By Joan Endicott
“If you don’t want to be embarrassed, humiliated, or be ranked on a 1-10 scale, don’t ever go down the senior hall, Joan!” I remember as a freshman in high school being warned by older friends who told me about certain senior jocks who sported their lettermen’s jackets and stood along the senior hall wall making horrible, judgmental, sexist comments about any girl who walked by. I was so terrified by the thought of such humiliation I would have walked a mile around campus to avoid that experience like a plague.
We’ve probably all laughed at similar situations if they were in sitcoms like, the 1950’s-based show Happy Days, especially if it included actor Henry Winkler, playing Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli who was considered the epitome of cool. Though funny in a sitcom, being labeled in real life is not funny and can clearly cause real trauma.
Thinking about this right now may bring up difficult memories of when you felt deeply wounded after being labeled, called names, or bullied in some way. Please know, you are not alone. Frankly, I have yet to meet anyone who is exempt. Even those who have bullied were bullied.
You see, over the years before and after the days of fearing “jock judgments,” I’ve heard countless condemning voices hurling attacks and insults at me. Things like, “You’re ugly, you’re a failure, you’re stupid, you’re fat, you’re a loser, you’re selfish, unloved, unwanted, and unworthy”—just to name a few.
I’ve also been bombarded by messages like, “Who do you think you are? You can’t do that! It’s too late for you! You’re too young/old, you don’t know enough, not enough talent/gifts/abilities, you don’t have the right background/family/DNA, stop dreaming—just face it, you’ll never be enough!”
As I’ve shared with you, some of these hurtful words did come from other broken, hurting people, but over the years the majority of times I’ve felt overwhelmed by such destructive, debilitating messages, they’ve come from that insecure blonde gal looking back at me in the mirror. We may think these are coming from our own internal, insecure critic—but if it is contradicting what God says about us, isn’t it ultimately coming from the enemy of our soul—The Deceiver himself?
Where did this destructive dialogue come from?
Let’s look back at our sister Eve.
Genesis 3:1: The serpent was the craftiest of all the creatures the Lord God had made. So, the serpent came to the woman. “Really?” he asked. “None of the fruit in the garden? God says you mustn’t eat any of it?”
2-3“Of course we may eat it,” the woman told him. “It’s only the fruit from the tree at the center of the garden that we are not to eat. God says we mustn’t eat it or even touch it, or we will die.”
4“That’s a lie!” the serpent hissed. “You’ll not die! 5God knows very well that the instant you eat it you will become like him, for your eyes will be opened—you will be able to distinguish good from evil!”
6The woman was convinced… (Living Bible)
In that moment of temptation, Eve believed the serpent more than she believed God, was deceived, and sin entered the world!
WOW! Notice how the serpent plants doubt, twists God’s Word and calls God a liar? Nothing has changed! From the Garden of Eden until Jesus comes again to reign, the devil’s desire is our destruction. In John 10:10 Jesus reminds us that, “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
This is exactly why every thought we have about who God is and who He says we are should be held up to His Word to see if it’s in agreement with what our Creator says.
If the devil can make us doubt what God says about our worth and value or doubt that God loved us enough that Jesus paid the ultimate price for our life, then just like Eve, we’re deceived!
The good news of the gospel is that when Jesus Christ died for our sins, He made a way where there was no other way to have a relationship with God. He who knew no sin took on all our sin —past, present, future. He paid a debt we could never pay! Ohhh, that wonderful, marvelous, matchless grace of Jesus is greater than all our sin.
I have absolutely no idea where I would be apart from knowing Christ as my Savior and Lord. It has influenced my every decision—one of the most important being who I dated and then married on December 20, 1980. Mark’s unwavering commitment, love and faithfulness to Christ have been the spiritual compass for his commitment and faithfulness to me, our family and anything he does in life. Apart from my salvation, Mark is the greatest gift God could have given me.
I can only imagine how things might have been different without knowing God’s love and being mentored by others who love Him. I would have literally looked for love in all the wrong places and tried every possible substance to help numb heartaches and reminders of a broken, painful past.
It’s often crossed my mind that I may have been on a similar path as my sweet friend Laurie—I share her story in Chapter 1 of my first book—who ran away from home and her horribly abusive stepfather at age 15. As a frightened teen she pursued a life she could have more control over, which led her to drugs and prostitution. There is no one’s life we can look at and not compassionately say, “Except for the grace of God, that would be me.” Her soul exploded with gratitude for all Jesus had done for her when she accepted Him as Lord and Savior. I know that Laurie would want you to know the truth of what Corrie ten Boom’s sister Betsie said, “There is no pit so deep God is not deeper still.”
In this world you will be judged by others—much more harshly than any immature, insecure senior boys could. My prayer for you (and myself) is that, as we walk through the various halls of life, we focus not on the critical voices along the sidelines, rather, The One—The only One—who is qualified to judge, yet offers kindness and compassion. If my eyes are lifted up and focused on my Savior and Lord, I will not be distracted by the devil’s lies about who God is or who I am. I will not be worried about who I am, but rejoice in whose I am.
I hope you see this is not about religion, rather it is about a relationship with the One True God—the God of the Bible. The difference between being a follower of Jesus and the follower of a religion, is that those gods are all dead. But Jesus—HE’S ALIVE and He loves you just as you are, right where you are.
Friend, do you have peace with God? If you died tonight, do you know where you would spend eternity?
If not, I invite you to pray this prayer and ask Jesus to become Lord and Savior of your life: “Dear Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe You died and rose again to pay the price for my sins. I turn from my sins, and I invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In Your name, Jesus, Amen.”
Pray. Read your Bible. Go to a Jesus-loving, Bible-teaching church. Get plugged into a good Bible study—in person or online. Just as we all need good, nutritious food to be physically healthy, we need good, spiritual food to grow and be spiritually healthy.
Multi-award-winning singer/songwriter, Lanny Wolfe, wrote one of my favorite songs, Only Jesus Can Satisfy Your Soul.
The world may try to satisfy that longing in your soul. You may search the wide world o’er but you’ll be just as before. You’ll never find true satisfaction until you’ve found the Lord, for only Jesus can satisfy your soul.
Only Jesus can satisfy your soul. Yes, only He can change your heart and make you whole. He’ll give you peace you never knew, sweet joy and love and Heaven, too. For only Jesus can satisfy your soul.
Grab your FREE copy of Joan Endicott’s “I Get To!”® book at JoanEndicott.com. Joan is an Award-Winning Keynote Speaker, Author and Coach whose coaching has reached over 30 countries. Meet her and enjoy her encouraging messages on Facebook and Instagram!