Last night, I had a conversation with one of my babies (he’s nine but whatever. He’s still my baby. He’ll still be my baby when he’s 40).
It was disheartening, friends.
This particular child of mine is happy-go-lucky. He’s hilarious – the comedian who performs Billy Crystal-like impressions, the one who makes all of us giggle with his silly voices and antics. The one who runs around our house exclaiming “I love my life!!!” The one whose contagious, melodic laughter fills our house and in turn, fills it with joy.
His tear-filled eyes told me no one likes him. He said he was sad most of the time. And he said he doesn’t think he’s smart or good at anything.
I could hardly believe what I was hearing.
Friends, I’m not a perfect mother and Jason is not a perfect father. I’ve said things I would love to take back. I know I’m not alone in that. Thank you God for your Son.
However, I pour into my kids until I’m exhausted. I encourage and love and also share hard truths wrapped in grace. I focus on building them up. I try to teach them about perseverance and patience and running a good race.
But as I listened to him share his heart, it occurred to me . . . I’m waging a war against the world for my son’s sense of self. For all of my children’s sense of self for that matter.
Every negative word spoken to them, every message they perceive as against them, every misinterpretation, every seriously-kidding joke meant to wound but disguised in humor . . . these grenades can blast away a sense of self-worth one explosion at a time.
How do we fight back? What weapons do we use to annihilate the negativity waiting to swallow us up whole?
Like with any war, we just have to use bigger weapons.
It makes me think of when Satan tempted Jesus in the desert after he had not eaten in over 40 days. How did Jesus respond after each of Satan’s enticements?
So in the still small moments of bedtime, as we were winding down our day and when matters of the heart often surface, I spoke the truth of who he is over his heart.
Maybe you need to hear it too? Don’t we all need these reminders?
In case you don’t know . . .
You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). You are forgiven as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). You’re loved with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). You’re known so well God knows how many hairs are on your head – which means He knows you better than you know yourself – I certainly don’t know how many hairs are on my head. But God does (Luke 12:7)
You are a masterpiece. His greatest work. You. Yes. You. (Ephesians 2:10)
God will strengthen you and help you – He will hold you up with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10)
If God is for you, who can be against you? (Romans 8:31)
Friends, in this war against the negative, we are more than conquerors. We will rise-up victorious.
This doesn’t mean that the negativity against our babies or even ourselves will stop. But it does mean we can choose how we respond to it and what we believe.
And we need to teach our babies to do the same. Therein lies the battle – but it’s a battle we will win with due diligence.
Do yourself a favor and check-in with your children this week. How do they see themselves? What do they do really well? What do they want to do better? Is anyone or anything feeding them lies about who they are? How can you help them?
One thing I know about children is that they’re keen observers but oftentimes lousy interpreters. Sometimes they perceive a slight when in actuality one wasn’t intended. Processing this is invaluable.
If you don’t have children, then check-in with yourself. Heck, do that even if you do have kids.
Rise up, friends. I am so sick of negativity and division in our world. It’s time to put some skin on the more-than-conquerors thing.
United in truth and love we stand.