“Bae, you got your first bad review!” my husband yelled from the kitchen.
My heart raced. I’d been looking forward to this.
I don’t know if I am a glutton for punishment or a sucker for conflict, but I just wanted to hear something more than positive things about the book.
I whipped out my phone and scrolled. While part of me looked forward to reading what this person had shared, the other part of me was completely terrified at what I would possibly experience as I absorbed (or attempted not to absorb) the thoughts they’d shared on my personal work. I began to read…
According to this reviewer, there wasn’t a thing in the book that they “couldn’t Google.” They explained that they were giving it two stars instead of one because there were a “couple of positive things” that they’d found interesting, but overall—to them—it was practically a waste. Ouch.
In that moment, insecure,12-year-old Kennesha rose to the surface. All the feelings of not being enough began to crowd my thoughts when just moments before I had been completely confident. Now, along with my heart, my mind raced into the deep, dark spaces of traumas and pains past—the words and actions, both spoken and unspoken. Even more, the voice of the accuser quickly became the overwhelming voice in my head, and then came the words that pierced my soul: “You are still a failure.”
It’s an interesting phenomenon. When everything feels right and good and perfect, it seems that is the time that the enemy of our souls attempts to sneak in and pull the rug out from underneath us. It seems that is the time that he will do everything in his power to steal whatever truth we are holding onto and whatever joy we may have found. That was certainly the case for me in this moment. I began to see it almost as quickly as it was happening.
But then I heard another voice: “You ain’t for everybody, and everybody ain’t for you.”
Those words seemed to slip off my grandmother’s lips so freely most days as the younger version of me struggled to navigate through life and relationships—sometimes practically begging those around me to see me, know me, and love me for me. Her words echoed in my head almost in unison with this scriptural reminder from the Holy Spirit. John 10:10 speaks of Satan’s attempt, since the beginning of time, to take things that don’t belong to him:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. (NIV)
On that day they seemed to work in tandem, both the voice of my grandmother reminding me that I’m not for everyone and the voice of God reminding me that there is an enemy who comes for only one reason, to destroy.
I began to speak truth to myself: “I am not for everyone, and neither is this book,” I whispered.
I repeated this phrase several times. Deeper breaths followed as I felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit asking me to sit in these feelings a little longer. His truths flooded in: The thief attempts to steal, but I have come to give. I have come to give.
Those words ushered in a moment of freedom for me. I recognized the conflict I felt could not be from God because it was not giving what He so graciously gives: freedom, peace, and abundance. This was indeed the thief doing what he does, and not only was he attempting to steal my moment of celebratory joy, he was attempting to reconnect me to my needs of the past. He would have it no other way than to keep me bound to the lies I believed and identified with for far too long.
Here is what I know now and will continue to fight for in truth: I am not for everyone, and neither are you. Though the voice of the accuser may swoop in and attempt to steal every ounce of calling we may have, his attempts will turn to naught. They are futile and weak when met with the truth of the voice of our Creator. This isn’t my truth alone to hold—it’s for you, too.
On that day, the Creator used the familiar voice of my grandmother to usher in His own. I know that in whatever form His voice may take, one thing will remain true: You may not be for everyone, but He is always for you.
How have you overcome the voices that attempt to overshadow the good in your life?