“Not everyone likes to hear you talk as much as you do, Mom!”
As my daughter left the room, I felt her words pierce my heart. After a good cry, I went to talk the the Lord about it. I found out that He agreed with her. Granted, He said it in a much gentler fashion, but I hadn’t listened to Him, until my daughter managed to say it first.
Your children, especially in their teen years, are your soul’s best mirror. If you really want to see how others see you, ask them. Because, at some point or another, they are going to tell you just what they think about you.
I’m not saying that every word is truth or that teenaged attitudes should be given carte blanche.
Yet as you filter their words through the screen of His Word, you may find a few kernels of truth worth noting.
Adolescent hormones and puberty are the gravel through which you sift to find the nuggets of gold. Your children are selected especially for you. Part of that purpose includes seeing yourself through a candid set of eyes.
God has given us spiritual reflectors all around us:
In our parents
In our husbands
In our children
In our mentees
In our bosses
In our co-workers
Like living in a house of mirrors, every corner offers us a self-reflection in the eyes of our family. Our trouble is that we often don’t want to see our true image. Seventeenth century French Christian Francois Fenelon says, “The pain you feel at your own imperfection is worse than the faults themselves. Your problem really is that you become so irritated by seeing your faults.”
Are you willing to see yourself as God sees you? Then pick up the separating screen and begin sorting through words of Truth you hear and words of emotion:
I’m sure you have so many more practical insights.
How has seeing your reflection in the eyes of another made you better?
“It’s Candida overgrowth,” she said solemnly.
I looked at Cindy without comprehension. I’d known her for over twenty years, but I had no clue what she had just said.
Evidently aware of my blank state, Cindy continued.
“So many of my health problems can be traced to it: the constant diarrhea, the continual yeast infections, the abdominal pain. Basically, all of us have yeast in our digestive system. Mine has mutated and formed little fingers which have attached themselves to the walls of my intestines. After a while, the fingers poked holes in my gastrointestinal tract, which have allowed undigested food and other particles to escape out directly into the rest of my body.”
“Well gross!” I exclaimed, without even trying to sound intelligent. “How did this happen?”
“Seems that lots of things act together to trigger the overproduction of this otherwise healthy yeast,” Cindy explained. “Natural body temperature and a neutral or slightly alkaline pH are two of the common ones. But one of the biggies for me was my addiction to sugar and carbs. I have been actually feeding it and encouraging it to grow.”
As she explained her need for a radical diet change, antifungals and probiotics, I realized she was talking of a huge lifestyle shift. We ended our visit in prayer, but I returned home thinking about how invasive something had become which naturally occurred in her body.
Hurt is the yeast in our relationships, isn’t it? If we are to associate with others, pain will eventually occur. Relationships are dependent on words but these are often said without thinking or with too much emotion. Pain is inevitable.
Ecclesiastes 7:21 warns us of this very fact. “Do not take seriously all words which are spoken, lest you hear your servant cursing you. For you also have realized that you likewise have many times cursed others.”
Unfortunately, we seldom take this advice.
When we are hurt, we often bear a grudge. Harboring these hard feelings actually feeds the natural yeast of relational pain. Soon they mutate into resentment, anger and unforgiveness. Finally, the “root of bitterness” fingers out in such a way that we aren’t the only ones that get hurt (Hebrews 12:15). Other parts of the body of Christ are pierced through as well.
Since praying for Cindy’s Candida journey, I’ve found myself challenged as well. In order to truly receive and live in the Holy Spirit, I must send away the hurts that come my way rather than holding on to them.
Listen to John 20:22-23: “(Jesus) breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive (Greek: to send away) the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven (sent away from) them; if you retain (Greek: to get possession of) the sins of any, they have been retained (taken possession of).’”
The Message says it this way: “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?”
Could it be that when I do not forgive, I am actually feeding the hurt so that it can take possession of my own thoughts and heart? Oh, how we need a radical lifestyle change to guard from this mutant killer.
As Cindy and I dialoged over the similarities between Candida and unforgiveness, she reminded me of a Beth Moore quote, “Bitterness is a spiritual cancer, a rapidly growing malignancy that can consume your life.”
Cindy went on to say, “So often, it seems like the bitter person doesn’t even know they are bitter, because it slowly grows as it was fed over the years. Candida is the same way. It destroys a person from the inside out and usually takes years of feeding it what it wants. To get rid of both of them, it takes a lot of determination to do what must be done. Bitterness must be gone before healing can take place.”
Choose with Cindy and I today not to be provoked. Let’s make this our daily decision. After all, that is the true essence of a healthy body of love (1 Corinthians 13:5).