I used to think bullies were those little boys in elementary school who threatened you with a knuckle sandwich if you didn’t hand over your lunch money. Or if you didn’t do their homework. Or they would trip you in the hallway just to see you fall, so they could point at you and laugh.
I was never asked or told to do anyone’s homework except my own (and I was threatened with a certain death if I didn’t do it), I was usually the one doing the tripping, or at least threatening to do it for a giggle. And I almost never ate a school lunch, so I almost never had any lunch money. I rubbed my palms together in glee that I knew nothing about being bullied on the playground. I was blissfully innocent of all things bully.
The only problem with that is: It’s simply not true.
I was bullied. And often the bullies were of my own making. They lived in my head and in my heart. They are, what some friends of mine call, the “P-Bullies”. Just what are the “P-Bullies”, I’m so glad you asked.
These bullies beat us up, take our lunch money, trip us in the hallway daily. We live our lives based on lies. And we perpetuate the lies one snide comment, one well timed stage whisper at a time.
We put more time and effort into pleasing people and caring what they think about us than what God says is true about us. We fall victim to believing our lives…every aspect of our lives…must be perfect. We are not allowed to make a mistake. Ever.
We wouldn’t dream of wearing two different patterns. No flowers with plaid. Two different colors of red? Not on your life. Speaking up in Bible study, yeah that’s not going to happen either because “what if I’m wrong?”.
We think if we just perform well enough we will succeed and no one will know our life is really in shambles. If we can keep the appearance of perfectly spinning all our plates no one will notice all the broken ones at our feet.
If we just put it off until tomorrow,or the next day, or next week, next month, next year, or until someone does it for us, we won’t have to worry about failing. We’ll just postpone our way out of life. Never risking. Never failing. But never succeeding either.
We won’t honestly answer. We will say what we think people want to hear so we please them. If we please people, they will like us. And when they like us, we feel good about ourselves. We must be worthwhile. We have some amount of value.
Instead of believing what God says. Instead of saying, “The very God who created the universe died for me. He is preparing a place for me so I can be with Him. Because He loves me. Because He thinks I was worth.” We place our value in flawed humans.
How crazy stupid is that?
I firmly believe that only when we choose to believe God’s voice, His words. Only when we value His thoughts about us MORE than we value other people’s will we really silence those pesky P-bullies.
If you find yourself being bullied by any one of the 4 bullies, (and if you claim to have no issues with any of them, I’m lovingly calling your bluff and I, might be, more than likely, most definitely calling you a liar) my friend Kathi Lipp has written a book with a new friend of mine, Cheri Gregory, entitled The Cure for the Perfect Life, 12 ways to stop trying harder and start living braver,
You need this book. Not just so Kathi can buy ramen noodles for next week, but so we can all put to death the old man completely. We can all silence all the bullies. We can stand together and say “NO MORE!” We can say, “Look, I’m not perfect. I’m flawed. And I want to hide that. But I’m done hiding. I’m choosing to live brave. I’m deciding to risk so you can know me, the real me. ”
It’s not easy. But improvement is not possible without work and risk.
Here is a excerpt of a message I sent to Kathi regarding the book:
“You’re book is making me face things I’d really rather not. I’m not sure I’m okay with that yet. I am okay though with God taking the hard parts of my heart and making them soft. I do, though, find myself running to read more so I don’t have to deal with some of my issues. Thinking “if I read more I don’t have to face that (insert whatever word like flaw or pain) now.”
(I am purposely leaving the wrong word “you’re”. Because I’m not perfect. And you can’t bully me into thinking I’m some kind of ignoramus because it should be “Your”. I know Kathi is not a book….)
This is a great book to do with a buddy, or in a small group study.
My one “issue” with the book…they talk about THL or Try Harder living. Here is what I said earlier about that:
One thing God has been pressing to the forefront of my mind this week is my “Try-Harder-Living” just won’t help to offer long term results. It is only when I “Pray-Harder-Living” and do it all by leaning into Him that I will find the bullies in my life are no longer bullying me. Because frankly, girls, I have an iron will and can by sheer determination start something, power through countless obstacles (Driver anyone?) for a time. But then I get relaxed and soon it all goes back the way it was. But with Jesus strength and His enabling, we can conquer those bullies and live a life of grace. Grace extended to myself and those around me.
I cannot on my own bring about needed long-term change. I can’t do it. I can fake it for the short-term, but then life happens, a bully comes calling and I’m right back where I was. But when I pray through all the bullies. When I pray for His eyes to see how I really am, when I choose to believe Christ in me, the bullies die.
So if you’re interested in slaying your bullies, I have a free book for you. Unfortunately I can’t give everyone who comments a book, so if you need the book, leave a comment sharing one way you plan to live braver today, and I’ll put your name in a hat and on August 15, we’ll draw a name out.
(I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.)