“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
A woman found an old school picture of herself taken in the fifth grade. She looked at herself and thought, “You cute little thing.” The woman turned the picture over and saw that she had written a note to her dad on it.
Dad, to my father who I love and who is wonderful to me.
I love you. I’m sorry I’m so ugly.
Love, your daughter.
That little girl was me.
The words hurt my heart. What a beautiful little girl I was. Why did I think I was ugly? After some soul searching, it occurred to me words like those began earlier in third grade after someone I had a crush on was cruel to me. His words became my words. So began a life of hearing a cruel voice inside my head.
I recently read a new novel called Invisible by Ginny Yttrup. The main character Ellyn deals with “Earl,” an inner voice who tells her she is fat. It was jarring to read at first and then it occurred to me that I’ve dealt with my own “Earl” for a long time.
After I got married, my inner voice came out a lot. I’d bump into a corner or I’d make a mistake and my inner “Earl” would speak aloud.
“I’m so stupid.”
“Come on, Robbie, can’t you do anything right?”
After a few months, John sat me down with an extremely serious look. He said, “Listen to me. NO ONE talks to my wife that way, not even you!”
I heard him and began a journey to shut Earl up, in my words aloud and my thoughts. So he doesn’t talk often but he still makes appearances.
The words we tell ourselves our incredibly powerful. I’m in the middle of a weight loss journey and I have conversations with myself about temptation all the time. Again, God used a line out of Invisible to teach me. Ellyn is eating and God whispers to her heart. “You don’t love food more than me, you trust food more than me.”
For me, it was a profound statement. In my conversations with myself and God, I’ve often commented, “God, what is wrong with me? I love You more than chocolate. I do!”
So my words have changed. This week I’ve said over and over, “God I TRUST YOU more than _________ (chocolate, bread, ice cream) to fulfill me, to heal my restlessness, to calm my fear.”
And these words have made a major impact.
The still small voice of the Spirit longs to be our “go-to” inner voice. His is a voice of gentle love and encouragement. “Earl,” on the other hand, just wants to tear down.
If I had a school picture of myself right now, I’d look at her and say, “You cute woman” and I’d write on the back a note to my Father in Heaven.
Abba Daddy, to my Father who is wonderful to me.
Thank you for making me in Your Image,
a beautiful woman simply because I reflect You.Your daughter, Robbie