She Is Worth Fighting For.

She Is Worth Fighting For.

How we talk to ourselves matters.

 

Have you ever been in the uncomfortable situation where you witnessed a parent yelling at their child in public? Unbridled, degrading screaming. 

“Look at what you’ve done!” 

“What is wrong with you?” 

“Just wait until we get home…” 

Have you ever had a front row seat to a teacher publicly humiliating a student?

 "I thought you were supposed to be the smart kid? This is supposed to be easy for you. We all know you aren't popular. Being smart is all you have going for you.  Try harder!  High school is going to be one long, lonely road if you don't."

Have you ever overheard a parent whisper under their breath to their child, every syllable etched with soul-crushing malice?

 “Get over here right now, you lazy little m***** f*****.”  “You stupid, stupid kid. Now do you understand why I’m forced to talk to you this way? Get your s*** together.”

I have. It’s hard to fight the urge to throat-punch the parent. 

There was only ever one time, and one time only, that I did something in defense of the child. Upon witnessing a mother thoroughly berating her tiny son for not staying right beside her in the grocery store, I said, “There is no need to talk to him that way. He is only a kid.”

To which the mom looked at me and said, with zero regard for the little boy who was standing two feet away from her, his eyes brimming with tears, “You would, too, if he was your embarrassment to have to deal with.”

The rest of the times I witnessed these displays of verbal battery, I would simply look the other way. I shamefully admit this. It's so much harder to speak up then one imagines it will be. When push comes to shove, many times it is far easier to rationalize inaction with excuses, “It’s not my place to interfere. It will probably go worse for the child if I do. Besides, what could I possibly do anyway?”

Perhaps you may be thinking, “Boy, if I were there I would have done more than scold that parent. Kids are helpless and they are vulnerable. They need defending. If someone stronger doesn’t speak up for them then no one will.” Which is quite true, I might add.  

Witnessing a scene where a child is being verbally attacked is heartrending. It is as if you can see the vibrant glow of innocence grow dimmer under the weight of the pronouncements. And it will continue to dim…until it is utterly extinguished. Those words will echo in the recesses of their fragile hearts. What once was beating, alive and hopeful, will deaden to stone. 

But perhaps worst of all, they will start believing the words they hear. Those words, spoken to them in a grocery store aisle, surrounded by cereal boxes and shame, will soon be the words they will begin to say to themselves

Those words will become their inner voice. They will use this voice, when they speak to themselves, for the rest of their lives.  

 

Worth Fighting For

Those children needed a defender. 

Yes, sadly, a defender probably would not have been able to spare them the bulk of what they would have had to endure in the days that were yet to come.  

But it would have done this: It would have demonstrated to them that they were worth fighting for.

And maybe, one day, when the deafening chorus of “what is wrong with you, you stupid…” rattles on, monstrously loud, they will hear a small, sweet voice that calls to them though the inundation of condemnation…you are worth fighting for.

 

Defend Her

I took a quick scroll yesterday through social media and I found these statements:

"If you're sick of the SQUISH...tired of cramming your body into yoga pants because nothing else fits, tired of hiding inside on hot days when you really want to be at the pool or the beach...WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?"

"IT'S HARD TO GET FIT, BUT IT'S HARDER TO LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND DISLIKE WHAT YOU SEE."

"Before that [I lost weight], I was always insecure, feeling hopeless, and trying to hide in the back of pictures so people couldn't see me. I was so embarrassed..."

And…

“I will beat her. I will train harder. 

I will eat cleaner. I know her weaknesses. I know her strengths. 

I’ve lost to her before. But not this time. 

She is going down. I have the advantage because I know her well. 

She is the old me.

 

This was the result of scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook for ONE MINUTE. 

 

Who are we talking to? Who is listening to us say, “You should be ashamed of yourself unless you feel worthy enough to be seen in public in a bathing suit."? Or, "You should dislike what you see in the mirror unless you are fit and trim. You should be ashamed of wearing stretchy pants because nothing else fits. You should beat the living crap out of that weak, pathetic person." 

"BEAT HER! SHE IS THE OLD YOU. AND SHE IS GOING DOWN!”

 

The answer to the question “Who is listening?” is this: Little eyes are watching and little ears are listening. We are their examples. Whether we like it or not, we are their role models in regards to how they will feel about food and their bodies. Every time we wage war against ourselves for being overindulging failures, they are watching. They are listening. 

And make no mistake, someone else is listening, too. You are. 

You are listening. With every verbal beat down, the vibrant glow of your purpose and passion dims. With every comparison you make, to which you find yourself wanting, it grows dimmer. You are, admittedly, on a quest to to take yourself down. 

Taking yourself down comes at a cost.

 

Why? Why would you do this? Why would you want to beat yourself? What is there to gain? Feeling good about yourself in pictures? Rocking that bikini? Running that marathon? Having muscles in all the right places? Steering clear of fill-in-the-blank? Are those gains worth the annihilation of yourself?

Whether you believe it or not, there is no OLD you. There is no NEW you. There is just YOU. The same little girl that wanted to lick the bowl when you made brownies, who cartwheeled in the backyard for the pure joy of it, who put on a bathing suit because it was hot and she wanted to swim, is still YOU. 

I know, it’s true; life may have beaten her down a little. She may have turned to coping mechanisms that were not in her best interests. She may have felt insecure and worthless. She may have not accomplished the things she set out in life to accomplish when the sun was high in the golden sky of childhood. She may have compromised and done things she never dreamed she would do.

She did the best she could do…

Don’t beat her down-

DEFEND HER. 

 

The Great Defender

Tell her, call out to her, in voice that will drown out the never-ending chorus of self-loathing, that SHE IS WORTH DEFENDING!

Be her defender. Imagine that she is that little child in the grocery store and she needs someone, anyone, to speak up. To stand up for her and let her know that she is worth fighting for.  

Grab her by the hand and say, “There are still bowls to be licked, cartwheels to be done, pools to be jumped into on hot, summer days.”

Look into her eyes and vow to stop beating her down. There are enough other voices attempting to do that. Insofar as it depends on you, don’t participate in her demise.     

Put your arm around her and assure her, “YOU are worth defending." 

Because you already have been. 

Jesus defended you. He defends you still today. His death was a moment in time that covers all moments in time. You are His.

YOU, who were once dead, have now been made alive by the atoning work of the cross. Life has come, ushered in by the Resurrection. That is who YOU are. 

What Jesus did for you, and who He says that you are, have nothing to do with anything you have done, are doing, or will ever do.  

Therefore, your response to such a gracious act of love should likewise be an act of love; to be the kind of defender of yourself that you would be if you saw a little child being attacked. 

 

You are worth defending.