Sticks and Stones

Read Psalm 139:13–18

The psalmist David praises God for forming him in his mother’s womb and recording all the details of his life and person before he was born.

You can allow the names you call yourself to define you. You can let the labels that others give you define you. After all, from the time you’re born, and then throughout life, you’re put in a box. You’re defined by your family of origin, address, education, experience, bank account, credit rating, employer, friends, race, and ethnicity. You’re called one thing after another: poor, spoiled, uneducated, inexperienced, young, old, troublemaker, shy. You can allow those words and labels to limit you. A teacher, parent, colleague, or ex can call you loser, fat, ugly, and hopeless—and those labels can stick, can hurt, and can damage you because you start to believe them.

Remember that old saying, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me”? That thought may help you keep a resilient will, but it’s not true about the heart. You can be hurt plenty by labels like stupid, ignorant, alcoholic, addict, criminal, weak, pitiful. Names like these can break your spirit as much as physical sticks and stones can whack your body—especially if you believe them and begin to use them on yourself. You can be brought to your knees, stopped in life before you even get started. Even when those names reveal something true about you, they are at best a partial truth—as well as a misleading one. If you allow those labels to loom larger in your heart and mind than the promises of God, they can fool you into missing God’s truth about who you are, into not pursuing the purpose God has had in mind for you from the beginning of time.

Your head can insist that God created you and loves you, but your heart and emotions may keep punching away at that knowledge with thoughts like, What’s wrong with me? I never seem to do anything right! The blows can give you an overwhelming sense of worthlessness and rejection, because that is what untruth about yourself does. It beats you down and knocks you out.

When there is a fight between my heart and my head, experience has taught me that the best thing to do is pick up my Bible and remind myself of what God says.

Point to Ponder

Would you like to know real peace? Then refuse to dwell on circumstances that will change and fade. Instead, return to the truth of God’s Word that will last forever. It is this truth that will enable you to go into the future undaunted.

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