Thick Skin. Soft Heart.

God seems to be trying to thicken my skin and soften my heart at the same time. I don’t like it so much. But, I know I will enjoy the fruits of this work because I really don’t like it when I allow what other people say or do to me to affect my mood, or worse–my worth. The thicker our skin, the softer our heart can be. In this place, we can risk loving and suffering with others without worrying about being hurt in the process.

The other day at work, the inevitable happened–I was verbally insulted. Given the situation, the individual, their past, and the surroundings, I knew better than to take it personally. I did it anyway. Down the spiral I went, and it took way too long to brush off what I had already internalized.

Why do we constantly criticize and judge, comparing ourselves to others, then not give ourselves the chance to measure up? Why do we keep forgetting who we are and who we are allowing to speak into us? I realize some of us struggle with this more than others, but basically, no matter how tough we think we may be, some of us were just made with thinner skin.

As soon as shame entered the Garden, God knew we would need thicker skin. He killed an animal and used that skin to cover Adam and Eve, otherwise, they weren’t going to make it outside in the “real world”. Once the fruit of the forbidden tree was eaten, imperfections were discovered, and so was self-hate. We were doomed.

At work and at home, I have to remind myself who I am talking to and whose words I am allowing into my soul. I let someone’s words get to me for over twenty-four hours the other day only to discover they had nothing to do with me. Most of the time, this is the case–simply because we think about ourselves too much. That whole thing about humility as not thinking less of ourselves, but rather, thinking of ourselves less–will save us a lot of navel-gazing negativity.

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right–for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

We are told all over the Scriptures not to fear man since they cannot to do anything to us–unless we let them. That seems to be the key. If we follow Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice, sticking with what our heart knows to be true and good and right, we prepare ourselves, strengthening our stance, for a potential onslaught of criticism. This can help keep us from criticizing ourselves and protect us from the words of others.

(This is an excerpt from the blog, Mercy Overflowing. You can read the entire post here.)

by Kimi

Kimi has been a part of Safe Families for Children years serving in various roles including Host Family, Family Coach, and so much more. 


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