***WARNING: The following post contains words that may be offensive to some. I do not use them for shock value, but these words are included because they cannot be ignored. My apologies if I do offend you.***
Hate. So much hate. So much venom spewed at one another.
It doesn’t matter how many times we tell ourselves that words will never hurt me. They may not break bones, but they shatter souls.
I’ve been called many of those words, and much worse.
I have a confession – something I’ve not told anyone, ever. Even now I wonder if I should, because I don’t want to sensationalize this post – or make things seem that I know exactly how someone feels in their situation.
Growing up, I was bullied. I was always on the small side – I didn’t weigh more than 100 pounds until halfway through my sophomore year in high school. That seemed to make a great target for the jocks and a group of guys we called “burlies” – manly men among boys.
I had thought about suicide (I mentioned that before on this blog), even attempted it, but that’s not my confession.
In my freshman year of high school, I had a plan. My dad had some shotguns and rifles, and I had easy access to them. My school was on a hill, and I knew the perfect spot. I’d wait, draw them all out, and make them pay.
This was at a time where mass shootings weren’t in the news – what seems every other day now. We had bomb threats now and then at the school, but nothing really shook us in the way that terror has gripped our children today.
Obviously, I never followed through with it. Never wrote things down, never made my plans known to anyone. I would like to say that Jesus got a hold of me and that’s what changed my mind. It would be another six years before I gave my life to Jesus. No, it was simple fear on my part. What would it do to my dad, my sister, my grandma?
I look back now and I find it amazing that I had those thoughts – thoughts of my family – that kept me from making a choice that I could not undo, and that would destroy so many lives. I thank God that I didn’t go with it.
Why am I telling you this?
Because someone, somewhere, is thinking the same things. Either to make the bullies pay, to ease their very real, very deep pain, or to end it all alone.
And if you are that person, I want you to know – to really know and to get this deep into your heart and soul – this will not last. The bullying. It won’t be forever.
It’s hard to see right now. It’s relentless, and it’s consuming. It steals all the joy and beauty of life – it steals your breath. Some days, you just can’t. Can’t stop the vice that crushes you. Can’t stop the screaming voices in your head.
But they’re right, you say:
Those are lies. Everyone of them.
I know, because I once believed them.
And I believed them even after the bullying stopped. Even during my last two years in high school where people actually started becoming my friend. Even after people started to tell me that I was smart, girls thought I was attractive…even after I left home to make my mark on the world.
I still believed those lies that had carved themselves deep into my heart and my mind and my soul.
But, then I met Jesus. And he told me the truth – the truth that was always there, but I couldn’t hear it.
I am loved.
I am worth it.
He created me in His image.
Hand crafted by the ultimate craftsman.
I had value because He said I had value.
And I’ve always had that value – just like every single one of us.
Just like You.
The bullying will stop. The screaming voices of hate will be silenced. Don’t give up. Don’t let them win. Those who label you with hate. Those who try to take away your worth.
They can’t take it away. THEY CAN’T TAKE YOUR VALUE AWAY!
Because it was never theirs to give.
The ultimate authority – the one who alone has the power over life – here and after – has said that you are worth it.
You are uniquely and wonderfully made.
You Are Worth It.
Repeat that. Tell yourself over and over and over until it drowns out those screams of hate.
Say it out loud.
I AM WORTH IT!
That is truth. That’s the only truth you need to know right now.
After that, the rest of the truth will make Himself known.
I do apologize if my use of the words above has offended anyone. I could not see how to write this post without using them. They are offensive. They should make us all uncomfortable. They should make us angry.
And they should make us do something about it.
I know there are a lot of people out there who say that kids are too soft today. That instead of focusing on ending bullying, we should just toughen our kids and help them to stand on their own two feet. I think those that say these things are misguided, and honestly are out of touch with what’s really happening. They may have experienced some bullying from time to time, but not the relentless terror that kids face today. They can’t escape it, and many can’t see the help that might be available to them. Some might not have help available, because their suffering goes unnoticed. That is not to blame anyone, it’s hard to see someone’s suffering most times. Those who suffer are great at hiding it.
But, there are signs. I don’t have the answers, I don’t know if anyone really does, but I just ask that you become aware of the people around you. If we take it in our hands to make sure the people around us know that they are worth it, that they are loved – and if we make the effort to drown out the hate with words of encouragement and love – I think we can make a difference.
And yes, I actually do believe every single one of us is worth it. It’s not just something to write in a blog.
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