Monday, October 7, 2013

Lies the Enemy Tells Me - # 2: 'You are Flawed'

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

This one may come across differently than I mean it to; I don't mean to imply that it is a lie that I am not perfect.

Of course I'm not perfect.  But this lie goes a lot deeper than that.

The implication here is that I have something wrong with my character that makes me less valuable as a person.

This is a lie that started in elementary school.  Of course, then that lie was worded as 'You have cooties'....

Who knows how the social order is established in a classroom...but in my little rural school, with about twelve classmates, I quickly became one of those on the bottom rung.  Was it because I had not interacted with kids in classroom settings much?  No kindergarten, very little Sunday first real exposure to my peers was first grade.  I didn't know how to behave in a classroom setting...I'd never had to sit still and be quiet much at all.  I talked all the time.  I spent a lot of time in 'time out' ...sitting in a chair in the hallway outside the door (One of my older cousins started the rumor in the family that he saw me with my leg tied to the chair, but that never happened.  I don't know if he assumed that I was tied to the chair or if he saw something that made him think that or if he was just being ornery).  I remember the teacher actually taping my mouth shut with Scotch tape once...but I felt so silly that I giggled it off.

It is a fact that she retired after teaching that year.

It may have been because I was a huge story teller.  I made up crazy stories and tried to pass them off as truth.  I don't know attempt to earn favor, somehow, maybe, but that sure backfired.  It really didn't stop until I was nearly in middle school and got called out by someone whose good opinion mattered to me.  The disgust in his voice at my story telling was the revelation that I needed in order to get a clue about being truthful.  I honestly don't recall that I ever did that again after that point...but the damage was done.

There were probably other social gaffes in my behavior that I did not recognize then or now.  But by the time I was in 3rd grade it was pretty clear that I was not on the same level as the others.

One incident in particular stands out from third grade...we had typical mid-1960's playground equipment; stuff that would be considered too dangerous for a schoolyard now.  Swings and monkey bars and teeter totters and a merry go round and a maypole type thing from which you could hang by your hands and swing round and round, feet off the ground.  I remember one recess, playing on the maypole by myself, when I noticed that my fellow 3rd graders were all on the merry go round, pushing it and pumping the bars to make it go pretty fast.  It looked like fun, so I went over and got on.

Every one of the other kids got off.  Immediately.  Then, they began to complain that I was contaminating the merry go round and I needed to get off so they could get on again.  Of course, it wasn't much fun to make it go 'round by myself, so I pretty quickly got off and went back to the maypole.

The others had the merry go round going at full speed in short order, and I went over again and tried to get on.  Once more they all got off and began to tell me to get off so they could get back on.  The merry go round slowed down to a crawl again, and I got off and went back to the maypole.

This incredible scenario repeated itself a third time, but after I got off the third time the first grade teacher, who had playground duty that day, went over to the merry go round and made all the third graders get off.  I don't know what she told them but those kids came over to me on the maypole and yelled at me for getting them into trouble.

'Peer rejection', the psychologists call it.

It changed shape a bit over the remainder of my school years, but it never went away.

And I swallowed the lie that there was something wrong with me, something bound up in my character that kept me from being likeable, respectable, credible.  Something that made me believe I was in the way, annoying, a bother.

And it got in deep.  So deep that it still, to this day, influences my behavior and my expectations.  It keeps me from offering ideas and suggestions.  Not always, but in places where I am not absolutely sure of my reception.  I rather sub-consciously expect to be dismissed, overlooked, not taken seriously.

But it still hurts when it happens.

This may be the most difficult lie to disengage...because rejection in one way or another is a common human experience.  There is nothing that is unusual or remarkable about it; it doesn't happen in my life any more than it happens in any other, even though that while I typed those words, the enemy threw up recent rejections, recent examples of not being taken seriously, recent scathing and belittling comments from those who are close to me to try and prove that  my statement was wrong.  

See how hard he resists the truth?

If you, like me, struggle with a vague undefined feeling that somehow you are not quite up to the standard of those around you, that you have been assessed by those whose opinions somehow matter and found wanting, here is what is true:

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Eph.2:10)

If God created us, for specific tasks that He has already prepared for us, how can we believe that we are flawed to the point of being useless and ineffective?

I am not flawed...I am God's own creation, and I have things to accomplish for Him.

No comments:

Post a Comment