I remember when I was too sick, or maybe too sick of being sick, to get up off the couch. I remember my sister, the one who had not yet left for college, coming home to her sister laying on the couch…..again….and yelling at me to get up. Get up, go to school, do something. My illness had not just infiltrated my body. It had infiltrated our entire family. She wanted it, needed it, gone.
Later, in high school, I remember going to her best friends house to get ready for homecoming, my first high school dance. Though she does not remember saying it, I remember her saying that I wore too much make up. Easy to say I suppose, when you get elected prom queen in nothing but lipgloss. Later, she would ask me for make up tips, and I would be vindicated.
I remember her critiques on my outfits and my boyfriends. She was always right about the latter. Some weren’t good enough for me, some did hurt me, some were jerks.
I remember my freshman year when I did not make the musical. To my face she told me that it happened sometimes to freshman, I would just have to wait my turn. To her friends she complained that the freshman girls who did make it were not nearly as talented as her sister. I heard her. I was probably listenting in on her phone call.
Now, Jill is not so quick to criticize. She is the one who tells me “You can’t talk about my sister like that.” She is the biggest fan of this blog. She shares every post and emails some to her friends. She tells me that I write well, that sometimes, when I get it right, she can see Jesus in here. She took me to see her writer friend because she believes, more deeply than I that someone will like this enough to publish it.
I know now what I didn’t know then. That the criticism was coming from a place that screamed both “You can do better” and “You are already enough.” She was critical because she knew I was better than that. She was critical because she wasn’t going to let anyone, including myself, sell me short.
It is this relationship that reminds me, when I hear the Spirit convict me. That God is telling me to change because He loves me deeply. He wants great things for me. He will not let me sell myself short.