I haven't had a lot of experience with "mean girls." Growing up with two older brothers, I guess I just didn't understand all the catty drama that seemed to shroud girls my age. As much as possible, I shied away from girls who acted shallow and petty and I was drawn to the few who exhibited authenticity and depth. These became my tight-knit circle of trusted girlfriends and I didn't need anyone else.
But starting over in a new place has taught me a few things about the evolution of relationships. When my husband and I first moved, I quickly sought out ways to submerse myself in my community. And I quickly saw that the ease I had felt with my friends back home was something I would have to rebuild from the ground up with new people in a new place.
So I was pleasantly surprised when one girl seemed to embrace me right away. My casual invitation to "stop by anytime" was actually accepted and before I knew it, she was frequenting my house for movie nights, Bible chats, and just casual girl time. I didn't feel like we would be best friends, but I also wasn't going to write her off - who knew what The Lord could do if I stayed open to Him working in our relationship? I wanted a friend and she was as kind and giving as I could have ever hoped for.
Until the day she left me in tears. It had started as any usual visit. We traded life updates and feeling like our weeks together so far had built a mutual trust, I decided today would be my day to be truly vulnerable and share something difficult the Lord had been helping me through. She let me babble and I felt relieved to get everything out, even if she didn't seem to have much to offer in return at that moment. She seemed sidetracked, distracted by her thoughts - and soon I knew why.
About fifteen minutes later, she was gone and I stood in a puddle of confusion, my head pounding, heart aching, and my entire identity in shambles. A brief confrontation over what I had deemed a silly misunderstanding the week before had suddenly been rehashed and left me dumbfounded, apologetic, verging on defensive, and secretly wounded. Whether she intended to or not, her questions concerning my actions and character had made me feel belittled, manipulated, and even a little scolded. Her sweetly worded questions had picked apart my character while my walls began to rise and now, alone in my living room, I felt myself crumbling behind them. What had just happened? I had heard her out, stayed civil, humble even as I tried to really see if what she was saying about me was true. Somehow, I had conceded that I was in the wrong and I would try to do better next time but as fresh tears began to flow, I realized I had no idea what I had done wrong.
In reality, I was blameless and she had merely twisted the situation and crafted her words in such a way that I felt I must surely be a terrible person. Was this her intention? To this day, I have absolutely no idea. Knowing how my own insecurities can cause me to perceive attacks where none are present, I did not feel it fair to label her a clever manipulator no matter how manipulated I felt. Who was I to call someone a "mean girl" when I did not know for certain the intentions behind what she had just done? But one thing was for sure - I had some serious lessons to learn through this situation.
Lesson 1. My identity should not be shaken by the criticisms or attacks of others.
I was having a rough day to begin with. I chose to be vulnerable. And then it felt like I had that transparency thrown back in my face. I had tried to stay strong through the confrontation, but I found she had slowly chipped away my sense of security in who I was, which showed me I wasn't really very secure at all. She left with a huge smile on her face, saying she felt so much better after our discussion - but I shut the door and collapsed in tears. Later that evening, I was forced to ask myself if the person she had made me feel like was my true self. I knew it wasn't, but that knowledge was quite obviously not rooted very deep. This scared me and I knew I needed to remind myself daily of my identity as a daughter of the King so I didn't wimp out so easily under future attacks. There's nothing wrong with the occasional heart check and honest self assessment, but a foundation that cracks so easily under pressure just isn't healthy.
Lesson 2. Trust must be earned.
And even then, it can still hurt like heck when it is broken. In its healthiest form, trust is partnered with boundaries. This is where I had failed. I've always felt it was a strength of mine that I trust so easily. I always try to see the best in people and give them the benefit of the doubt. But now I had gone too far. I had forgotten that just because it was safe to wave at strangers didn't mean I should get in the car with them. My friend deserved the chance to be trusted, but I judged her readiness to protect my heart in relation to the time that had passed between us rather than the depth we had reached within that time. Looking back, we hadn't reached that place of intimacy in which you can just casually spew out all your fears and failures. In my longing for a confidant, I had promoted her to a level of trust she had not yet earned and I had set myself up for pain in the process. I won't be naive and pretend trust even in its best state is void of risk - of course, anytime we love or open our heart there is risk involved. But we can save ourselves some sorrow if we learn to respect ourselves enough to build relationships that are trustworthy havens instead of hastily constructed mud-huts.
Lesson 3. Decide when to end the battle.
If I wanted to, I could have brought the issue back up, argued my side of the story, and told her how manipulated she'd made me feel when I had done nothing wrong. Wouldn't it only be fair to her to let her know we had this barrier between us? Was it right for me to secretly have an issue with her? As I verbally processed these musings to my husband, he asked a wise question in response. "If you bring this back up, is it going to help her?" In my present pain, all I really cared about was feeling better. It seemed if she could see how much she had hurt me, I could somehow recover. Yet I knew this would either make her feel the same manipulation and blame I had felt or it would break her spirit and layer shame upon her. I wanted neither for her because beneath it all, I knew she had her own issues to sort through or she wouldn't have acted like this in the first place. I knew that I had the chance to be a powerful person and make the powerful choice to let the matter drop whether or not I had "won."
Lesson 4. Hurt people hurt people.
How many times have we heard this? If a girl wounds another girl, it's usually because she too in some way is broken. I had seen shadows of my friend's flaws before even though her genuine kindness and obvious desire to be a good person had concealed them relatively well. I still knew she had things to learn, but I also knew that pointing out her weaknesses out of my own place of pain was not a lesson I was meant to teach. If she was going to grow out of her shortcomings, it was going to be because God showed them to her and offered to replace them with His strengths - NOT because I made her feel bad about them.
Lesson 5. Keep your love on.
One of my favorite teachers, Danny Silk, uses this phrase in the context of what healthy relationship looks like. In this situation, I decided whether or not this issue would create a barrier between me and my friend. I decided if I was going to have an issue with her because of it. And I decided if I was going to alter my behavior towards her because of what she had done (intentional or not). I could feel the temptation to treat her differently even in things as petty as a smiley face in a text message. I didn't feel like smiling or being as warm around her as I used to be. She had hurt me and I wanted to recoil out of my instinct of self-preservation. No one could blame me for that. But though I may have a right to be cautious, the love of Jesus left no room for offense in my heart. I knew if I was truly going to remain powerful in this relationship, I had to set boundaries - not build walls. I had to be unoffendable. And I had to refuse to let her behavior affect my own. I had to love her no matter what and treat her as though nothing had happened, as hard as it would be to do so. Only then would my scabs heal instead of turning to scars.
I can't really label my friend a mean girl - because I know she's actually a sweet girl (I hate labels anyway). I know she has Jesus in her heart and wants to serve and love others well. But just like all of us, she had what came across as a mean moment. She became the mean girl I never saw coming, just like the mean girl I've seen in the mirror on rare occasion when I snapped at my husband, gossiped about a friend, or just got downright bitter and sassy for no good reason whatsoever. She may not have ever meant to be mean and I have to live with the fact that I just don't know what her intentions were when she confronted me that day. I may never know. But I do know who I am. I do know what real friends look like. And I do know the kind of friend I will be. I suppose, in the end, that's what really matters most.
Written by: Anna Wright
Today, I want to write from you from a perspective of what I like to call “Christian culture.” Most people like to believe that the “mean girls” are those on the outside, those who don’t call themselves Christians. However, the older I get, the biggest problem that I see is that it’s hard to tell the difference between the “mean girls” and the girls we see every single Sunday at church. Mean words and snarky gossip are covered up with, “Bless her heart.” “Did you hear what she did last Friday? We need to pray for her.” “She has really strayed away.” “I just can’t be around someone who is making those kind of life decisions.” In all reality, it’s all the same. It’s spreading the gossip, it’s anything but edifying to a fellow sister in Christ, and it breaks the very heart of our Father.
I want to tell you a personal story about what happened to me in college. I was 18, I had just rushed a sorority, I had broken up with a long-term boyfriend, and I was damaged. Rather than running to God, I ran away from him, and for a season, I forgot who I was. I attempted church, but I was not embraced. I continued down a very dark and broken path.
However, God placed two people into my life who rocked my world. Leigh Woodard was a girl in my English 101 class. We were very different. I was into the sorority, into dating fraternity guys who didn’t love the Lord, and school seemed to be the last thing on my mind, but for some reason, I was drawn to Leigh. I was drawn to her kindness, her goodness, her patience, her smile, and her genuine love. A few weeks later, I met Michelle Allen in a Brueggers Coffee Shop. Again, I was drawn to this kindness, this goodness, and this passionate love that I had only experienced within a few friends from my hometown and within the walls of my family, and of course, Leigh. It was all-consuming, and I wanted to spend more time with people who loved the way these two women loved me, who lived with zest and passion for what God desired, and who genuinely cared about every single person around them. Leigh and Michelle didn’t try to change me, they didn’t condemn me, and they never once made me feel uncomfortable. They simply loved me.
Ephesians 5:1 says, “Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children.” That’s the duty that God calls us to as women, as the church. It’s not our job to ridicule, it’s not our job to judge, and it’s not our job to decide when we have run out of love for another person. It’s our job to remember the love we have been shown by the Father, to remember the grace we have experienced, to remember the compassion we have been shown, and it’s our job to pour that out over anyone and everyone we see struggling. Throughout the Bible, we see that Jesus didn’t spend his time praising the Pharisees or exalting those who were doing good, but he spent his time coming alongside those who were struggling- the drunks, the prostitutes, the weak, the sick, the weary, and the broken- and his love healed them and gave them life. A year ago today, Leigh Woodard stood behind me as I married a man who loved the Lord passionately. She prayed over me before my wedding, and I can say with full confidence that Leigh will be praying over me for the rest of my life. Last week, I went and visited Michelle Allen who encourages me and loves me the very same way that she did the first day I met her in the Brueggers Coffee Shop. This is the heart of God, and it should be the heart of the church. My prayer is that the church and women of the Lord rise up to portray the heart of Christ, the one that loves, accepts, gives grace, and peace, rather than taking it upon themselves to judge, to ridicule, and to condemn. If even the church closes its heart to a sister in need, how can the WORLD ever see Christ?
Written by: Logan
I felt my eyes well up with tears. As I walked swiftly by the lunch table a flood of laughter echoed in my ear. I could not believe this was happening. A bunch of girls from my school had made up a lie about me and I had just heard the crazy accusations they were saying. I walked swiftly into the bathroom and locked myself in a bathroom stall and cried. The pain and the accusations they were saying were not true but more than that I could not believe some of the girls I cheered with would talk so horribly about me. This was my first experience with what we now call the Mean Girls.
Mean girls are in every school, every movie, online, and just about everywhere. As girls it is almost impossible to go through life without dealing with a situation involving a mean girl. No matter the age you become there will always be a mean girl most likely you will come across. Mean girls use words that are like knives stabbing our hearts. They try and aim for the weakest parts of ourselves just to try and get us to react and retaliate. What often times we do not realize is behind those words most of the time is insecurity that runs deep in the soul of that girl who is trying to hurt you. So how has God called you to respond to mean girls?
1. Distance Yourself from the mean girl
When a mean girl is around causing trouble. Run!!! Try and associate with other people who are not associated with the mean girl.
Proverbs 14:7 “Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.”
Proverbs states leave the presence of a fool because there we do not have words of encouragement or knowledge. This can be applied in a mean girl situation. One she is obviously not building you up and giving you words that are knowledgeable so LEAVE. Don’t put up with meanness. Stand up for yourself and leave the premises if possible. Go to a place where you cannot be around that influence. If the situation is online. Take a break from social media. Don’t be a part social media if every time you get others are commenting on your post negative. Delete your Instagram, twitter whatever the situation may be make accommodations to protect yourself from the hurt.
2. Understand it is their issue not yours.
Know that there are people in your life who love you and care for you. Know that the friends that don’t talk about you, friends that encourage you, friends that want you to succeed are the people you need to surround yourself with and listen to.
Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.”
Be around people who build you up and not down. Know that the people who are being mean to you are not sharpening you they are hurting you. Understand that the issue is them not you. Hurt people often times hurt other people because this world is sinful. So listen to what you family and friends say about not what mean girls say about you.
Don’t believe what the mean girls may say or write about you. Know that you are loved and that the issue is them and not you.
3. He call us to not speak badly about her to others
Psalms 34:13 “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.”
God commands us to watch what we say about others. Even though this girl said horrible mean things to others about you that might not be true. Do not repay her actions with doing the same thing she did to you. Stop and pray that God helps you watch how you talk about her or the situation.
In Psalm’s David cries out to God praying that he helps him watch what we say. We should make this our prayer as well.
Psalm 141:3 “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.
Pray this verse as your prayer that God guards your mouth and helps you keep watch over what you say. This can be difficult with the pain and hurt that one often feels when dealing with a mean girl. Be the example and not another mean girl. Do what is right and what God has called you to do no matter what.
4. He calls us to Forgive
Matthew 6:13-15 “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
We as girls are supposed to forgive the mean girls that hurt us. It doesn’t mean that we should just back down and take their meanness or bullying. What it means is that we have to relinquish our right to get even. We have to be willing to let go and let God handle the situation. Every time you remember the hurt you have endured, release it to God. It has to be a constant decision. It also is not going to always happen overnight. It takes time and healing. Jesus was asked at one point how often she would forgive people. He said seventy times seven, so we just have to constantly keep on forgiving.
5. He calls us to come to him with our burdens and pain from the hurt they have caused us.
We need to release our negative feelings and our hurt to the Lord. This is the best way to handle it.
1. Peter 5:7 “Cast all of your anxiety on the Lord because he cares for you.
When you surrender your hurts, anger, pain and despair to the Lord it means that you have given the total situation over the Lord. It means that is now God’s situation to handle.
Romans 12:19 “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord
He wants us to trust him to get the situation resolves. We have to trust him enough to know what is best for us. We have to let go of our pride and realize that God is always in control of the situation no matter what. So the next time you are faced with a Mean Girl remember these points and know no matter what anyone says about you that you are valuable and loved by the Creator of the Universe.
Worth More Girls,
Today I write to you with a some what broken confidence and a somewhat torn ambition. I want to pose this question to you. Who ARE YOU? This is the question that has haunted me all weekend. It started with rejection of something I had been hoping and working hard to get for quite some time. Then stumbled into the rejection. Rejection is not something that is easy for anyone to handle no matter what age or gender you are. It is difficult, but what it is even harder is the opinion of people who don’t know you or tell you can’t succeed at something. We then as humans start questioning ourselves. We question what is my purpose? Is there something wrong with me? What have I done?
Girl let me tell you who you are!
You are Valuable
Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
God loves you so much that he knows every hair on your head so just think about the amazing creature God has created you to be. He has created you to have the utmost value.
You were created with a Purpose
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
God created us to do his will. He has a purpose for everyone he created. He has gifted you with a skill set no one else has. He has given you a spirit and passion for the things you have passion for. You are his workmanship. Everything you go through God is preparing for what he has called you to do.
You are Strong and Courageous with Christ by your side
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1: 9
God has commanded us to not fear. So whatever anyone has said to you or whatever anyone has said you can not do. HAVE COURAGE!!!! God is with you! He is with you wherever you go. He has prepared you for such a time as this.
Girl I know it is easy to sit and think about what a horrible person you are. Doubt the qualities, talents and life you live. But don’t you know you are valuable, you are beautiful, you have purpose and you are a force to be reckoned with when Christ is by your side. I know it is easy to buy into the lies the devil tries to feed you. But don’t do it. Think on the truths that God’s word says about you.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.
So girls these are the truths about you. So again I pose the question Who ARE YOU? I also pose the question to myself Who am I?
Girl I want you to know you are not alone and that I pray you can learn from my hurt as I am learning from it. I pray that you will think on things that are true noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable! Go out there and shine for Jesus! Fight for yourself and the purpose God has placed upon your life. Let God’s love rule your life not the comments of spectators, friends, mean girls, teachers, coaches, anyone. Let God define you and the truths of his word! Go and be the WORTH MORE GIRL God has made you to be!!!!!!!!.