Monday, November 24, 2014

"Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." –Psalm 139:14

Increasingly over the years, I've come to bash myself internally. If I do something wrong, it's because I'm stupid and an idiot. You don't know how many times the phrase Abbey, you're an idiot has floated through my brain.
Almost always the act of "wrong" that sends me spiraling down into verbal self-abuse is relationship-based. I was a shy child. I've worked hard to overcome this shyness and I'm proud of my accomplishment. This does not make talking to people any easier, despite what you may think. Starting conversations is especially difficult.
My bubble of shyness may have been pierced, but there are still certain people I'm not comfortable talking to: namely, the "popular" kids. You know the ones... the vivacious girl, the laid-back-cool-jock-dude. I stumble through conversation with these people, and then worry incessantly that what I've said will be held against me. If I avoid talking to them, I imagine they are behind my back thinking Why is Abbey being so antisocial? Sometimes she'll talk to us, but other times she avoids us. Does she think she's better than us?
The Bible says to rebuke in gentleness (Galatians 6:1) and that's what my mom did last night. I came to her with my worries and she told me that I focus too much on me. She's right. It's selfish to wonder what people are saying or thinking about you, whether or not their opinion is good or bad. It's nice to have compliments, of course, but in the end, whose opinion really matters? God's. How does worrying what so-and-so was thinking when you tripped up the stairs advance God's Kingdom? It doesn't, and that's why that kind of thinking is so destructive.
The verbal self-abuse that follows is also destructive. Think about it: when you say Oh man, Abbey, you did it now, you stupid idiot! you are really saying: Oh man, God, you did it now, you stupid idiot!
Who created me and you? God.
"So God created man in his own image." Genesis 1:27.
"I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 239:14.
"The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life." Job 33:4.
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in him." Ephesians 2:10.
When you—when I—curse yourself you are, in essence, cursing God, because God made you—made me!—in His own image. He knew us before we were born, he sculpted us in our mother's wombs. Does the God of the Universe, who created this whole world with its billions of brilliant blues and its bazillions of shades of greens, make mistakes? Was the Platypus a mistake, or the beetle that has an explosive chamber in its stomach, a mistake? No. The Platypus looks weird for a reason. The beetle with the bomb in its stomach uses it for self-defense.
What about you—what about me? When we call ourselves stupid we are calling God's creation a mistake. When we wish we were dead, we are shirking our responsibilities to the Most High.
The answer is not self-abuse. The answer is God and furthering His Kingdom. Focus on helping someone, or reaching out to someone who usually stands alone at church or at school, instead of what other people will think. Other people's opinions don't matter! Their opinions will last 100 years at most; or, if they happen to be famous, maybe a few hundred years more. God's opinion lasts forever. I would rather impress Him than all the cool-jock-dudes in the world.

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
     even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
     even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand
    when I awake, I am still with you.
Psalm 139:1-18


  1. Oh, Abbey, this is beautiful and encouraging! I struggle with this, too. Psalm 139 is my favorite psalm and has helped me with this struggle before.


  2. Abbey, this is excellent! I thank God for you...Be Yourself!..
    May god bless you, and may you be a witness to all your friends!

  3. Wonderful reminder, especially to us shy souls. Living in the South has definitely helped me learn how to be more social... but I still feel quite awkward and clumsy around "new" people, and I never know what to say. Which often leaves me standing there having a conversation in my head that goes something like this:
    "Say something!"
    "I said... SAY SOMETHING!"
    "No, I mean, what should I say?"
    "I don't know, you're the smart one."
    "Says who?"
    "Well... I'm not, and I don't know what to say, so there. YOU say something."
    "If the person we're supposed to be talking to could hear our thoughts, they'd think I'm crazy."
    "You are crazy."
    "Thanks for the support."
    "You're welcome... now... SAY SOMETHING!"

    1. Haha, I know that conversation! I've had many like it with my own personal Gollum.

  4. I was a shy, awkward kid too, and on top of that, I blushed! In fact that was my nickname for a time which just made me blush harder. Two good things came out of it: I hope I'm more sensitive to those who are feeling uncomfortable and I can put them at their ease, since I've been there. 2: I learned to keep the conversation on them if I didn't know what to say. Ask questions about them - then they'll never stop talking :).

    1. That's a really great tip, Auntie Harriette. I'll remember that. =)