It is taking all of my self-restraint not to write about school starting, but that particular wound is much too fresh, so we'll save that for another day. Lucky you!
I think sometimes I come off as a mean girl. It might actually be my face. I have the Resting-You Know What-Face. Or it might be my quiet, observant demeanor that people mistake for judgment. It might be my penchant for all things "extra" that seems intimidating to people. I don't know, but it's probably a combination of all of those.
I'm not a mean girl though (despite quoting that movie on the regular). I'm thinking a lot of nice stuff in my mind while I stand there in a group of people I don't know very well. I think them; I just don't usually say them.
Why not? I'm not 100% on the reason for that either. It might possibly be my fear of rejection that I carry pretty much everywhere always. As a child who wanted someone's love and affection and was denied that on a daily basis despite my many efforts, I learned the risk isn't worth it. Putting yourself out there for people to brush off becomes terrifying.
It could be that even though making and having friends has always been easy for me, I've never really felt like I truly belonged anywhere. I went to four different schools from K-12, and while I had good experiences at all of them, I was always on the outside of certain memories or inside jokes because I wasn't there from the beginning.
Maybe it's my perfectionist tendencies that keep me from doling out compliments freely. It's true that I rarely suffer fools, and I often (mostly unconsciously) demand that people earn my respect rather than giving it with an open hand.
Truthfully it's probably a combination of all those too.
But for whatever reason, I don't want to be a person who withholds love, affection or compliments.
So I have been consciously and intentionally working on saying those nice things that I am thinking even if I'm afraid you will judge my motive or reject my effort. I can't worry about how others will or will not react anymore.
In Hebrews, God calls us to "consider how to stir up one another to love and good works." And if my words can be a catalyst for more good and more love in this world then I can't justify holding them back.
I have long taught my students that our words have power often long after we are gone. They can hurt or help, and we need all the helpful ones to counteract the lingering hard ones. Sisters and brothers, we need to cheer each other on. We need to pray and ask for discernment in how we can minister to each other with our words and actions. We could be the mouthpiece God uses to heal up a hurting heart, and in the process, God can bless and heal our own hearts
We can find that belonging and no longer fear rejection when we are yielded to His will and using our words to speak life into others. He's not a God who holds back; He lavishes His love on us. The Word He spoke is love and it casts out all fear.
So give it away, friends. Don't filter the good thoughts. Share them, and you will receive something too.
You are “wonderfully” made Gretchen. Uplifting so many students, every year, is no easy fete. Thank you for this much needed reminder to all if us.