There’s just something about simple sentences with big impact that shake me to the core. I don’t know if it’s because fewer words are easier to remember, or because my brain often over-analyzes everything – but simple sentences with big impact are my favorite!
An example of one of those sentences is:
“What you say when you talk about other people says a lot about you.”
Doesn’t that just stop you in your tracks? It brings on one of those, “Whoa!” moments. That sentence makes you take an internal evaluation of yourself.
What have your recent conversations sounded like? What do your friends feel comfortable talking to you about? What thoughts circulate through your mind as you think of others?
I used to be quite the gossiper. All of my friendships were based on talking about others. I just thought that was part of friendship. Every girl I had ever met talked about others – even their friends … so I just followed suit. I used to feel so bad about it, but I just couldn’t stop. Every time I would leave from hanging with “friends”, I would feel sick to my stomach.
The more I studied Scripture the more enlightened I became. There’s just something about spending time in the Word! Once you read something you can’t unread it. I was learning more and more that speaking negative about others was heartbreaking to God. I started praying He would show me how to get away from the negative talk.
One day I met a new friend for coffee. The whole time her mouth was open she was speaking negative about her friends. I realized I was afraid to spend time with her again because of how mean she was toward the people she was supposed to love. I also realized that if she would talk about them that way, she would certainly talk about me that way to others.
I saw myself in this girl.
I recognized that I was not going to be able to cultivate healthy new friendships if I brought my old habits along. I realized that strong women would not want to hang out with me because they would see the negative comments I made about others. They would know I would talk about them too. Strong, healthy individuals recognize this toxic behavior and set up boundaries against people who spew such negativity.
I didn’t want to waste time blaming my friends, I had to take responsibility for myself. My own behavior was the only behavior I could change.
I did change. It took time, but I changed. My behavior caused a wedge between us, and ultimately those relationships came to an end. Those types of friendships only stay fueled when drama was involved. I broke away and started to form friendships with healthy women who had their minds and words set on things that were positive and uplifting.
It’s scary breaking away from everything you’ve ever known. It’s scary when you think of people being mad at you and how you could end up alone. That’s called People Pleasing and Fear of Man. Those two will keep you in captivity and leave you feeling miserable. Yes, it’s comfortable because it’s what you know … but it’s not God’s best for you. You are so much better than the negativity that you are surrounded by every day!
When you start experiencing healthy friendships and become a better friend to others, your standards for relationships will change. Your old crew will make fun of you for changing. That is a bully; that is not a friend. That’s lowering your standards and expectations to please people who try to make you live in fear.
My eyes were opening to a whole new life and I wanted those friends to come along for the journey. The problem was, they didn’t want that change for themselves. Instead, they started to treat me really bad. They stopped inviting me to outings and they moved on without me. It hurt – but I surrendered them to God and kept moving forward.
I got to a place where I would rather be alone and positive, than be brought down by negative “friends”. I made a choice that I was going to live my life better than that. My whole life changed for the better.
I was alone for a while, and God used that time to patch up my character. Eventually He started to bring new women into my life. I built healthy relationships with them. They were consistent friends. I could never imagine them speaking negative about me and I don’t want to talk negative about them. We care for one another and want to lift each other up … not drag each other down.
Ultimately hurt people hurt people, and healed people heal people.
I say that all the time, but it just sums it all up! I spewed negativity towards others and hung out with women who did the same thing because I was broken and hurt.
As God began to heal my heart, my tolerance for the gossip and drama lowered. When we seek God, our lives become a response to Him. Gossip and backbiting breaks God’s heart. As we grow, the things that break God’s heart starts to break our own hearts.
So what are you saying when you’re talking about other people? Ouch, right? What are three things you’re going to choose to do, starting today, to change that behavior?
I’m rooting for you! It is so honorable when someone reaches a place in their life and says, “That’s enough! I’m taking responsibility for my own actions and I’m going to make a change!”
You were made for so much more! You were made to fly – but you’ll never reach the clouds if you’re too busy playing in the dirt. Rise up, my friend. Fly!