When the Big Bad Bully Messes With You

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message

“Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).

Being from North Carolina, I love the old black-and-white episodes of The Andy Griffith Show. (And no, we don’t all talk like that.) In one episode, the neighborhood bully is picking on Andy’s boy, Opie. This blond-headed newcomer taunts and makes fun of Opie until he feels like a total loser. He’s ashamed of his own cowardice and embarrassed in front of his friends. After Andy, the wise father, figures out what is disturbing his moping son, he gives him a little lesson in standing up to bullies. The next day, when the bully threatens Opie, the little freckle-faced boy looks his opponent in the eye and refuses to crumble under his threats.

“Do you want to fight?” the bully taunts.

Opie doesn’t say a word. He just puts up his fists.

“Oh yeah? Well, knock this rock off my shoulder and I’ll—”

Opie knocks the rock off his shoulder before the bully has time to finish his sentence.

“Oh yeah? Well, step into this circle,” the bully continues as he draws a circle around himself in the dirt.

Opie steps into the circle.

Suddenly, the bully grows nervous. “You better be glad I’ve got on my good pants,” the bully says as he backs away.

Opie never had to throw the first punch. All he did was stand his ground and the bully backed away. Bullies don’t like it when we stand our ground. Never have. Never will.

Notice how many times Paul admonishes us tostand in Ephesians 6:13-14. “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able tostand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then…” No one can stand for us. We must stand on our own two feet and stand up against the Enemy—and we stand onthe Word of Truth to do it.

In his book The Reason for God, Timothy Keller said this:

“If anything threatens your identity, you will not just be anxious but paralyzed with fear. If you lose your identity through the failings of someone else, you will not just be resentful but locked into bitterness. If you lose it through your own failings, you will hate or despise yourself as a failure as long as you live. Only if your identity is built on God and his love…can you have a self that can endure anything, face anything.”

We need to take our stand when the big bad bully tells us that we are no good losers who can’t do anything right, who will never change, who will always struggle with doubt, or who will never be free. He’s just messing with you. Don’t let him.

Paul said, “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).

Maybe you’ve been running from the bully for way too long. Go ahead and take your stand. He’ll probably slink away because he has his good pants on.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Don’t Underestimate the Power of the Tongue

Thank you ARLENE PELLICANE for today’s message…

“No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:8 (NIV)

When I was in elementary school, I didn’t like recess. In fact, I dreaded recess because of a certain little boy.

I would be playing peacefully with other girls and out of nowhere, the brown-eyed-boy with the big mouth would appear. “China girl! China girl!” he yelled, chasing me around.

I’d quickly retreat to the girls’ bathroom to escape the embarrassment. There weren’t many Chinese girls in my elementary school. I didn’t want to be different; I wanted to fit in.

Recess reminded me I didn’t fit in. I used to think dyeing my hair brown would solve all my problems. I never tried it, but I thought about it a lot.

Because of those two words spoken to me — “China girl! China girl!” — I became insecure about my God-given race. I didn’t eat Chinese food; I ate pizza and hamburgers. At a young age, I was experiencing the power of other’s words to influence my thoughts and behavior.

The words we speak hold great potential, both to harm and to heal. Our key verse reminds us of the enormous power yielded by the tiny muscle, the tongue. The Bible tells us the tongue is untamable, restlessly evil, and full of deadly poison. My big thigh muscle hasn’t injured too many, but my tiny tongue? That’s another story.

In James chapter 3, James contrasts sizes in his three analogies about the tongue: a horse’s bit turns its whole body; small rudders direct large ships; and a little flame can ignite a great forest fire.

The recurring theme? Don’t be deceived. Although very small, the tongue is powerful and should not be underestimated in its ability to do harm.

If I am singing God’s praises Sunday morning at church but spreading juicy gossip on Monday morning, something is wrong with my heart, and it shows through the words that pass by my tongue. I don’t become saved by the words I speak (salvation is through Christ alone). But because I am saved, my words are supposed to reflect the presence of Jesus in my life.

The same mouth should not produce praise and cursing. For example, an apple tree produces apples. It doesn’t produce apples and oranges. Following Jesus is an “all-in” endeavor. You can’t produce apples and oranges, blessing and cursing when you’ve been made into a new creation.

Does that mean we’ll always speak righteous words at the right time, never lashing out in anger or impatience? No, James tells us in our key verse that “no human being can tame the tongue.” Verse 3:2 says “we all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect” (NIV).

What’s the use in trying if no one can be perfect or tame the tongue? The emphasis shouldn’t be placed on how far we fall short. Instead we can focus on how far forward we can progress. When we obey God’s Word to become more like Jesus, we are being perfected. We are getting closer and closer to what Christ is like. We are not expecting perfection from ourselves. But by the grace of God, we are striving toward perfection.

One little, wise word at a time.

A few weeks ago at bedtime, my 6-year-old daughter Lucy looked at me with her big chocolate chip eyes. “Mommy, I appreciate how you say nice things to me. I appreciate that you help me love God and to do the right thing.”

She spoke slowly in that little 6-year-old cadence, and I savored every syllable. It was like a big hug to my soul and in that moment, I felt fully appreciated and applauded. I pressed in tightly for a hug and thought in amazement, “My little girl understands the value of words of affirmation!”

Lucy used her tongue for good. When I was around her age, words spoken to me sent me running to hide. But now, my child’s words empowered me to mother strong another day.

How have you been using your words lately? Your words carry great potential to harm or heal. Have you been building your loved ones up or pointing out their faults? Your tongue is a powerful weapon for good or evil; wield it wisely today.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

You Can STOP the Bullying Self-Talk

13710013_10157280658795220_3621804307325745350_nI have been reflecting on last week’s Thirty One Conference.  From the first speaker, John Fleming at Director’s Day through to the last, Shelene Bryan – it seemed like they were talking to ME!   Doubt and fear has plaques me over the last year or so – in my business, in my personal life and in my faith.  Their words touched my soul and I came home with a new set of tools to fight the bully in my life.

Did you know that everyday, you chat with yourself!  Some may say… NO, I don’t talk to myself BUT the truth is that we do.  Our ‘inner gremlins” are those NAGGY, BULLYING voices that you use to ‘TALK’ to yourself and the harsh, mean tone you use.

Admit it!  You can be flying along having a great day and them WHAM! You find you’ve made a mistake! Or maybe you “forgot” to do something. Or maybe you went off your diet.  Whatever it is – those bullying voices start to creep in.  When the voices grow louder, do they start calling you negative names?

Some can kick them to the curb and keep going on the positive route.  Then there are others who may not close the door totally on those little voices.  Maybe they shout when you least expect it –

YOU NEVER DO ANYTHING RIGHT!

Those voices are disastrous to your self-confidence when they hit you up on a daily basis.  Those voices CHIP AWAY at your confidence, little by little, and before long you start to believe what they say. Doubt sets in. Fear begins to rule.  Those voices are ECHOES OF THE PAST..words uttered by others in your life when you were a child.

I know, maybe you can’t remember things like that ever being said.  Maybe you tucked them away…. BUT those “inner gremlins” are still lurking in the background in the hopes that you will begin to believe them as an adult.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO STOP THE BULLYS?

Only YOU can take control and kill the chatter. You have the power and ability to change your thoughts and shut down the sound of your bullying voices! Once you’ve reached a point of ‘enough is enough’ negative self-talk, bored feeling like you’re NEVER GOOD ENOUGH and ready to move past it, you can take action and reshape your voices into more encouraging ones!

Only when you do this can you build your confidence in yourself, eliminating FEAR and BELIEVE you can FLY!

Here’s 3 simple ways to SHUT THEM DOWN!

UNDERSTAND

Listen to your voices, listen to how they ‘talk’ to you and especially take note to when your negative chitter chatter gets louder. Do they get louder when

You make a mistake?
You forget to do something? or
You blow your top at someone?

Pay close attention the triggers or what flips the switch into your dismissive voices!

CHALLENGE

When the triggers are switched on, the voices get loud, listen to what they’re saying ..

You’re such a screw-up!
You can’t do anything right! or
Boy, that was a stupid move!

Without hesitation, challenge those statements or ideas with the TRUTH.

Really, you’ve got to be kidding, that’s definitely not true!
Everyone makes mistakes, I learned from it and it’s okay or
Next time I will plan better.

The real truth, of course, is no one messes up CONSTANTLY!

TURN THEM AROUND

When your voices start to bully you, make you want to shrink into a hole and hide, shut them down immediately by responding back with positive messages.

Wow, that’s definitely not true, look at all I’ve accomplished.
Mistakes happen to all of us.
I do my best.
I’m okay with that.

The more you kick the bullying voices to the curb and squash them with positive talk, the more power you build within yourself.

IT’S NOT A QUICK FIX.

No, you won’t go to bed one night and miraculously wake up the next day with all your confidence back.  Step by step, smashing the nagging, mean voices and calling their bluff right away WILL result in a more powerful, self-confident YOU!

“If you wouldn’t say those things to someone else you love, why are you saying them to yourself?” – Elaina Marie

How do you stop those nasty bullying voices? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.