“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.” -Proverbs 18:21
A few months ago I felt like I had been bullied. A grown adult, who is normally fully capable of standing up for herself, felt completely defeated.
It brought back memories; not so great memories. I’m sure most people have them. For some they may be more severe, for others not at all. My first one was in jr. high school. I was bullied by some girls who had spread a cruel rumor about me. It completely devastated me and made me feel more insecure than I already was as a 13 year old girl. The second, was in high school, in gym class. I was the target of a few “jock” type girls who seemed to be less than thrilled with my super feminine ways and lack of athletic ability. They would push and shove in the locker room, say mean things and ridicule me in front of anyone who was willing to listen (at times it felt like the teacher was even in on their little harassment games). The third time was actually in college by a roommate who seemingly hated me (for no real apparent reason) and left me notes on my bed threatening me. I actually felt scared to come home to my apartment, never knowing what she was going to do next.
The most recent offense hurt worse than the first three. It wasn’t just some silly rumor, mean girls in gym class or a crazy roommate, it was people cutting down my own personal story, a blog that I had written, a very heart felt one talking about my struggle with getting my babies to sleep. It hit me like a knife. It made me question everything; had I made a mistake writing it, sharing it, or even worse, was I making a mistake writing and sharing my stories of life on this very blog? It made me consider stopping all together.
After I got over the initial hurt, I prayed (because that’s what my mama taught me to do). There’s that song that says “Mama said there’d be days like this, there’d be days like this my mama says.” Well, it was one of those days but I knew I could not just crawl into a hole and hide. My next instinct was, of course, to back lash at these people. They had hurt me, so I wanted to let them know. I knew that might make me feel better in the moment, but it would also make me as bad as them. So I waited. I waited on God and what he wanted me to do.
I prayed about my writing, about this blog. I was not trying to start a debate or fuel any kind of fire. My goal in my sharing is to help. I have always thought that some challenges we are given in life are purely so we can help someone else who may be going through the same thing. If I can use my journey as a mom and wife to help even just one person, then my goal has been accomplished.
Then a few days ago I saw these same bullies leave more “advice” for another mom and my blood immediately curled. I thought…not again..I knew it was time something had to be done but knew I needed the right words speak in love and not anger.
I happened to read a devotional about a woman named Abigail. She was the wife to Nabal (two people I had never heard of in the bible). She was an extremely wise woman who was able to deter David from plotting revenge on Nabal and killing him. She was given the discernment she needed to intervene something she knew David would later regret doing. The devotion basically compared Abigail to the person most of us need reading over all our emails, texts, etc making sure we are not sending words in anger or haste.
As I read this, it made me content knowing I had not responded to the original messages in anger, in fact I just deleted them. But now that the bullies were hurting other people left me thinking I needed to do something so it did not keep happening. I went to bed and prayed that I would be given the right words to address these people. I wanted to keep in mind that “The tongue has no bones but is strong enough to break a heart. So be careful with your words.” -Unknown
The next day I realized that my battle had already been won. A third party had noticed the unsolicited “advice” and addressed these bullies. They literally took the words right out of my mouth, saying something so simple that most all of us try to live by; “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Can I get an Amen?!? It felt like I just received the best validation ever (and no one even knew, besides my hubby, what had happened to me). Because I had waited and not did not speak in anger, hurt or frustration, I had been granted validation for what I had previously battled.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” -Proverbs 15:1
Life is a journey. A journey that is better when shared with those you love. In my humble opinion, it is even greater when you can spread that love (and the love of Christ) with everyone around you. I have friends in all walks of life and each is beautiful in its own way. We may not always agree with the opinion of others (hey, you might be reading this now and not agree with me) but isn’t that part of the beauty? My husband and I, whenever we can’t see eye to eye, we agree to disagree and it is a wonderful thing. So, the next time you want to speak your mind, lash out on some unsuspecting person for sharing their personal thoughts, remember the power of a pause.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” -Ephesians 4:29