By SARAH DAVIS
It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to say. In fact, quite the opposite. I had a lot to say. It’s just that my words got stuck somewhere between my heart and my throat as the memory of the verbal attack hung thick in the air around me. As the words played on repeat between my ears like an annoying chorus to a song I wished I hadn’t heard. The words were out there and couldn’t be retracted. Launched like a ballistic missile designed to create a nuclear war and the target was my heart.
At the moment, I retreated to a safe place somewhere deep within, took a deep breath and straightened my face and my spine as I listened to the unfurling of what I knew to be untrue about myself. I am a person who writes about being vulnerable and the importance of sharing your story and the truth that once you’ve made peace with your story, it no longer matters what other people think. But in this unwelcome moment, my vulnerability was being used against me, causing me to question what I knew to be true.
So like an automatic setting, my mind began to rehearse all of the mental practices in my mind. I reminded myself of all the things I claim to believe and encourage my readers to embrace and live out. But as the days turned into weeks, my posture began to slump a little. I began to have increased trouble getting out of bed in the morning, and looking in the mirror became more of a side glance that I would steal. I stopped writing. I became reclusive. I didn’t want to talk, even to those that I love the most. I stopped allowing my words to circulate into the world that I have no control of.
The nagging fear that I couldn’t silence was that if one person felt this way about me, maybe it was the perception that others have, too. My mind somehow lost the many responses I received in the past from readers who connected with my words and the story I never wanted. Forgotten were the moments when I stood with eyes locked with another as they thanked me for being vulnerable and for giving them the courage to be honest with their own story.
“I will protect myself,” I thought. “I will sit here in silence until it feels safe to come out again, even if that means for the rest of life.” And then the knock came from the Father who knows this heart and cares more about my reputation and my story than I ever could. It came in the form of a phone call, like His hand was being held out to me with an invitation to stand again, even if my legs felt shaky and weak.
“You must get up because there is someone else who needs your story.” Listen to what I’m about to say:
You are going to have critics and naysayers. You are going to have people who misinterpret your words and your heart. You are going to have people who hear you talk for five minutes and think they really know you. You are going to have people say things about you that are brutal. Even if just behind your back. It’s not an “if,” but a “when.” It is guaranteed.
Tell your story anyway.
There is someone out there who needs your story. There is someone who needs to know that you survived and what you learned along the way, and that they too are going to make it through to the other side. Maybe it’s time to get off the bench and get back out into the playing field. Perhaps it’s time to stand up again after being knocked off your feet by the pain of someone else’s words or actions. Maybe it’s time for you to come out of the silence ruled by fear of what others may think about you. Get up and go boldly back into the ring.
You are the only one who has lived your story from your perspective, and the bravest thing you can do in this life is to find the courage to tell it.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT Have you ever gone through a situation in your life where someone else’s words wounded you deeply? In those moments, the temptation can be to turn inward and to become reclusive, building a fortress around your heart that keeps others out and yourself in, and ultimately depriving yourself of the connection with others that you were created to have. When we take our hurt and pain to the Father, he sheds light onto our perspective and brings truth to our troubled hearts. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV).
The bible also talks about how we overcome the enemy in Revelation 12:11, “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (NIV). Is there a moment or an event in your past that you need to take to the Father today? He knows the things that have hurt you and He invites you to exchange those today for His perspective about who you are, and for His peace.
PRAYER: Father, thank you for the example I have through Jesus, who experienced the trials and pain I face in my humanity. I pray that You will help me to overcome those moments when painful words and mistruths have been spoken about me. Bring the truth of who You say I am to my heart and mind today. Help me to forgive those who have caused the pain with the same grace and mercy You have shown to me. Amen.
To learn more about Sarah Davis: Blog site: everythingisimportant.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarah.welsh.98622 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theimportanceofeverything