Flowing in the Vine Life Diary – 12
The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying:
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. Jeremiah 31 vs 3 (NKJV)
For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139 vs 13 (NKJV)
7 Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. 1 Peter 5 vs 7 (AMPC)
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well. Psalm 139 vs 14 (NKJV)
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. John 15 vs 9 (NKJV)
Yesterday I was thinking about the situations in my life where I have let other people’s negative comments or my own define who I am as a person. I have told myself to ignore these things but for the longest time, that has been easier said than done, and I am guessing other people have at some point experienced this too. And guess what, I have probably also been at the opposite end where I said something that affected how someone else may think of themselves. I try to sensitive with my words but sometimes these things just happen. I have two main examples of areas in my life though where I feel I have taken on what people have said, one I have talked about a little before and another that I haven’t.
Let me start with what I have mentioned before in the post where I talked about finding all I needed in Christ. I talked about the verse in Proverbs where it talks about there being no one who can ever fully know either the joy or the bitterness of another person’s heart. In this post, I was making reference to both my love for writing and wanting to have an opportunity to take time to work on that and also my dissatisfaction with life in general. When it comes to writing, people had this opinion that I can work on it at night and have a job during the day, and most people would agree with this assessment. You hear a lot of stories of people who have done that or are doing that now and are succeeding in whatever they are working on.
I, however, was not, and so I was then basing my self-worth on this failure I was experiencing where things were just not going the way I wanted or planned for them to go. Knowing other people were winning in the game made me feel even more like a failure because something had to be wrong with me since I wasn’t able to do this. And when you would try to talk to people, they either never understand and you felt stupid trying to explain yourself, or they gave you well-intentioned advice that seemed so obvious it still left you feeling stupid because you still somehow couldn’t do it. The worse ones though were the people who just asked you questions that were just pointing at you being the problem but never gave any solutions.
Then there was the group that when I finally decided to leave work and just take time for me and what I wanted to do, would tell me my plan my stupid and would not address anything. They would tell I wasn’t addressing the problem but then would not give me any viable solution but instead either said they had no solution and just suggested the same old things that were not working before. I wonder now how anyone else could ever truly know what the best solution for me is when they are not in my shoes and have never been in my shoes. And this is not me just saying oh no one understands me but in every situation in life, no two experiences are ever truly the same because there are always other variables to consider.
And so for a long time, I let people make me think my dreams were stupid or at least unrealistic but then because I always take things to the extreme, I wore that perception they had of my dreams to mean that was who I was. To me it was a part of me that they were rejecting and so they were rejecting me, I wasn’t worthy enough to be accepted or tolerated for who I was and what I loved. And because I wasn’t making any progress to be able to prove them wrong- because to validate who I was I had to prove them wrong, I felt like a failure. So not only was I worthless and not enough, I was a failure. You know how they say when someone rejects your idea, it’s your idea that you are rejecting and not you? I really did not know what that meant, I threw myself head first in the opposite direction of that.
I was always extreme and some people might not in any way relate to this example.
What they might relate to is the second part, I let people define how I felt about my body. I have body image issues and I have hated my body for a long time, even as I tried to meditate on Psalm 139 verse 14. Now, I say I let people define how I felt about my body because there were moments I honestly thought my body was okay, if not beautiful, where I honestly started believing in the verse that I am right now, fearfully and wonderfully made, only to let someone’s words destroy it all. I am not one to be looking in magazines and taking that image as to be what I should look like, even Instagram doesn’t determine how I think about my body.
I am affected more by the people who are around me who just can’t seem to keep their opinion to themselves. Like hello, it’s my body, not yours, I don’t need you trying to tell me what I look like, we have mirrors at home. And FYI, I know I don’t look like a model but I am comfortable in how I look right and when I need to work on losing the weight, which at some point my clothes are going to hint to need for it anyway, I will make that decision. However people don’t know any boundaries, when am feeling good about myself they just say things that make me question my self-worth where my body is concerned. Just when I am beginning to accept my body and thinking through what I can do to get it better, they make comments that make me question myself again and hate my body again.
Or when I am enjoying my food or eating according to my budget – maybe bread is the only thing I can afford right now without starving the whole day, they come and start making me feel guilty for feeding myself. Now, every-time I am eating, I either have to hide my food and eat when no one is around but still condemning myself, or I have to force myself to eat around you and pretend your comments don’t hurt but die a little inside every time. And honestly, I don’t like dieting anyway and now I have to feel guilty for not liking to diet, along with feeling guilty for not being a runner and also for the fact that I never seem to be able to finish an exercise regime that chooses, like I never seem to finish anything else in my life.
Here is the thing though, people are always going to talk, they are never going to stop. They don’t really care how their words may be making you feel. In fact, some will have the audacity to say that if people’s words hurt you so much then do something about it, lose the weight because someone is always going to talk. I have had to learn that people really don’t know the impact their words may have, they just pointing out the obvious so why should it bother you? People just get to give their opinion or say they piece without being asked and they move on because it does not in any way affect them.
In another situation, I had someone tell me that the person they cared about was gaining a lot of weight and they were not going to mention it to them because they fear it would cause depression for that person. However, this very same person felt comfortable enough to flippantly comment on my weight. This made me realize that while they took the time to consider what the other person would feel, they did not care enough to do the same for me. And they have proved that to me over and over again in other instances. Now I could let that lead me into depression or I could just, as I did in that situation and in others realize that no one else really cares. The only person who tries to be sensitive about that issue is my mom, but otherwise, no one cares how their words are going to affect you. And they are not going to stop talking either.
Like I said in the beginning though, I have also been at the opposite end where I have said something careless. Whether it was about someone’s dream or anything else they might have shared with me. One example that comes to mind though has to with someone else’s weight. I have a friend who I met in university and one of the things we had that were similar was our lack of skinny bodies. It wasn’t the only thing by far but it was something we talked about on and off. Have you ever been in a situation where you think that because you are in the same situation with someone you can openly say what you want and give suggestions? Yeah, that’s not true, and I learned that the hard way when I said something that hurt my friend and she told she didn’t want me talking about her weight.
That was what, five years ago or so but it stayed with me and made me realize that we don’t play like that. I was never one to mention someone’s weight off hand, to begin with, but I also then learned not to comment or suggest anything on it even to someone who I had been openly talking about weight with for a long time. And likewise in any situation, I just don’t ever give my opinion about anything in general. There are moments now when I want to suggest something to someone even with regards to their walk with God but I hesitate to do so sometimes and I have to think twice before I open my mouth.
Another situation where I put my foot in my mouth is when a friend told me that the next stage of what they wanted to do in life was to get married and I was like that’s all? In my mind at that age, it wasn’t too long ago, I was 23, marriage was something that will happen as you live life but you had to have other goals in life. My thinking was obviously wrong, but the main problem was with my response, the problem was with asking her if that’s all as if she has no right to choose what she wants for her future. With that situation, I realized on my own, a couple of hours later, while we were still hanging out that what I had said was wrong.
Now I am not saying that for them they specifically took my inconsiderate words and formed an identity around it. What I am just trying to highlight are 2 of the many situations where I have been the one to not consider what my words would do to other people before I opened my mouth. In those moments, considering their emotions is not a priority and I only realize it afterwards. So in true old Cassie fashion, I ran with it to the extreme and started telling myself I shouldn’t speak because I always say the wrong thing anyway. I am better off keeping my mouth shut than giving my opinion. And in doing this I added myself to the list of people whose opinion I should not use for my identity. It hurt to tell myself I should never speak and I am better off shutting up but held nothing to the feeling that I may have disappointed someone else or hurt someone else. Or even just embarrassed myself because of ignorance.
But then I realized I still do find myself talking out of turn sometimes, and I say a lot of dumb stuff that I regret afterwards. What I needed wasn’t to always keep myself quiet cause then sometimes I would wonder if my words would have helped someone, what I need was to care enough for my own peace of mind to ask God for the wisdom to speak life. I know I am still not there yet but I pray for wisdom every morning to be able to make wise decisions and to know when to speak and when not to speak. I pray for Him to help me choose my words wisely, but that’s just me. I also have to realize not everyone is going to be alert or asking God the right words to say to me. Not everyone is going to be worried about how the words that come out of their mouth will affect others.
So I had to come to a place where I went to Jesus instead because He does cares. He knows the number of hairs on my head and cares about every little feeling that I am experiencing. A couple of months back I listened to a sermon where Pastor Prince was saying instead of telling it to people who might just make you feel worse, tell it to the Rock. Speak to Jesus who is your rock and bring to Him all your cares and worries for He cares for you. In life, everybody else has their own things they are dealing with and at the end of the day, most of them don’t really care what you are going through, or at least they are not going to consider what their words are going to do to you. It’s not their priority, you are not their priority and girl, you are never going to be their priority.
Jesus though, He’s got your back. He says I will never leave you nor forsake and He even gave you the Holy Spirit to help you along. Jesus cares for you affectionately and He cares for you watchfully no matter what you are going through because maybe it’s not about your weight or about your dreams or emotions. The Lord Jesus says that with everlasting love He has loved us and with loving kindness, He has drawn us. And here is the thing, He is the only one who truly knows us, He created our inmost beings and He knit us in our mother’s womb. And guess what, His thoughts towards us are precious. The one person in the whole universe who truly knows us loves anyway.
And His word is filled with words of His kindness towards us. We can be our own worst enemy sometimes so our value should not even be based on what we think of ourselves. I know for me that while I have let people define who I was, for much longer, I have also let my own negative views of who I was, define who I am. Whether those negative views came from what others said or they came from the devil or my own imagination doesn’t matter. Fact is, I don’t always have my best good in mind for myself but Jesus does. So how about we let the one person who truly knows who we are, and also cares for us more than anybody else ever has or ever will define who we are?
He created us so if we want to know about who we really are, shouldn’t He be the one we go to?
And this is what I know He has said about me, He has said that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and His works are always awesome. He also says He gives me the willingness and the ability to do for His good pleasure, and that He knows the amazing plans He has for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me. And He says that the Father loves me just as He loves Jesus Himself…that is amazing. I am His. And He says that as Christ is, so am I in this world, which means to know who I am, I need to look at Christ and know who Christ is.
And again as I end this I remind myself that He is my righteousness, I am I Am’s, He’s got me.