The Brave Decision to Stop Proving Others Wrong: Healing from the Aftermath of Bullying

By Liv Dooley

God's Brave Women - Liv's Story


I have known God to be the Greatest Encourager we will ever know. Some of the most memorable words that have sprung to my heart were placed there in the middle of the most challenging days. Phrases like “I’m proud of you” echo in my heart when I’m feeling defeated and ravaged by exhaustion, and they never fail to surprise me.


Yet, while I’m grateful for the faithful encouragement that flows through the pages of Scripture and speaks to our hearts in the middle of our greatest need, I am also incredibly thankful for the words that arrest us on the spot amid our regular routines.


 

"I’m grateful for the faithful encouragement that flows through the pages of Scripture and speaks to our hearts in the middle of our greatest need, I am also incredibly thankful for the words that arrest us on the spot amid our regular routines."

 

One winter day in 2019, I found myself running around the track at the air force base entertaining myself with future plans, when I heard something that would change my life forever.


Although it dropped into my spirit, I did not doubt that it was God. It’s always Him when it contradicts my immediate reactions and old experiences, and although this was no different, it was unexpected and more direct than I’d heard Him speak to me in a while.


“It’s time for you to get over that.”


While it wasn’t an audible voice, it was loud enough to redirect my attention. I suddenly found myself focusing more on the ability to run without tripping over my feet than I had been on my previous thoughts. I couldn’t believe God would tell me to “get over that.”


That had resulted from the years of trauma I’d suffered from being bullied in the public schools I periodically attended while growing up. But that had also been a comfort to me. That had helped me find some purpose in my day-to-day routine when life had been too hard to see anything good. And that was one of the perks of doing well when I finally enjoyed the ability to move on.


You can just sense the entitlement that had created, can’t you?


What was my that?

That was my desire to prove everyone wrong about me, and it had worked for me, or so I thought.


However, in the middle of the track, God began to speak to my heart about the healing He offers. His healing is so satisfying it doesn’t require any spectators. I was instantly reminded of those who had met the power it offered. This power removed any and every need for approval from others. It had transformed those who’d found it. God’s healing was enough.


 

"God began to speak to my heart about the healing He offers... I was instantly reminded of those who had met the power it offered. This power removed any and every need for approval from others. It had transformed those who’d found it. God’s healing was enough."

 

As I continued to run, I began to think of people in the Scriptures who had every reason to prove others wrong about them and yet, never gave in to the pressure. The apostle Paul instantly came to my mind, but so did Peter, Matthew, and Mary Magdalene. Still, the one person who stuck with me was Hannah.


Running, I began to think about her encounters with Peninnah, the other woman to whom her husband was married.


Hannah was a powerful woman of prayer whom we meet in 1 Samuel, and she’s Elkanah’s first wife. She was bullied every time she went to church by her husband’s younger wife, who he had most likely taken when he’d discovered Hannah was barren. The Word tells us that Peninnah would provoke her every time they took the annual trip to make the sacrifice, and it would hurt Hannah so badly that she would cry and refuse to eat.


What’s admirable about Hannah to me is not so much that she became a mother (though that is comforting as well), but she never let Peninnah’s accusations lead her to compromise. Instead of focusing on the one who had hurt her, she allowed it to drive her closer to the One who could heal her. Hannah is the woman I want to be like today.


 

"Instead of focusing on the one who had hurt her, she allowed it to drive her closer to the One who could heal her. Hannah is the woman I want to be like today."

 

Praying to the Father for a son, we don’t ever read that she asked God to give her a son “prove Peninnah wrong”. Instead, she asked for one whom she could dedicate back to Him. She asked for an opportunity to partner with the Lord for a purpose that was more significant than her pain. The one who’d misjudged and manipulated her emotions never even came up.


There, on that track, I was enjoying the prospect of surprising people who’d written me off or ignored me without a second glance. Today, however, I bless God that He loved me enough to tell me it was distancing myself from Him. I bless God that the Holy Spirit helped me see how many different ways I'd compromised His desire to partner with me. Obsessed with proving my worth, I'd dragged my prayers through the same dirt I wanted to rub others' faces in.


 

"I bless God that the Holy Spirit helped me see how many different ways I'd compromised His desire to partner with me. Obsessed with proving my worth, I'd dragged my prayers through the same dirt I wanted to rub others' faces in."

 

After all, isn’t there some unforgiveness found lingering in the middle of a desire to prove others wrong? We know what the Lord had to say about that. When Peter asked Jesus how many times we are to forgive others in Matthew 18:21-22, the Word says, “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’”


I’m not sure what kind of pain you’ve endured in your past, but I can tell you that when you choose to seek the fullness of the love and healing our Lord offers, He wipes away any residue that attempts to remain as well.


 

"When you choose to seek the fullness of the love and healing our Lord offers, He wipes away any residue that attempts to remain as well."

 

You are brave, whether anyone sees it or not. God has offered an invitation to enjoy healing beyond any need to get anyone back or brag about what we’ve been able to accomplish, and it is enough.


 

"You are brave, whether anyone sees it or not. God has offered an invitation to enjoy healing beyond any need to get anyone back or brag about what we’ve been able to accomplish, and it is enough."

 

He wants to see you whole, sweet Sister. His plans are better than anything we could imagine, so I dare you to trust Him. Let it go at His feet as often as you need to until you no longer notice it holding you hostage or influencing your prayers any longer. He has more available to us.


Will you pray this simple yet powerful prayer with me? It seems appropriate


Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one.

(Matthew 6:9-13)


 

Brave Woman Manifesto


Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story.

And by the way...


You are Brave!


No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means He equips you with His courage, strength, and power. I would love to connect more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my empowered email tribe.


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About Liv


There is nothing Liv Dooley loves to talk about more than the Word of God. She is a Bible teacher, author, and the podcast host of The Best Kept Secret with Liv Dooley. Liv is passionate about helping creatives become confident and communicate clearly about Christ Jesus, and she does this in a variety of ways, including the devotional she's published on YouVersion.


Liv has led a Christian nonprofit for girls and women called The Colorfully Candid Paradigm in Las Vegas for eight years. In her leisure time, you can find Liv hiking a mountain, taking a road trip with her husband, or curled up in the corner with a good book.


Connect with her blog at livdooley.com where you can take Liv's Confidence Quiz or you can follow her on Instagram @candidliv.