Recently I’ve been praying for my son Matthew. He has been going through a phase and I have been trying to get to the heart of it. This son of mine is growing up with a distinct personality. He is an artist and very particular about everything. His pet peeve is being in contact with other people’s saliva. So he wont share his personal consumption with anyone whether it’s a in a cup or in a plate. He also wants his toys and things in a certain way that’s why he doesn’t want people touching it or moving it around. But at the moment, he is dealing with this because he has 2 younger toddler brothers that would like to play with his toys as well. Among many things, there is one more thing he is extremely particular about that would be WORDS OF APPRECIATION AND ACCEPTANCE.
I never realized how words really damage a person until I started seeing this with my son. My love language is service, so words are not as important to me. I would shrug negative words easily because I don’t really get bothered with what people say. But this is not the same for my son. Words are very big deal for him. In fact, this just started magnifying just this year. All this time, I never realized how sensitive my son is to words that do not build him up and what makes it even worst, is finding out that he chooses to dwell and contain these negative words in his heart. He hounds himself and drills himself and it drains his spirit.
For instance, my son opened up to me that some people would say that “he is too thin” then he keeps telling me “I need to be fat, mom”. I know, this is quite a funny problem for a 9 year old kid. In fact, to many people it is not an issue at all. But for months it has been bothering my son because he wants to feel ACCEPTED. He tries to eat a lot but of course he does not see the results. This is breaking my heart because I am hearing him and I am looking at him and he is beautiful the way he is. I told him one day, “You know son, you do not need to be fat because God designed your body that way. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, so keep it healthy. Some people are dealing with their fat that they have to lose the weight before they can even build their muscles. With you, you can start working on your muscles and build up and shape up.” I try my very best to build him up as much as I can. But I can’t protect him from the words that other people my throw at him when I am not with him. On an everyday basis someone may casually say something negative and he absorbs it and it breaks him.
A few days ago I sat him down again because he heard something again and he felt rejected. He shared with me “I could hear people talk behind my back, saying that I don’t look good or why I was wearing slippers in this party.” Now, if you have met my son, he really wants to grow his hair long. I have tried many times to convince him to cut his hair. So it is in an awkward stage. But hair to me is not a big deal since I am still more concerned with what is in his heart. He also favors wearing slippers as his everyday wear even if I buy him so many shoes. He always resorts to slipper as his favorite footwear. So with what he shared with me I try to counsel him by correcting his thinking about opinions of other people. Their opinion really wont count if it wont help him become a better person.
I told him “Honey you made a choice. You chose not to cut your hair because you want it to grow long. You made it a personal choice to wear slippers instead of shoes to a certain event – then it should not bother what other people say. You chose this path – so make a stand and own it and love where you are at.“
I am just so glad that I have the privilege to be with my son all the time so this allows me access to his thought life and ultimately his world. We currently have long discussions on dealing with words, identity, approval of men and forgiveness.
First the words:
My new mantra to him is: No one can make you angry or cry unless you allowed and gave these people permission to do so. No one can make you feel bad about something unless you gave in to them. In short the message here is: Don’t Let them. Don’t let them ruin you. Don’t let them mold you into their own thinking. Don’t let them say who you are because you know who you are. Don’t let their words determine your worth.
These words don’t have any power on you unless you give them life. So choose the words that you will receive and give life to. Negative words should be buried in the ground and positive words should be planted in the heart.
Your Identity & Approval of Men
Your identity is most important. To my son, you are a child of God. You are unique and special. I thank God everyday that he made you my son. There is none like you and you are loved. No matter what the circumstances you go to no one can take this fact away from you or change that. The reality is that the God who made the universe knows everything about you is also the same God who made you. He has blessed you with your family, looks, talent and treasures. You don’t need to please many people because you cant. But you can focus on just choosing to please God. Your identity in Christ roots you and will determine your worth. When we please God we will surely not be disappointed. With men, there will always be something wrong, something missing, some things that are not enough.
Its so easy to be hurt especially when you feel people misunderstand you and bully you with their words. But when we harbor it in our heart, we become a prisoner of these negative words. My son has the tendency to hold all the bad memories of people who spoke unkind words to him or laughed at him when he had his misfortunes like falling off a chair or tripping in a muddy place. Every time he brings up something in the past, I once again sit him down and remind him that the only way to be set free is to start forgiving people who have hurt him. I always remind him what Jesus did on the cross for all of us sinners. We have in on way or another, betrayed, mocked, hurt and even abandoned our Creator and despite all of that, he loves us so much that he chooses to die for us. His death became the price He paid for the penalty of our sin. He did it so that we can restore relationship with God. This is mind blowing! If Jesus did this, all the more we can forgive others. My son knows that the real battle is putting down his pride to forgive people even if they don’t deserve it or makes sense. This is still work in progress. There is so much hurt and anger and I just want him to embrace the Love of our Heavenly Father.
Lastly, to my dear Matthew… Just remember that God sees you for who you are. That’s the most important thing. Instead of receiving all this negative words, you instead focus of becoming a channel of blessing by giving words of encouragement to other especially to those that criticize you. Use the Power of the Living Word to be your anchor and your source of strength. Bless them and see that you can be an overcomer and be blessed in return. I love you son.