I am a thin-skinned person. I wish I wasn’t. I wish I was one of those people who throws off criticism without looking back, as easily as shrugging off a sweater. People like that are good leaders, and always seem to have lots of energy because they aren’t using it up worrying about some flaw or what others think of them.
But my insecurities rise up pretty quickly when I feel like someone is being critical of me. I got down on myself last week from some comments that were made by a friend, not meaning to be hurtful, but my thin skin took it that way. The next morning I woke up feeling defeated and took it to God. I have found that when I open myself up to Him, He will show up in unusual places, and He didn’t let me down. He showed up on Facebook.
I have recently been hearing about Brene’ Brown, an author and sociology professor who writes about letting go of shame and guilt, and a quote from her was on my Facebook feed as I skimmed through that morning:
Wow! This quote hit the mark that morning. I was definitely in a place where I was letting myself shrink, allowing a few remarks to make me feel that I was a failure. That’s been my pattern most of my life, and I have not known how to find that balance between humility and being “puffed up”, between feeling happy and satisfied with myself while at the same time accepting my shortcomings. I was always taught not to start feeling “too good” about myself, that I would become prideful, so I have usually gone in the other direction, the shrinking, hide your light under a bushel way, which leads to low self-confidence and fear and depression. So I needed to hear – “don’t shrink“!
“Stand your sacred ground” has been rolling around in my brain ever since. Brene’ Brown has reminded me that I am where I am because God has put me here. I am who I am because God has made me this way, thin skin and all. And He has work for me to do, no matter how small or insignificant. This symbolic piece of ground under my feet is mine, given to me by the Lord of the Universe. And He has my back. How empowering!
Stand your sacred ground. I am reminded of the wonderful passage in Ephesians 6 where Paul tells us that we are in a battle, not with “flesh and blood” but with “the spiritual forces of evil,” and that we will need all of our armor to protect ourselves. Then comes one of my favorite verses, which I like best in the New King James:
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13)
“And having done all, to stand”. Stand on your sacred ground. On those days that you just want to give up, stand. When you feel that you don’t have any strength left, stand. If it seems like everyone is against you, stand. Stand with your head held high, boldly and without fear, knowing that God is a Warrior defending you against the evil that is all around. And dig your toes deep into that sacred ground, feel its warmth and strength, and know that it will hold you up!