Human communication is inherently flawed. When I said to my thirteen-year-old daughter, “You’re going to be late for school,” she heard she was a failure. That she didn’t measure up to some personal standard of perfection I had for her.
Whoa! That’s crazy! My mouth never uttered such words of condemnation!
My husband casually says, “The house is a mess,” and guess what? I decide I’m suddenly the lousiest wife on the planet.
How do simple statements like these get translated into beliefs that we’re not good enough?
What we say is so often not the same as what is heard!
I don’t intend to speak words that are hurtful, yet sometimes they end up being just that. People around me don’t intend their words to be hurtful to me, yet I interpret them that way. Why?
I don’t have a clue, so I’ve studied the Bible to figure out some answers. I think I have a tidbit of revelation to share, and it starts with this passage in Exodus:
“I am God. I will bring you out from under the cruel hard labor of Egypt. I will rescue you from slavery. I will redeem you, intervening with great acts of judgment. I’ll take you as my own people and I’ll be God to you. You’ll know that I am God, your God who brings you out from under the cruel hard labor of Egypt. I’ll bring you into the land that I promised to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and give it to you as your own country. I AM God.” But when Moses delivered this message to the Israelites, they didn’t even hear him—they were that beaten down in spirit by the harsh slave conditions. Exodus 6:6-9 The Message
They didn’t even hear him?
Hello? These were words from God! How could they not listen?
“they were that beaten down in spirit by the harsh slave conditions.”
This was their reality. Everything they heard was put through a filter of what they believed, through experience, to be true. Think about it from their perspective…you are a captive, a slave, and for generations there has been no evidence to give you any hope that you will ever be anything but a slave. No matter what you hear, your truth is in what you believe to be true about yourself.
I ask you, are we so different?
When my husband said “The house is a mess” he was just making a statement of fact. It was a mess. I was the one who put it through a filter of what I believed about myself…and it revealed, not what he believed about me, but what I believed about myself!
I do the same thing with words of praise. Instead of receiving them as words of life, I find reasons to persist in my belief that they just could not be true about me…After all, I know myself!
Can anybody relate?
I read my Bible and I hear God’s promises spoken to me. Yup, even those go through the Linda’s-not-good-enough filter.
But how could I not listen to the words of God?!
I was that beaten down in spirit by my own harsh criticisms.
I spent too many years as a slave to a habit of self-doubt and condemnation. But thankfully, God’s truth and love are stronger than the chains that seek to bind me to the lies. I’m breaking free. From the bondage of lies into the freedom of life.
I’m now able to hear….to listen for the words of life.
The next time I tell my daughter she’s late and she thinks my words are condemning her, I pray I can communicate that she is loved and wonderful, she just needs to know there’s no time to dry her hair!
The next time my husband comments on the state of the house, I pray I can say, “Yeah, you’re right,” instead of telling myself “I’m a lousy wife and housekeeper.”
The next time someone praises me or God reveals a promise to me, I pray I can receive and believe that what they say—and what God says—is true for me!
And today, I say to you…
You are wonderful, beautiful, worthy, holy, and dearly loved with an everlasting love. You have been chosen, adopted and anointed as a child of God, and nothing—absolutely nothing can separate you from His love!
Are you listening?? 🙂
“Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.” Isaiah 55:2-3 (NIV)
© Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up (not scrambled), 2011. All rights reserved.