As children we all have experiences that effect our lives and relationships for years to come. I had one incident that haunted me until I finally realized its impact a few years ago.
I was a pre-teen that was surrounded by older kids. I was usually the youngest person in the group. There was a discussion being had at Pizza Hut at the table of teens +me. They were discussing what would happen if… each member at the table were to ask their respective dads for a quarter for the jukebox.
They went around the table saying “My dad would just look at me.” or “My dad would just say money doesn’t grow on trees.”, etc. In my infinite pre-teen wisdom and zeal I piped up with “If I asked my dad for a quarter he would say…”. At this point, the oldest guy in the group raised up out of his seat and towered over the table toward me and, with clenched teeth, said “Shut UP!!! If I wanted your opinion, I’d ask for it”.
I became more of an introvert in my later teen years and one of my biggest fears was speaking to a crowd of people.
I usually felt, and sometimes still do, that what I had to say was just not good enough or interesting enough to be spoken aloud to the group. And almost always felt that if someone wanted to hear what I had to say, they would ask.
At home…now that was a different story. I was a motor mouth. My mom will tell you to this day that it was difficult to get me to shut up! And I’m not sure where it started, but, ask my wife, I am a motor mouth in my sleep.
I used to sing and talk so loudly in my sleep that I awakened others in the house.
I said all that to say this…
A couple of years ago in youth service, I was speaking and it hit me like a ton of bricks that a large portion, if not all, of my fear stemmed from that one scarring incident in my life.
Tragic when you think about it. I might have had something wonderful to say to the group, any group. I might have had an encouraging word to speak, or a positive direction to lead, or something truly and completely stupid! Who knows? I don’t. They were never spoken.
I even remember being afraid to tell a joke! I would whisper the joke to my brother and he would say it. And it always got great laughs, I might add. And I still remember thinking that I just wasn’t good enough to speak. I wasn’t funny enough, smart enough, or interesting enough.
We are so often caught in the trap of gaining our worth from the opinions of others.
I have begun to work on the weight of my words and the weight that they carry and that I have carried. I have even, on occasion, said some really good things. I think I may have even made an impact on someone’s life.
What I am trying to say is…
Be careful what you say to people and how you say it. You don’t always know the impact you are having on that person.
And sometimes a negative impact on one person has a ripple effect on many others.
There was a recent study that said that attitude travels like a virus in a few seconds time through a group of friends and relationships. Don’t be responsible for spreading hurt or crushing personalities.
And most of all, do not ever draw your worth from some idiot that doesn’t have your best interest at heart! You are fearfully and wonderfully made. God made you who you are, where you are, how you are one purpose.
That doesn’t mean we never need to change. It means that we strive to change only for the better and to be open to only those opinions that come from a Godly and loving place.
You are worth more than you think. You are stronger than you think. And somebody loves you…even if it’s just me!