The Voice of the Critics (pt. 2)

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I’m a people person, and I love pleasing people.  Whatever makes the people I love or care about sad, makes me sad, and when people are pleased with me, I’m happy.  I want friends, I want acceptance, I’ve always wanted to be normal.

Growing up, I didn’t realize I wasn’t normal.  It was only when I was ten or eleven that I realized that there was a reason I didn’t fit in.

I’ll be honest.  People are mean.  I would constantly get teased or someone would say a mean comment about my shoe size, about my hairstyle, about my lack of nice clothes, about my love of school, my height, or about how I ate.

Are you ready for some things that are silly?  My shoe size can’t change.  I’m a tall girl, and that means I have big feet.  And my shoe size makes it hard to find women shoes that fit, and so I’ve accepted it and wear guy shoes.  Yes, I know I could buy some shoes besides cowgirl boots, but you know what?  That wouldn’t be me.

But at one time in my life, I tried to change who I was.  I tried to be normal.

I stopped caring about school, and pretended to hate math.  I tried to be bad at things, like writing.  I tried to be bad at things, so then I couldn’t be told I was good at everything.  Of course, it isn’t true that I’m good at everything,  (Just ask to see my knitting and clay work.  😂)  but people would say so, and it wasn’t normal to be eleven and told you’re good at a lot of different things.

Also, I didn’t like my friends or siblings being upset at the fact that I was gifted.  I didn’t enjoy being Joseph in modern terms, and so I tried to hide who I was in order to get friends and acceptance.

Do you know where that got me?  Nowhere! I was still alone, I was behind in school, I was unhappy, and I was sick to my stomach all the time because I was eating food I was sensitive to.

If people you think are your “friends” leave you out or make you feel that you need to be someone besides yourself, they aren’t worth your time.  If they make fun of your health issues, or how you need to eat, they aren’t worth bothering your head about.  If they make fun of your size, your shape, or your hair coloring, they aren’t real friends.

Real friends will accept you for who you are, they’ll understand that you aren’t perfect, and help you to become the person that God wants you to be.

You will have people voice their opinions about what you should do, what you should think, and how you should look.  They’ll be mean, they’ll be untrue, and they won’t be necessary, but they’ll hurt, and they will seem true.

But guess what?  It’s only things they think you should do.  Their comments don’t mean you really should do them.  You shouldn’t change who you are, what you want to do, or how you look just for some comments.

I can’t even count how many times I’ve been called a looser, told I’m ugly, or laughed at because of the way I dress.  The thing is that these lies don’t disappear, even after I confront them.  The lies always come up when I’m depressed or upset.  They come up at times when I need truth instead of lies.

As a human being, your words can be hurtful to those around you.  You’ll either be known for sarcastic, mean-spirited, “witty” comments, or you’ll be known as compassionate, gentle, and kind.

I don’t know about you, but the first kind of person isn’t the kind of person I’d say is a true friend.  Exchanging mean comments isn’t my idea of friendship, and tagging on the line, “I’m just kidding” doesn’t make it any better.

Real friends are there for you in those times, reminding you of truths.  Sharing Bible verses, Christian quotes, and reassuring you and letting you know that they’re there for you.  Telling you that they’re rooting for you.

We’ll have critics in our lives.  Sometimes they’ll say something that’s true, but most of the time they’ll say things that are lies.  We need to remember the truth, and we need to find friends that will encourage and build us up instead of tear us down.

We need to be the friends that encourage and build up.

In this world, whether you like it or not, you have two options.  To be the person that makes others cry, or the one that makes them smile.  It’s up to you to decide.

The world needs more friends, and less critics.  We don’t need stupid lies, we need the truth.  Be the one that shares the truth to others.  What is the truth?  “Thy Word is Truth.” (John 17:17)  Search the Word of God, and you will find the answers and the truth you need.

~~Amie~~

 

The Voice of the Critics (pt. 1)

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Today I’m so very excited, not only have a guest post, but also to be doing a two part series.

My guest is the one and only Garrett, from his new blog Sovereign Swag.  Honestly, it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs.  I look forward to reading his posts on Monday mornings, so go check out his blog.

(And can we just agree that Sovereign Swag is the coolest blog name ever?)

*coughs* (Even if you don’t agree, we must get on with this post, and maybe if you check out his blog, you’ll at least agree it’s pretty cool.) All right, so now I’ll let Garrett take over.

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You don’t have to listen to the critics, the voices of people that dislike you. The voices of the jealous ones, the angry ones.  The honest truth is that people are going to dislike you. They may even hate you. And that’s okay. Even Jesus was hated and mocked by people, including his own family!

All you can do is your best, making decisions that are best for you, with the guidance of God. If people don’t like that, then they clearly don’t need to be in your life. Boundaries are essential. You’re not selfish, you’re doing what’s best for you. As I’ve said before, we are called to take care of ourselves.

(Side note, this isn’t an excuse to disrespect your parents. They deserve respect, even if you’re not their biggest fan. However, if they’re abusive, tell another adult. Get help.)

We usually think of that in terms of the physical, but it applies to the mental and emotional realms too. You move in the direction of your strongest thoughts, and who you hang out with influences those thoughts.

If your supposed “friends” expect you to please them constantly, and shame you for having boundaries, then you need to move on. If they only talk to you when nobody else is around, or if they only use you as a sounding board, not caring what your day was like, or how you feel, move on. Your feelings, your emotions, your body, it’s yours. Don’t be a doormat for people. Stand up for yourself.

I know, it’s hard. But you’re never going to please everyone. It’s impossible.  

It’s going to hurt. You’ll feel alone, inadequate, depressed. And that’s okay. Grieve for those friends. Be angry. Feel the feelings. Feel, but don’t believe. Don’t act on them.

You just have to push through the insults, the mockery, the contempt that you recieve. It’s easy to read this, and know you should do it. It’s much harder to actually do it. But this is why God’s given us armor. To protect us, not only from the “flaming arrows of the evil one” but from the flaming arrows of the world and its constituents. It is imperative that you power through, holding the sword of the spirit and wearing the armor of God, doing as he commands. He will support you, because he loves you.

Galatians 1:10 says “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

The only one we should aim to please is God. And guess what? We don’t have to earn his approval. It’s unconditional. There’s nothing we can do to win his approval or love or pride. And that’s amazing. Think on that for a second, yall. He already loves us and is proud of us.

He’s all that matters. He’s all we should aim for. Everything else is secondary, or even tertiary.

Now, as an extrovert, this is much easier said than done, for me personally. But I remember that people are temporary. Friendships are temporary. Romance is temporary, some relationships more than others.

Just because we lose friends or don’t have them doesn’t mean it will be that way forever. God will place people in our lives at key times. We will never truly be alone, remember that. He is with us.

Deuteronomy 10:31 is perfect for this situation: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Keep that verse in mind, and you’ll be good.

Stay salty friends.

Garrett

Garrett Aldred is a teen blogger, novelist and avid reader. You can check out his blog here,  and follow him on Instagram and Facebook as @sovereignswag.
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Can I just say that this post hit me, and hit me hard?  And because of that, I decided to write another post on the same subject next Tuesday, so be on the lookout for part two.
Also, I want to be clear that Garrett isn’t saying that we shouldn’t ask for advice and people’s opinion.  We just shouldn’t listen to people who give their opinions without our asking.  Parents opinions, our pastor’s opinion, and people we trust’s opinion is something we need and should respect.
~~Amie~~