Not long ago I wrote about feeling overwhelmed by negative emotions. My conclusion was that the only way to overcome this is to be overwhelmed by the greatness of God.
Lately I’ve discovered another occasion when I feel overwhelmed.
It happens when someone I care about deeply says harsh and hurtful words. These individuals sometimes seem on a mission to hurt me, but I’ve discovered it’s because of their own hurt (hurt people hurt people). Sometimes it’s because I speak a truth to them, and the truth hurts when we’re running from God and His will and way.
God has reminded me that when I speak a truth, and people reject me and even try to crush me because of that truth which I have every desire to speak in love, it shows they’re rejecting Him.
Yet I still feel overwhelmed at times at how mean some people can be to me. If I don’t run to God immediately with my sense of feeling overwhelmed by hurt, a feeling springs up:
I feel unloved.
Beneath this feeling is a conclusion about myself which a counselor helped me to see years ago. This statement about myself originated in childhood.
I am unlovable.
When this overwhelming feeling and conclusion take over after a deep hurt or a slashing by harsh words, shame rises up and wraps around my heart.
For so many years I turned to food instead of the Lord when shame rose up in me. Overeating kept me in the cycle of hurt and shame.
I still go through this cycle at times in my life. I’m realizing it’s not because of continuing to have loved ones who out of their deep hurt wound me with harsh, hurtful words. The cycle comes because I don’t immediately go to God when they lash out at me.
Recently someone said something mean to me and because I was already fearful about a situation and I hadn’t had much sleep the night before and was working through grief over the death and hard life of a loved one, that overwhelming sense of “I feel so hurt, I feel unloved, I am unlovable, shame!” took over.
Instead of crying out to God, I expressed anger, and I used bitterness to try to overcome shame.
Truth alert: This course does not work!
What did work is in the midst of feeling hurt was to cry out to God and ask, “What do you say about me?”
This is what the Lord spoke to my heart: ELAINE, I LOVE YOU. I AM FOR YOU. I KNOW YOUR PAIN. I UNDERSTAND THE ACHE IN YOUR HEART (over loved ones rebelling against the Lord and hurting me and others while doing it.) WHEN IT SEEMS THEY ARE AGAINST YOU, THEY ARE REALLY AGAINST ME. DO NOT FRET. DO NOT WORRY. DO NOT FLY INTO A FURY. I AM A SHIELD AGAINST THE ENEMY WHO IS WORKING THROUGH THEM. CALL ON ME IN THE MIDST OF ONSLAUGHTS OF MOCKERY OR MALICIOUSNESS. I AM GREATER THAN ANY INSULT THEY HURL AT YOU. KNOW THAT. REJOICE IN THAT.
The Lord also reminded me of a verse as I battled feeling unloved:
“May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant” (Psalm 119:76 NIV)
I remember sharing that verse with an atheist after he asked “Why do you need God?” and telling him that God could give us something that we could get nowhere else: unfailing love. Not too long after, his wife filed for divorce.
Since many of the attacks from “mean” people in my life have to do with me not being perfect in their eyes and their condemning me for not measuring up to their expectations, the following verse also helped me deal with the “no mercy” messages from others. (Oh Lord, I confess I sometimes am the one expecting perfection and having a “no mercy” attitude.)
“The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17 AMP).
Part of this verse in another version says, “He will create calm with his love…”
There are so many verses that speak of God’s love for me which trump any mean, unloving thing someone says to me or about me.
As I stay intimately connected to the Lord, He reminds me again and again of His amazing, unfailing love for me even as others communicate, “You’re not good enough to be loved” and/or “you deserve to be mistreated.”
The key is to believe God above all others.
I confess I sometimes slip into the role of unhealed wounder instead of staying in the role of healed healer, allowing God to use me to bring healing into the lives of others.
Some days I demand that God not allow me to be mistreated or put down ever again. That’s not going to happen.
But I can choose a better way to deal with it.
This battle with feeling overwhelmed by hurt doesn’t have to last long. It can even be aborted if I stay alert. I can choose to let go of bitterness and shame and choose to be overwhelmed by God’s love for me instead of feeling overwhelmed by lack of love from those I love.
And when it seems to them that I am being the hurtful, unloving one, I pray they will do the same.
God’s love is amazing. Let’s celebrate that truth today.
I had the privilege of hearing Chris Tomlin sing this song in concert recently.
“Jesus Love Me” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CGkt67F2uI