The phone call started with what I thought would make her happy. It ended with what felt like a prolonged tongue lashing and silent tears.
The who and why are not important. The grappling of my heart, sweet girls, well that is.
You see, when words hit like daggers on the playground and you share with me about it, I know you dream of the day you are an adult. Like me. When people have grown in kindness and treat each other with respect.
But the truth is we never graduate from the playground.
Even adults fail to express themselves in a healthy manner sometimes. Women tend to be primary offenders. Sadly, our gender tends to be especially catty. I can say that since I’m female.
I’m not sure why this is. If it digs deep into societal pressures about the varied ways to get work, home-life, and the Christian walk right. Or if we have less security than our male counterparts. Or if self-pride gets in the way of truly listening and treating others with dignity.
This hearing words of hostility is a lifelong condition. To tell you any differently would be to lie. And, for that, I’m so sorry.
During my middle school years I remember girls intentionally trying to intimidate and belittle. Girls trying to rattle my confidence. Girls trying to get under my skin and turn me away from doing what I knew God asked of me. Of being the person He made me to be. I’d go home and vent frustration to my dad, wiser than I, and each and every time he’d say, “Kill ‘em with kindness, Melissa.” I wanted to scream. I wondered if I was heard.
Being the good when you feel bruised is difficult.
It still is in adulthood.
So when this woman spoke like she did for the length of time that she did, I could hear my dad yelling from heaven loud and clear, “Kill her with kindness.” And I did. Though it went against all I was feeling. And I honored her. And I thanked her for her time and what I do appreciate about her. It wasn’t easy, but people will not forget how you made them feel. As an adult, I get this.
Girls, here is the bottom line. Treating people with kindness is not something you magically grow into. Like most things in your life it is a decision. One you will have to be intentional about moment to moment.
You don’t have to be a yes person to be kind. People don’t always have to say yes to you. No is okay and sometimes important. But, how we carry ourselves. The words and tones we use. The way we paint people and populations. The consideration we show. An attitude that displays giving and seeing beyond ourselves. These matter for all. And it is often on these grounds that you will or will not be respected.
You will make mistakes. So will I. But give it to God and learn along the way. The Master Refiner brings beauty to future days.
And, when you get the tongue lashings? Well everything in my mama heart wishes I could protect you from that. Yet I can’t. So when you face adversity, please do two very important things. Things your old mama still has to do.
1) Examine your heart – Have you been kind? Are your motives pure? Are you protecting your heart and body, which God calls a temple (1 Cor 6:19), physically, emotionally, and spiritually? Are you doing what The Lord is asking? Are your thoughts and actions reflecting step with your God?
2) Remember Whose you are – You are special. You are His. Today, tomorrow, and always. The God who created the starry night fashioned every detail of you and success in life will never be found through the approval of others but in the honoring of Him. See yourself through His eyes. And, remember, when someone tries to make you small, His eye is on the sparrow, watching you, covering you, and protecting you.
Precious ones, never let someone else dull your unique sparkle.
In Christ you are strong.
And, girls, speak life….