What to do when rumours run wild

[I wrote this post for Joy Of It, where it’ll be published next week.]

If you’ve spent even five minutes in the last 24 hours wondering (= mildly obsessing over) what a particular someone thought about what you said or did or wrote – this is for you.

Paul says we shouldn’t let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths – only what’s helpful for building others up.

But what comes out of our mouths starts in our heads, which is why Paul also says we should take every thought captive.

So, two questions I’m asking myself:

1   What rumours am I spreading in my head?

Don’t believe everything you think.

When I find myself getting critical of others, I know it has more to do with what lies I’ve told myself, about me.

Because we talk ugly about others when we feel ugly about us. We undermine others when we’re insecure or jealous or we’ve forgotten that God is holding us in the palm of His hand.

You can’t control the stories other people tell. You can control the stories you tell yourself.

Start. Today.

Tell yourself the true stories God tells about you. Like, how He delights in you, loves you, calms your fears, and sings over your life. Tell yourself that you can hide in the shadow of His wings and He’ll fulfil His purposes for you.

When I start rumour-mongering to me-myself-and-I inside my own head, I’m trying to get into the habit of responding with,

Really? Is that *really* true about you? Or are you making that up now?

freedom hike

2   Which rumours are real?

What other people think of you is none of your business.

Their private thoughts about you are just that: private. Don’t waste time and emotional energy fretting. They may think even less of you than you imagine, in which case it’s best not to know. They may not – they probably are not – thinking about you at all. They probably, really, don’t have time.

People’s abrupt responses or lack of interest is, mostly, because they’re swathed in stress of their own. There’s just not a lot of emotional capacity going around these days. It’s hard for people to stop and show you that they care.

But revolutions always start with a small bunch of crazies like us, right? People who think it’s possible to break the cycle of disinterest that will have us really smiling into each other’s eyes again.

I think it’s worth a shot.

So, remind yourself that the people you’re trying to impress aren’t watching anyway. Make right with people you know you’ve wronged. Then speak truth, live in the light, trust God to protect your reputation. And smile.

And where there really have been rumours and you’ve got painful history with people, ask Jesus to work His wonders in dead-end relationships.

Pray for those who’ve hurt you – which hurts like hell at first.

But it’s a bit like hiking with blisters. You put your boots on and you think you’ll never move again. You hobble for a mile or two. Then you walk those blisters in and it gets easier and you somehow absorb the pain and start noticing the beauty again and you realize –

The rumours aren’t running anymore, but you are.


. . .

Have a fantastic weekend, beautiful people!

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