Sunday, April 15

The Bully in the Mirror

"Be nice to my friend; I love her."

My text message zinged off in response to my sweet friend's texted lament one early morning.

She was frustrated; berating herself for grieving the loss of a pregnancy, determined that she should be "over it," and wanting desperately to feel only happiness for those pregnant around her instead of this mixed up mess of simultaneous grief and joy.

She is a woman filled to the tippy-top with mercy and grace for those around her, and yet, on this hard morning, the voices in her head were being undeniably cruel.

And my gentle response was to push back on her inner bully, reminding her that life almost always is a kaleidoscope of grief, joy, fear, courage, and everything in between, and that there is no shame in quietly mourning while also outwardly celebrating.

She is not alone in allowing her inner voice to speak with viciousness. I'm guilty. My best girlfriends are guilty. Every woman I've ever met, if we've had a chance to sit and quietly share our life's story, has confessed her inner bully.

Why?

Why do we permit our inner voice to speak with brutality even as we are being gracious and kind to those around us? 

If we cannot learn to love ourselves - that girl in the mirror before makeup, hairspray and artifice - how can we possibly be prepared to love those around us? We can't. Not for long.

Friend, that is not what Jesus has for you,  for me, for any of us. We are not called to secret self-loathing. When we misstep, the Holy Spirit offers gentle conviction, not shame and self-hatred. We must learn to recognize the difference so that we are encouraged to do better when faced with our shortcomings instead of berating ourselves into exhausted defeat. 

Words are powerful, especially the ones we speak over ourselves. 

When you see that stripped down, vulnerable girl in the mirror each morning, extend to her the same grace you extend your best friend, gently holding her accountable to change the things she needs to change, and encouraging her to become the woman her Savior is calling her to be. 

Jesus loves that girl in the mirror so much that he willingly laid down his life for her. We don't get to bully the girl that Jesus loves.  


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