Welcome back for the final post of our Mean Girls series! Here’s the first installment if you’d like to catch up.
This post will focus on some practical ways to navigate the mean girls in our lives as well as some questions to ask ourselves to make sure we’re not joining them.
After you read my title, I’m going to guess you had at least 3 names pop in your head (from your past or present) of mean girls you know. Strong emotions like those only need a name and you’re back in that middle school hallway and you relive it all over again.
While that isn’t my goal here, I do want you to remember what it felt like so the coating of cynicism can thaw. The less we feel the emotions the less we are likely to care if we are causing those same feelings for someone else.
Taking the time to stop and remember… and feel… it’s painful but when you face it and ask God to use it, He may bring to mind someone whose forgiveness you need to seek. Hurt isn’t just a one way street.
Tip #1 Stop, Remember, and Feel. Then ask God to use it.
He will too. You’re made in His image. He saw what they did – and what you did too.
“Whatever I did, it was nothing compared to what she did to me.”
“God would want me to give out a little ‘just desserts’, wouldn’t He?”
“God’s all about hellfire and brimstone, right? Couldn’t He dump a little of that on her?”
“If He’s paying such close attention, why did He let her hurt me like that?”
I wish I could sit across from you as you read these words. I want so badly to see your face. Please hear these things from the depths of my heart:
He IS paying close attention and His word says that he collects every tear into a bottle. (It’s a reference to a Jewish tradition of grief.) Your hurt pains Him. He’s not blind and it’s all written down. There will be justice in His perfect time. His vengeance is perfect always best when He serves it.
But, in your pain, don’t forget, He hurts for the Mean Girls too. He knows the pain we live with here in this sinful world, and He sees what’s more going on in their hearts too.
It’s hard but so critical to remember that you’re not God in their servings of hellfire and brimstone. It’s okay to sit with the hurt but instead of balled fists of anger, open them up to Him. Give it to Him instead of burying it. Let Him decide how to bring justice.
Tip #2 Remember to hold justice and mercy together.
Hold on to your “tripe alarms”… the very best thing you can do in both your girl’s life and yours is to pray. Pray for those Mean Girls, sure, but also pray for this to deepen your walk with God.
It’s amazing to me how walking through hurt always pushes me back to a place where I need Him. As if there’s ever a moment where I don’t! My lungs won’t work without Him. Our world would literally blow apart if He didn’t hold it together. People, we need Him!
I wonder how many times He brings stuff in our lives just to remind our forgetful-selves that we can’t even have relationships without Him changing our hearts and exchanging anger for compassion. Don’t fight the work He’s doing in your heart or hers.
Tip #3 Above all else, pray. For your girl, the mean girl, your heart. You need HIM.
Remember what I said before about God not being done with my story or hers?
A few years after that hurtful day, I met her. She was watching her siblings as I was mine and at 15 years old, we knew. 25 years of friendship have passed now. We’ve never once lived in the same state but our friendship instantly picks up over quick or hours long phone calls. I cannot imagine the spice my life would lack without her. Ups and downs, hurts and joys. They remind me God’s still writing.
Over the last year (that really hard 1st year of the new school), she’s gotten to know the girl across the street. While they don’t go to the same school (how I wish they did), they are the best sister-friends I could’ve ever hoped for! They love to play and imagine together. They create worlds and occupy them with characters of their own making. They accept each other as is and don’t need to prove anything. One of them is always hauling sleepover paraphernalia across the street one way or the other – or at least begging to have one. Her friend’s mama and I both remind them when the going gets tough at school, what a great gift they have in each other!
I love that He’s never stopped writing.
Even your story.
Preventing Mean Girls:
- Do you believe the best about her? Or when someone says she said something about you, do you believe that person?
- Do you keep her confidence? Or do you share the stuff you think is no big deal?
- Do you talk about the stuff that annoys you?
- Do you own up to your junk? Or do you pretend it’s not your fault?
- Do you have her back? Or do you have your claws into her back?
Take some time and think over those questions.
Let them swirl around in your mind for a long while.
All of us have been in that Mean Girl category at some point. Let’s work on preventing them, both in us and in our girls.
I hope this series has been helpful! I’d love to hear the story God is writing in your life.