You Are Making People. Don't Break Them.

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I am an extremely self-conscious person.  I'm terrified of not being talented enough.  I am most of the time certain that I am the least talented person in a room.  I have very little confidence.

And lately I've begun to wonder, "Why?".

To the outside world I appear to be an extroverted and fairly confident person.  Someone who doesn't mind attention and can't stop herself from being the Chandler in every crowd.  But it's a smoke screen.   On the inside, my insecurities eat away at my soul like cancer.   I am certain that I'm just a street rat and that everyone else is better.  For example, I think I could have been someone who sings for the Lord and blesses others through it.  He gave me some small amount of talent in this area.  But I've spent 3 decades too afraid to develop that raw ability.  My voice goes unused, unrefined, untrained.  Hidden in secret.  When I admitted this to someone recently who does have the courage to get on a stage they said, "Really?  I would have pegged you for a performer."  And I wondered anew, what gives this person who has a similar personality, similar sense of humor, similar talent, and similar passion the confidence when I am lacking it so?

With much prayer and meditation and seeking and begging for the boldness and humbleness that can only come from God I've realized the biggest culprit for my un-confident conundrum.  The difference between the "Me's" and the "Them's".

The most talented and confident people I know came from loving Christian homes.  And I didn't.  As a young person, I was told predominantly negative things about myself.

I am a Colossians 3:21 child

  "Fathers, do not provoke or irritate or fret your children [do not be hard on them or harass them], lest they become discouraged and sullen and morose and feel inferior and frustrated". [Do not break their spirit.] - The Amplified Bible

First know this, I am not trying to cop-out.  I am not trying to blame my childhood for all of my problems and mistakes or asserting to be helpless to change them.  But the cold hard truth is that we as parents are making people.  Yes, we physically make them, that part is obvious.  But then in the two decades that follow we emotionally and spiritually mold them into who they will be, for good or for worse.  And it is very hard to break the mold you were set in.

 I am still unraveling the skein of my soul that was tangled in childhood, one step in faith at a time.

And it is a sober warning to me as a parent to seek God so fully that it has no choice but to spill over into my parenting.

Build your children up.  Hug them. Encourage them.  Speak the truth in love to them.  Tell them they are good and talented and worthy.  Tell them God has created them with a purpose and with abilities to grow for his Kingdom.

Make people that can bring glory to God without an over-abundance of emotional hurdles to jump first.

I know we live in a broken world and we are all broken to some degree or another.  But let us attempt to love God so fully that we build children with as few cracks in their foundations as possible.  For their benefit, and for His.

Jessica Bowman

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