I love people. Love them. Depending on my social awkwardness I’m the person striking up a conversation with complete strangers. Grocery store lines, galas, waiting rooms, the pharmacy—basically anywhere there are people I’m all ears.
I even went into a career in public service where my job required me to meet strangers all day long, interacting with each and every one of them to write stories.
How I loved humanity!
And then came the day someone assassinated my character.
Driving home from Omaha with my husband my phone chirped once and I ignored it. But then it chirped again and again.
Curious, I checked to see what was blowing up my phone. Three different friends, three separate messages saying, “I was told by such and such….” or “Today in a meeting I heard ….”
Unsure of how to respond, I sat in disbelief as I continued to receive a flood of text messages, emails and phone calls. I was the source of gossip that had spread like wildfire. It felt as if this source had set my soul ablaze and scorched my heart. Oh how I wanted justice. I wanted to tell my side of the story. I wanted to set people straight.
I was a mess of tears when my husband looked over at me and said, “You have the power to rise above it and let your reputation do the talking or let this poison you.”
That moment happened several months ago and the parts of me that loved people are still tender, raw and fresh as if the attempted assassination had just happened but so are my husband’s words. Apparently pivotal moments will do that to you.
Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. ~Abraham Lincoln
We’ve all been there—that moment when someone makes us feel small and murders our character. Chances are you’ve suffered from gossip too; whether you made a poor choice or were in the wrong place at the wrong time. But you have the power to change how you handle it from here. That night when I was riding home with my husband, my thoughts focused on the word power.
The key word is power. You are a strong woman with God as your defender. You have the power to do hard things.
You have the power of resting your reputation in God’s hands.
You have the power to speak wisdom.
You have the power to move forward.
You have the power to choose compassion over judgement.
How Bold Women Handle Gossip
Remember your life tells a story
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel. (Philippians 1:27)
When someone attacks your character, go on the defense by NOT fighting back their way. Fighting back fuels the fire and shadows your character, it’s like bringing your fists to a pistol war. Instead maintain your integrity and remember who’s ultimately writing your story. It’s not you or another human being, it’s God. Stand firm in him and with your tribe of sisters.
Fight for each day as if it’s your last
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of eternal life to which you were called and about which you have made a good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1st Timothy 12).
Fight to live each day as if it’s your last. There will be moments when people will fight down and dirty and your God knows this. But keep in mind, just when you think you can’t fight one more round, he’s there in your corner coaching you, telling you to hold on to the life he’s called you to–here and in eternity.
Surround yourself with other powerful women
Proverbs 13:20 tells us that “whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
Y’all, I have a tribe.
They’ve let me fall to pieces and they’ve laid me at Jesus’ feet. What I love most about them is how they continue to keep my feet on solid ground and my vision locked on who God has created me to be. It’s so easy to get blindsided with feelings of hurt, anger, bitterness, and pride. Surround yourself with women who are willing to sharpen you and build you up.