I started bullying my siblings and peers when I was in seventh grade. It was that awkward time in life when we all hit puberty and those “twitterpated” feelings began surfacing. I was embarrassed that I started having crushes on the boys in my social circle because one of my closest friends would tease me about it constantly. Not wanting to be teased by my friend, and afraid that no guy would like me because I wasn’t as “perfect” as the other girls I hung around, I put on this tough girl persona. I pretended that I was confident, had it all together, and didn’t need anyone else. The fact that I grew several inches in a matter of months and had an athletic build gave me the intimidating image I wanted. I used my size and physical strength to scare people away from me. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was incredibly fearful and insecure.
I constantly tore people down and made them feel stupid -- because that’s how I felt. I was in emotional pain and wanted to put others in the same type of pain. Jealousy ravaged me and I was consumed by thoughts of “you’ll never measure up to those girls.” Although I was brought up in an amazing Christian family, I hadn’t made my faith my own. I listened to the devil’s lies that I was worthless and not valued by God because I was such a sinner. It wasn’t until I was reading through Job that I realized the truth.
“Have you ever commanded the morning to appear and caused the dawn to rise in the east? Have you made daylight spread to the ends of the earth, to bring an end to the night’s wickedness? As the light approaches, the earth takes shape like clay pressed beneath a seal; it is robed in brilliant colors. The light disturbs the wicked and stops the arm that is raised in violence.”
Who was I to question God? God had me in a specific place and time and I was fighting Him on it. I tried to be the boss of my own life and as a result, I hated myself. Wanting to come across as a girl who knew what she was doing, though, I ended up breaking the commandment in Mark 12:31 where Jesus says:“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Ever so slowly I let go of my pride, fear, and controlling nature, and handed my life over to God.
Learning to be a “nice” person hasn’t been easy by any means. It’s a constant struggle to overcome my sinful nature and fight the urges to just blurt out the first thing that comes to my mind. I’m naturally a blunt person and like to be totally honest with people, but over the years I have realized that it’s just sometimes better to keep my mouth shut when my opinion really isn’t needed. Smiling is another thing I’ve had to work on. Because I was so angry with myself for so long, I rarely smiled. I truly believe God created us to smile and laugh more than frown and mourn. Thinking of all the wonderful things I am thankful for puts a smile on my face because I know that God is working in my life, though I may not see it at that time.
If you are reading this and you’re someone who struggles with insecurity about your identity, abilities, or God’s existence, let me tell you that there is hope in Christ and only in Him. The devil lies to us and uses whatever he can to drag us further from a solid relationship with Christ. Making us feel inferior to those around us is actually a really clever tool the devil utilizes to turn us against God. When I felt that I didn’t measure up to those in my social circle I became angry with God because I was afraid I would never fit in. But when we stop to think about it, what exactly is “fitting in”? As believers in the one true God, why should we want to fit in and belong in a world that walks the wide, destructive path? I have tasted and seen what this world has to offer and while it is pleasing to the eye, it left me empty. That emptiness led me to bullying people because I felt insecure about who I was and tried to rely on myself for strength. It took me years to realize that I needed to give up the fruitless fight of controlling my own life. When we take our anger and frustrations out on those around us we are actually making ourselves appear incredibly weak because it is clear that we lack self-control and are insecure about something. Take your problems to God, cry out to Him, and lean on Him for your everything. Yes, everything. He doesn’t promise to give us all the answers, after all, there is no explanation as to why He allowed the devil to rip apart Job’s life. I believe, however, that God allowed the devil to torment Job so that Job could be an example of someone who stood strong in the trials and leaned on Him for everything. I am still growing in my faith and sometimes I relapse into my old ways, but I know I can trust Him because Job 40:1-2 states: “Then the Lord said to Job, ‘Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?’”