I know, I know… it’s high time for a quinoa recipe, right? I have one for you – lots of them for you, actually – and, I promise: one will come soon. (Actually, I post quick and easy meals all the time on Instagram – are you there with me?)
Today, though, because of something I went through yesterday, I thought I’d repost something I wrote awhile ago called “Guard Your Heart”.
Yesterday words punched me right in the gut when I least expected it and I fell to my knees gasping for air. They came hard and fast and just so happen to hit the one spot in my spirit prone to bleed with the least provocation: the spot of “I’m worthless and I can’t even do the small things right”.
(Oh, I hate that spot.)
But then I was reminded through my tears: Elisha, guard your heart… guard your heart… guard your heart.
Yes, GUARD MY HEART. I must.
And, since I needed the reminder… I thought you could use it, too.
Here ya go:
I remember when I turned six years old. I was in my favorite red corduroy overalls with my yellow and red gingham shirt. I had my white mary janes on, and I topped off the outfit by wearing giddiness all over my face.
There was not a lot of good that went on in my house… but that day in particular, we were celebrating! There was no fighting, no yelling, no anger. My birthday had brought joy with it! There were people, and streamers, and smoke from my nana’s open fire pit where she was cooking up some steaks. There was music and laughter, pretty ladies that I didn’t know and burley guys that had followed my dad home from the gym.
I remember the cake – wow, what a cake! It was a real cake from the Safeway bakery and it was decked out with circus animals and a circus tent and a ring leader. I had never seen something so beautiful with my name on it. That gorgeous cake made me feel loved.
My best friend, Lee – he saddled up beside me when it came time to sing. I knew he was probably close just to get first dibs on licking the icing off the cake decorations. But, it didn’t matter. He and I – we were two peas in a pod… and if he hung around to simply get the perks of pre-cutting cake disassembly, that was alright by me.
In the midst of the glory of that day, it figures something would hurt me deeply. Someone, I should say. I mean, in my world nothing stayed good forever.
I don’t even know who she was, or why she was in my house at my birthday party. But she was there – and she was snotty – and she had no respect for the fact that day was supposed to be pain-free. It was my day – my day to celebrate and be the center of attention! So, since it was my day and it was my house, I happily took charge, not thinking anyone would mind.
“We are all going to go play in my playhouse,” I announced. “Follow me”.
As I led the small tribe of birthday friends down the stepping stone path to our backyard, when I hit the fifth stone with my left foot I heard from three heads back, “You know what?”
We stopped. I turned. I remember looking her right in the face, not expecting what came out of her mouth next.
“If you’re always so bossy no one will ever want to really be your friend.”
There was dead silence. Crickets. My heart sunk and I stared at this girl I didn’t even know and felt the poison of her nastiness settle on all of the kids in earshot.
Bossy? No friends? Ever?
I was sick.
I don’t remember how we got off that stone path, or whether we ever even made it to my playhouse for some fun. As a matter of fact, I don’t remember anything else from that moment forward – it is all a blur. I don’t remember presents, or how the party ended, or whether or not I even had fun. Her face and her slapping words are the last memory I have from turning six years old… the year I was told that as long as I’m bossy no one will ever – ever! – want to be my friend. That was it: I would be friendless for the rest of my life.
Funny how stuff like that sticks to us, isn’t it? Biting words from childhood (or even from our adulthood!) that should have been passing daggers, yet manage to burrow and wound and cause aching on cold days. We grew up singing ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’. Who is the crazy that came up with that one?
Words hurt because truth hurts. I’m not saying everything someone else says that’s horrible is actually true… what I am saying is this: what we think is true in our heart will determine how we are affected by words. For example, if we think in our heart we aren’t worth anything, critical words from another will fertilize those weeds of insecurity already planted in our souls. (When I was six I was a very insecure child… so when that girl spoke words that reflected the truth of my innocent heart, they pierced deep.)
On the other hand, if we are confident in who we are, critical words don’t wound so much. Yes, they may make us wince – and they may even make us reflect on whether there is truth in them. But again, how we see ourselves on the inside will determine how we accept the criticisms of this world.
Insecurity in our heart = sensitivity to this worlds meanness.
Security in our heart = not easily broken.
See, it all comes down to our heart and what lies down in it’s deep depths that we’d never think to share. As we think in our heart, so we shall be. (Proverbs 23:7). Even King David said, “Great peace have they who love your law: and nothing shall offend them.” (Psalm 119:165).
If we are grounded in Christ, nothing shall offend us. Why? Because when we give Him reign over our heart, He becomes our Truth. He becomes our Defender and our Refuge – and by His Truth, we are set FREE.
PRAYER: Father, Thank you for loving me. Today may I not forget that my worth does not come from this world – my worth comes from You and the fact that I am Your child. Make me one that is not easily offended. Give me Your strength and Your grace as I give you my insecurities, my hurts, my heartaches, and my worries about never really being good enough. This life is tough, and people can be so mean and hurtful. But, thank you that You cover me and that You guard my heart with the Truths of Your Word. I thank you that You make me new… and that as long as I am grounded in You, I will have peace. In Jesus Precious Name, Amen.