Friday, October 4, 2013

What Did You Say About My Friend?

“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
― A.A. Milne

I want to tell you about a friend of mine. We’ll call her Morgan – because she will recognize herself in this post, but she may not want you to know who she is.

So Morgan told me yesterday that she is immature and needs to work on her image. I was floored! Morgan is not immature.  Want to know who she really is?

Morgan is thoughtful. She sees needs that others miss. Morgan is excellent at making people feel valued and welcome in any setting. Morgan sacrifices for her family – working long hours to bring in money to help them achieve their goals. Morgan takes action. When she sees the need that others missed, she doesn’t stop to discuss it or make sure she has permission. She just acts! And her actions are always for the benefit of everyone around her. She is selfless. She would give the shirt off her back or her last dollar to someone in need. She’s a joy! When Morgan walks into a room, the room lights up. You can’t help but smile when she’s around.

Yet, she thinks she needs to work on her image.

Ok. Another friend – let’s go with Brynn this time. Brynn heard a rumor that she had been labeled “pretentious” by another woman. That label has bothered her and caused her to examine how she interacts with others. Want to know who Brynn really is?

Brynn is generous. She gives of her time, home, money, energy, and heart in ways that cannot be measured. The lives she has touched with her generosity are too many to count. Her home is always open. Everything in her pantry is yours if you need it. Her time is your time. She will spend the night so you don’t have to be alone. She will watch your kids so you can go to that important appointment. She will talk on the phone with you until the wee hours of the morning, offering encouragement and support. And the counsel she gives is wise beyond her years. She listens with empathy and then offers gentle but brilliant advice on what to do next. My friend is loving and loyal. She will go to the wall for those who need her – all without expecting anything in return.

Yet, she’s worried she’s pretentious.
Do we really have to live with distorted views of ourselves?

How do we get here? How do we decide we are so flawed and miss all the value we bring to the table? I do it too. Somehow we let other people (usually those who are thoughtless and clueless) tell us who we are and miss the truth.

Do we really want to live like this? Believing negative lies about ourselves instead of realizing how much we have to offer and walking in our strengths?

I’m yelling “NO!” at my dining room table right now :-)

How do we fix it? How do we get a clearer picture of the value in us? I have four suggestions for us:
  1. Let’s ask our best friends – ask them to tell us our strengths (write them down so we can go back to it later). Our friends know us well and can see what we bring to the table.
  2. Ask God! He loves us and created us exactly the way we are on purpose! And He doesn’t make garbage. The Bible is full of passages about how much we are loved and how intentionally we have been created. God treasures us and has given us gifts and talents! We have value!
  3. Now that you’ve asked the people who know you best, make a list of your strengths. Write it down. Frame it. Or laminate it. And refer to it often! I made my own list a while back here on my blog.  I need to dust it off and print it out for my own reference. I forget I have value just as much as the next girl. 
  4. Encourage those women that you come in contact with. The world is such a mean and nasty place. We need to hear from each other that we are fabulous (I got those exact words in a text yesterday, and it carried me through my whole day) – and not in a fake or insincere way, but in an honest effort to help each other see our positives and rejoice in them.

I have to stop writing now and go tell a friend she is fabulous!


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