They say words don’t hurt, but they do.
Last night I was putting a puzzle together with Elle, my 6-year-old granddaughter. Her long blond hair hung in her eyes as she searched for a corner piece. Without looking up, she said, “Gaga, has anyone ever been mean to you?”
My first thought was that maybe she was learning the hard truth that people can be difficult or even bully you, and I asked about that. She assured me that it wasn’t about her, and that she was just curious.
If you knew my sweet girl, you’d know that this isn’t out of the norm.
There is not a single person reading this who hasn’t been impacted by hurtful words or actions. Whether we are six or sixty, we can point to times when hurtful words or actions or people impacted us. It might have even shaped the way some of us see ourselves. It may have affected the way you view God.
I didn’t let Elle know, but her innocent question tiptoed into a tender spot.
I have a friendship I can’t mend. I don’t know what I did wrong. I’ve prayed about it. I’ve examined my heart. I’ve reached out. After nearly a year, I moved on.
From time to time I grieve this relationship, but I had to release what I couldn’t fix. Just this week, hurtful words came back to me . . . again.
They were unkind. They were untrue. They hurt.
I wish they hadn’t.
I climbed in my car. My goal was to go to her and get to the bottom of the hurt, so we could work through it together once and for all. When I put my hands on the steering wheel, I sensed the Holy Spirit saying “no.” I believe in working through conflict. I believe in doing my part to keep things healthy. And yet, I also know that a gentle hand was placed over mine, keeping me from taking a step I thought was right. Unresolved conflict is hard for the fixer who lives inside of me. It’s hard for the peacemaker that I have always been.
It’s also hard for the woman who wants unkind and unfair words to stop.
Faith plays a part in hurtful places.
We trust God to lead us.
For some reason, it isn’t the right time to talk with my old friend, and God knows what I don’t. He sees what I cannot see.
As you pray for guidance in hurtful places, you may receive the opposite instruction. It may be the perfect time to pray and work through conflict.
It might be that God shows you the appropriate word to say, or to not say.
Faith in hurtful places is not about what we do or don’t do, but who we turn to for wisdom, direction, and guidance.
We refuse to let feelings lead us helter-skelter, but trust that God will show us what to do.
We settle into his Word, rather than embrace hurtful words
In John 16:33, Jesus assured his listeners that we will have trials and even sorrow.
Can we be honest?
Most of our trials and sorrow come as a result of people. Usually those closest to us.
I could get really bummed about trials and sorrows, except his words are sandwiched between two powerful promises.
#1 – We are promised peace.
#2 – We can take heart (be encouraged, find courage), because he has overcome the world
I don’t know if my old relationship will ever be healed. I hope so. Yet, I don’t have to embrace the words or actions as my truth. In fact, when I refuse to embrace the words of someone who is hurting or broken as my truth, it allows me to have compassion for what’s going on in her life. It releases the need to fix, repair, make right, or rebuke what is beyond my control.
Faith in hurtful places allows us to release the need to fix or repair what is beyond our control. #ComeWithMe https://ctt.ec/ZeiWk+
It frees me to pray for her.
It frees me to keep the door open to that relationship, but it also allows me to close it if that’s where she is at, or if that’s the healthiest response.
This offers peace, in spite of the outcome.
I can take heart (be encouraged) because he’s got this. He’s got her. He loves her like crazy, and he loves me too.
We take responsibility for our part
I hesitated to tell you this story today, because it might paint me as someone who thinks she does no wrong.
Oh, friend, that’s so far from the truth. There have been times in the past that I’ve had to sit side-by-side with a loved one and confess that my words were hurtful.
I’ve looked in the mirror and realized that impatience or irritability left a mark on the heart of someone that I cared about.
When we turn to faith in hurtful places, we invite God into that hurt. We ask him to shine a light on it and show us if we played a part.
Faith does not guarantee a it-all-works-out-in-the-end result, but it does offer peace. #ComeWithMe https://ctt.ec/2Mc9z+
We are not perfect. We will never be perfect, but we can grow. We can learn through mistakes.
We can believe big even when we feel small as we ask for wisdom, and insight, and open our hearts to receive whatever God is trying to show us.
James 1:5 (NLT) says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”
Faith in hurtful places doesn’t mean that we’ll receive a perfectly-tied, everything-and-everybody-works-out-in-the-end answer. We live in a messy world, and with messy people (we are some of those messy people), but in the hurtful places there is peace, guidance, and encouragement waiting just for us.
Day #6 of Believing Big When You Feel Small
Q: What is your normal response in a place of conflict or hurt? What is the result?
- In your journal, briefly describe your current sorrow or trial. Be honest about how it makes you feel.
- Invite the Lord into that trial or sorrow.
- Ask for guidance.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal your part, if any. If you sense him leading you into a growth opportunity, celebrate that. (Remember, we are a no-guilt zone here.)
- If you can’t fix it, and your efforts seem to make it worse, release it into his hands. Keep the door to your heart wide open, but release the need to control it, micromanage it, or bend it to fit your image of what it should be. This is an ultimate act of trust.
If you feel wounded, you might find healing as you read these helpful resources:
See you tomorrow for Day #7 of Believing Big When You Feel Small. ~ Suzie