The Significance of a Motto
It has been two years since our world turned upside down, but for me personally, I can trace the beginnings of upheaval in my life to a couple of years before the global shutdown. It has been a seriously difficult time that has rattled me and shaken me. I’m still trying to gain my footing.
A few years ago, a close friend shared some difficult things with me that shook me to the core. It turned out that my impression of our relationship was vastly different from my friend’s perspective. We had deep held opinions that were in stark contradiction. I was confronted with my people pleasing tendencies and discovered that I couldn’t bear the loss of a friendship I counted as dear. I was devastated.
One night, I was face down on our bedroom floor sobbing when my husband pulled me off the ground and told me I needed to stop. As I look back now, I see this as one of the most loving things that someone has ever done for me. I was completely undone, but my husband would not let me stay there. He spoke truth over my hurting heart. He reminded me to look to Jesus for my security. He told me that I could still love my friend, but not allow their opinions to define me.
That night was pivotal.
I learned to hold tight to what I know to be true. I discovered that it is possible to honor others without capitulating to their criticisms. I realized that I would still be okay even if someone I loved had a poor opinion of me. I found out that I didn’t need to prove myself to anyone; I could in fact allow God to work on my behalf.
These discoveries have changed me. I still care deeply for others and I can’t help loving others with everything that is in me. But my worth is no longer hitched on the opinions of others.
For some of you this may feel like a “duh!” moment. Maybe it should have been obvious, but this took a ton of heart work and soul searching. It still does. I wrestle every single day with letting the criticisms and disappointments I have experienced from others go. But this work prepared me for what was yet to come.
Not long after this heart work began, I was confronted by another heart rending conversation. It was along the same vein, how terrible I was, how I had let others down, how everything had to be about me. But here’s the thing: I had learned that when people criticize me, it’s important to look for the truth, but not accept anything beyond that. And a big clue about truth- if you know that your motivations and intentions do not match with the other person’s perspective, but they refuse to accept that, you can let that thing go. You can still love the other person and know that they are wrong about you.
In God’s goodness, at the same time that this new relationship issue was surfacing, the old one was being resolved and reconciled in a way that only God could have orchestrated. I had not changed my opinions simply to appease and satisfy my friend and now her opinions were softening and shifting. It was a beautiful thing to sit back and watch. It gave me hope in the midst of this new truly devastating time.
When I was a young girl, my parents gave me a sign that had my name and a Bible verse on it to hang on my wall. That verse was 1 Corinthians 15:58. “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” This verse has become my life verse and now I know why. Remaining steadfast during the storms that came as a result of that friendship breach was the only way I made it through. I knew that I couldn’t convince anyone, but I also knew that I needed to hold firmly to what I believed to be true. Be steadfast! Keep being faithful! These were the words I clung to during the darkest days.
My Mom was a rock for me during that time, praying for me, crying with me, reminding me to hold firmly to Jesus. Her maiden name was “Lindsay” and our family has always been proud of our Sottish heritage. The Lindsay family motto is “Endure Fort” which means “Suffer bravely”. After the past several years of deep heartache, this motto holds even deeper meaning. My Mom was there for me through the most difficult months of my life before she went to be at home with Jesus. I was able to tell her before she passed that I believe that the Lord allowed her to stay a little bit longer on this earth because He knew that I needed her. We cried about that too. I know she counted it a privilege to be there for me. She suffered bravely and left a beautiful example for me to follow.
Life is hard. We’ve all faced that reality albeit in different ways these past few years. It’s why we need constants in our lives. The faithfulness of God. The unconditional love of a parent. A spouse who refuses to walk away in our worst moments. Friends who won’t believe lies. Bible verses to cling to. Family mottos that spur us on.
The Lindsay family history can be traced back to the 1100’s, but any family can establish a family motto at any time. I am so thankful for the significance of my family’s motto in my life.
Do you have a family motto or a life verse? How has that significantly impacted your life?
I would love to be able to tell you that there has been resolution and reconciliation in all of my relationships, but that is not true. Yet. But I believe that God can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20) and so I continue to trust Him to work in my life and in the lives of others for our good and His glory.