Words have hurt me many times over the years – careless words that have stuck with me. No matter how hard I’ve tried to extract them from my mind, they seem to escape from the dark, dusty corners during times of doubt.
As a young child, I was picked on for my red hair, abundance of freckles and fair skin… oh, and the unfortunate last name of Payne. Kids would have a field day with jokes at my expense. Carrot top, freckle face, pain in neck… They weren’t terribly creative or vicious in tone, but it hurt nonetheless.
Later, the childish name calling stopped, but there were bigger hurts. At age 13, when I made the decision to stop playing soccer on a travel team, a coach asked if I planned to settle for being mediocre the rest of my life. Ouch! Am I a quitter? Am I mediocre? This one haunts me to this day – some 25+ years later. Again, words are powerful.
Fast forward to recent times when a respected leader and colleague disagreed with a decision I’d made. He arrived at my house and told me that there’s no way I could have been prompted by the Holy Spirit in the decision and that God will likely punish me and my ministry. Powerful, yet reckless, words.
When doubt creeps in and the words of my past emerge, I have to fight them with truth. God’s truth – which is life giving and freeing – is that I am His beloved child. Not defective and ugly for the way He created me. Not mediocre because someone else thinks I am. And not wrong and misguided because someone else disagrees.
I pray that you, too, know the truth of God’s love for you. No matter what others have said to you or about you, God loves you immeasurably. His Word tells us so. Let God’s healing power and grace envelop you. Believe His Word and know that His opinion trumps all!
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! 1 John 3:1
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19