This blog is about belittling, and the opposite: what i am calling "be-bigging" (lifting up).
There are some tremendous joys of working as a nanny. Kids are beautiful and I can completely understand why God told us to be childlike in Matthew 18:2-4, but I also get to see -more clearly through kids- some hurtful actions that all people- young and old- do.
In particular, I have seen the damage of belittling. Let me tell you, when I hear kids belittling each other, it truly stings my heart.
I know I'm not the only one that has felt this defeated, want-to-scream-out-loud kind of belittlement.
I don't have to focus too much on the bad things about belittling- we know those already, we have felt them! I'm guessing that somewhere in life, all of us have felt belittled for either not reading someone's mind or for doing everything perfectly (like no one can). ANYONE can belittle ANYONE. I can go up to the smartest man on earth and ask him a random question about ...um, pandas...and yet if he did not know, I would be ABLE to belittle him. Anyone is ABLE to belittle absolutely anyone (even the smartest person on earth)...the interesting thing is whether we CHOOSE to use those opportunities to make someone feel smaller or make someone feel great (and share knowledge or encouragement)! The other interesting thing about this--- if we are all ABLE to belittle, being belittled is most likely not about what YOU are doing, but about the choice the other person made to belittle.
My friend, when you are belittled, it is not about your worth, your ability, or your intelligence. It is not about your looks or your overall personality. I dare to say that it almost always truly about the belittler. We have also all been belittlers, so we can understand. (Well maybe not fully understand...but we can more deeply look to when WE belittle to know that others aren't usually cruel or horrible).
Well, to the belittled and belittler in all of us, I am begging for an end. With kids, I do the same. I have found myself basically begging for kids to stop belittling and start respecting. I wish I could make them understand the power of their words on their siblings and friends...but even more so - how beautifully made we ALL are.
Sometimes you can't stop the belittlers from putting you down (You just can't control that), but what you CAN do is treat the battered and bruised belittled side.
When a kid is belittled, I will try to pull them aside and address every lie that they are told...whether it is "you're stupid" or "you're ugly" or even "you're worthless." The last thing i want is for a kid to internalize a skewed version of their worth because of another's insecurity.
And THATS when I realized: I address these lies with kids, but I don't do it for myself...and I HAVE internalized the lies. Why couldn't we all address those lies when they are told to us? I suggest that we change the way we hear and take in belittling words. We can speak over ourselves the way we would speak over a battered kid.
The key to this belittlement issue is simply knowing your worth. It might not take the hurt away, but you also won't be left feeling horribly deprived of your dignity. We can see ourselves for who we truly are.
Here's a start, i left spaces below for your own responses.
The anthem of the no-longer-belittled:
(its ok if you don't fully believe it all about yourself right away. God believes it about you and that is most important- but He also wants you to realize these things. Maybe you could take the first step and say the declarations for the first time, knowing they may not soak in until a different time. Baby steps.)
"I am NOT little, NOT stupid, NOT timid. I am NOT insignificant. God made me uniquely purposed. (1 Cor. 12) He didn't make others with purposes and then throw me in. He considered me worth life and worth His death.
He not only made me with a purpose, but He designed every part of me so specifically for His purposes. (Psalm 139) Sometimes these specifics are not praised by others, but that does not mean that they are less valuable in God's eyes.
I am a Daughter/Son of the King. Royalty, Co-heir! (Romans 8:17)
Uniquely, I am ______, _______, _________. He has made me to be a radical combination of traits and gifts. To Him be the glory!
I am beautiful! made to be in the body I am in for purposes that I don't always see yet. I am made to have this unique, incomparable beauty and He has purpose for that. He made me and knew me since I was young. (Psalm 139)
I am granted with dignity. (Proverbs 31:25). CLOTHED with it! Regardless if I feel respected, I do not have to prove my respectability. I am already clothed with this dignity and I am not giving that away because of an insult.
In fact, I do NOT have to prove my worth at all. Many times, when I am belittled, I want to prove others wrong...but I do not have to. I can rest in my worth.
I cannot possible know what goes on in others' heads and I cannot help their skewed standards, but I can serve them (what? yup) regardless of how they make me feel. Now that I know that their standards are probably more based on their want for control than on me, (again) I can rest in my worth.
Lord, help me believe those things about myself and to let you "be-big" me in the most beautiful, humbling way. We are nothing without you, yet you have made us great conquerers with the king! Thanks for turning our worlds upside down and saving us completely. Thank you that it is not about what we do, but about what you did (thank goodness!) We are brand new. You wipe our slates clean when we repent and I repent right now of all the times I have belittled someone. If there are times I have done so and didn't realize, please forgive those too and teach me how to realize the sting of my comments.
In asking for help and direction Lord, I first ask for help to stop belittling others. I know you've graciously forgiven me for the times I have done it before and repented, but I don't want to continue. Help me realize when I am belittling and then show me how hurtful it is. I never want to be the person that starts the process of self-doubt in another.
Teach me how to seek your truth first instead of other people's. I can tell you anything, Jesus. When I tell you my hurt, please give me understanding for the other person. You love them too.
Also, Lord, what a great gift of accountability you have given us. Let me not confuse accountability with belittling (in giving or receiving).
Help me especially know my worth when I am with ________. I know that they also feel belittled by others. Instead of thinking about my hurt, let me think about theirs and the ways I can serve them.
You are my safe place. You may not always "take sides" but you are always for me (Romans 8:31)...and I imagine you cry with me (after all, its your prized creation that is being belittled).
You are a Be-bigging God who wants to show me how wonderful you have made me and others. I want to know that more fully God. Spirit, Teach me. Lord, thank you for creating me beautiful! Please show me more of how you see me because sometimes it is hard to believe.
Lord, I love you. You are the best ... and without you, I would let belittling lead to a constant competetion...constant "proving myself." You were on a cross, so belittled- yet you looked to others and not yourself. Please fill us with your Spirit so that we can somehow do the same.
Now lets rejoice that regardless of what others say about you or to you, you are defined as a prince or princess. God made you to uniquely bless the world regardless if others recognize your great worth. Also, we get to look for that amazing worth in others (its in everyone). We can start this change right now and ask for Jesus to give us His eyes for His kids.