surface. Every doubt about my ability. Every criticism of my efforts. I started second-guessing myself, decided that I really couldn’t do this, so why bother even trying.
The problem is…I can do it. I know I can. It requires practice, and effort, and stepping outside my comfort zone. I had hoped for encouragement, but it didn’t come. After wallowing in self pity yesterday, I decided that letting the naysayers win again was not a good choice. There are lots of things in my life that I’m good at. Most of them involve doing things for others. This is something I want to do—need to do—for me. So this morning I put on my shoes and got back at it. Will I succeed? Maybe. Maybe not. But I won’t let the negative comments win.
Ironically, or perhaps providentially, the lesson came later, as I was reading Proverbs 18. I came across this verse “The human spirit can endure in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?” (Prov 18: 14) and realized just how ‘on the mark’ those words are. A crushed spirit. It’s an apt description of how I felt. It made me wonder: do I measure my words well? Do the things I say unintentionally crush the spirit of my children? Of those God has put in my life? Am I doing well at putting Ephesians 4:29 into practice (Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up…)? Maybe I need to guard my tongue more carefully.
So today, I will try. Today I will think before I speak. Hopefully, knowing how painful careless words can be will stay with me for a bit, will help me choose carefully. Hopefully I’ll remember long enough to develop a new habit.
How about you? How are your words received?