I’ll take sticks and stones to break my bones any day because it’s words that hurt me. Sadly, it’s not someone else shouting them at me. It’s my own inner voice whispering them in my ear.
Let me start with one just one letter of the alphabet, F, to come up with my list of “bad” words and only one of them has four letters. These words freeze me in my tracks and stop me from engaging in real life in all its bumps and blessings. NO MORE.
It’s embarrassing to admit that the scale and culture have defined me. In a world filled with great opportunities and hardships, I’m undone by pounds and pant sizes. When I look in the mirror and automatically shake my head and spit out, “Fat,” I will breathe in and say FULL. I will focus on Jesus, who is full of grace and truth, and know that from his fullness I receive grace upon grace. My joy will be full with the joy of Jesus. I will be full of mercy, full of gladness, and filled with the fullness of God.
I was raised to get A’s; to never, ever give up; and never disappoint people. It’s exhausting. But this F-word keeps happening—daily. My response to my failure? Mentally lock myself in my shame-filled room and berate myself.
I will stop and remember that God already knew I would fail and that’s why he sent his son. I will whisper FORGIVEN. I will see his scarred hands and hear him say, “Take heart, your sins are forgiven.” I will embrace the truth that in him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses—our sins, rebellion and failures—according to the riches of his grace. When I get to Heaven, I won’t hand God my report card, behavior record, or heart health check. It will be Jesus’ perfect record, written in blood. The good news means that God sees me as his perfect straight-A, delighted-in, never-disappointing daughter because he sees me through the blood of his son. I will train my eyes on the cross and remember another beautiful F word. Finished.
Waste was one of the worst crimes from my childhood, especially food, money or my parents’ time or energy. How do I shift my perspective, since every day is filled with futility: Emptying the dishwasher. Idling in traffic jams. Making a stupid purchase. Looking for the lost receipt, giving up, and being stuck with buyer’s remorse, not to mention the cost and clutter. Even my most heartfelt efforts in parenting have a three-step back to half-step forward rhythm.
Stop. Breathe. Focus on FAITH.
Faith is hoping when it doesn’t seem to be happening, continuing to do the next right thing when I can’t see the end. To believe that nothing done in Christ’s name and his love will be wasted. The irony is my frustration over futility is the biggest waste of my energy. So I will set God’s steadfast love before my eyes and walk in his faithfulness.
The ultimate four-letter F word. It’s taken me a long time to admit how fearful I am. Age, pain and scars have caught up with me. I’m gun-shy. I’ve stopped taking chances. I wake up in the middle of the night. I call it by other words (worry, anxiety, problem solving). But, ultimately, it’s what God most-repeated command in Scripture tells us not to do. Fear. What does he desire for me instead?
Christ came to set me free. As I grasp the truth of God’s amazing grace, I will loosen my grip on fear. I will shout, in my best William Wallace brogue, “Freedom!” and step back into whatever battle I am facing.
What F word have you allowed to play again and again in your head?
Fat or FULL
Failure or FORGIVEN
Futility or FAITH
Fear or FREEDOM
I will battle back with true F words but I know my “word game” won’t change me. Only God can change the toxic tapes stuck in my head. So I will pray, but I will choose my words carefully.
Lord Jesus Christ, those bad F words have driven
deep paralyzing ruts in my mind and heart.
I humbly ask to hear and believe your voice
more than the habitual taunt I’ve allowed to capture me.
Although I experience fat, futile, failing, fearful days,
that is not who I am.
Help me be who you say I am:
A free and forgiven woman living faithfully and fully satisfied in you,
awaiting the fulfillment of all your promises.