Insecurity & True Identity

I remember one time during my sophomore year in college, I was required to give a 15-minute presentation in a women’s ministry course that would account for 33% of my grade. This class had become one of my favorite classes. Something inside of me was coming alive. There was a stirring in my heart that I had never known. It was changing my life.

As much as I loved this class, I had dreaded this presentation the entire semester. The morning arrived & it was my turn to give my presentation. And right before the class started…I left. I couldn’t do it. On top of being completely afraid of public speaking, I was so insecure about presenting to these other girls who looked & acted so put together & I realized anything I would say would be criticized, judged & picked a part. I would make a fool of myself.

Well, that’s what I had told myself anyways.

Because I let insecurity paralyze me to the point that I actually skipped class, I failed the entire course. And unfortunately, this is just one of the many scenarios I could share with you where my insecurity has crept in & destroyed something that could have been wonderful.

I think we all have experienced insecurity in some shape or form. Whether we are insecure about our jobs, our marriages, our friendships or simply ourselves. We know what it’s like to feel inadequate. We know how it has prevented us from doing certain things that we long to do. Or how it keeps us from building friendships with certain people because we feel like we won’t fit in or measure up to their expectations.

Insecurities hinder us & make us feel like we’re not equipped for the task at hand. It distracts us & steals our attention to focus on what we aren’t, instead of the fullness of who we are through Christ.

But oh, dear friend, your true identity is not the image you see in the mirror & it isn’t gaged by your ability & competence to do something on your own. Oh no. It is far greater & more powerful than any of those things.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-11

When we stop focusing on who we think we are & get a good look at Who we belong to, we begin to see our true selves very differently.

It is through our weakness & inability that God demonstrates His perfect strength! Our weaknesses & insecurities are exactly what the Lord is asking for us to hand over to Him & if we do that, He will use those very insecurities & weakness to exemplify His strength & perfection!

I am a mess & in no way, am I perfect. But I can point others to the One who is! May God’s strength be seen in me. Not because of anything I am on my own, but because of who I am only through Him!

And so it was with me, brothers & sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message & my preaching were not with wise & persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5

I declare my God as faithful!

Love, Lust & Fairytales

I just saw an interview with two actors promoting a popular new tv show they’re in. I heard the name of the show before, but didn’t have any idea what it was about. The interview that followed left me…speechless. As the host started to go into detail, I couldn’t stop listening.
Has someone ever talked to you & you’re thinking to yourself, “Is this person really saying this or am I hallucinating?” Yeah… it was that kind of moment.
The host explained how in this episode, the two characters experience a powerful emotional connection with one another & find a sense of excitement in one another. They begin to find happiness in their new relationship. Oh, but one tiny detail: they’re both married to other people. Which apparently, shouldn’t stop anything, but it does “complicate” the beautiful, romantic situation. What starts as an emotional affair, quickly turns into a physical one.
R e a l l y ?
It breaks my heart that this plot is not only considered ok, but that the characters are somehow presented as admirable for not letting marriage stop them from finding new happiness with someone else. Unfortunately, this show will probably become one of the most watched this season. I have to acknowledge the fact that these shows are being created because they know what people are drawn to & what will get millions of viewers. 
Can I be totally transparent with you? For a while now, the Lord has been revealing areas of my heart that I really need to guard & treasure. I have intentionally stopped watching shows & movies that allow me to be caught up in a romantic plot. I don’t even mean plots where people are cheating on their spouses- I’ve never been a fan of those. I’ve had to be aware of even the common “chick flick”. I really haven’t shared that with too many people because I felt embarrassed to stop watching something that most people don’t give a second thought to, something considered harmless. And I almost felt alone; like something was wrong with me if I couldn’t watch a cute love story without it effecting my emotions so deeply.
Now before I go on, let me say this: every person’s heart is different. Every person has to be aware of their own weak spots in their own hearts & lives. And the Holy Spirit is so tender & loving to show each of us those areas if we listen. So please understand that I am not bashing “chick flicks” in any way & I am not saying that a romantic storyline is bad. I’m merely sharing what the Lord is teaching me about my own heart & emotions & what I now know to be aware of.
As a woman, it is very easy for me to allow my emotions & thoughts to be carried away in these romantic plots. It is easy for my heartstrings to be pulled or for my heart to flutter as I watch a love story unfold. That is how God designed us. We are definitely emotional beings. And that’s a beautiful thing. But as with every good thing, it can be manipulated or used in a way that it wasn’t designed to be.
There are 2 main things that entangle me: The first one is feeling insecure about myself. I’m not as captivating in real life as that actress is to her movie star lover. Her body, her sense of humor, her quirks, her flawless hair & face all form this unattainable, unrealistic image that I compare myself to. If I could change this or that about myself, I would be more charming, more intriguing & just…more. My second problem is that it’s very easy to begin comparing these perfectly produced Hollywood shows or movies to my own life or marriage, whether I realize it or not.
Even though men are generally more “physical beings”, it’s so easy to judge a man for physically lusting after a woman. It’s very easy to say, “that’s a sin”. But the word “lust” means so much more than simply “sexual desire”. By definition it means, “to passionately desire something”. So if I’m being honest with myself, isn’t it just as wrong for me to emotionally lust after that perfect, heart-fluttering, goose bump giving, fairytale of a relationship…even if I was created to be an “emotional being?” Just because it’s more socially acceptable to emotionally lust after somethingthan it is to physically lust after someone, doesn’t make it any more right. It doesn’t make it a harmless guilty pleasure. It doesn’t make it cleaner or less damaging to my heart.
I saw a really great quote just yesterday. It said, If your marriage doesn’t look like a Fairy Tale or Hollywood movie, just remember that most of those stories are over in two hours or less. Real love takes a lifetime commitment through paying bills, changing diapers, overcoming obstacles and never giving up on each other. That kind of marriage is better than anything Hollywood can create!” { https://www.facebook.com/strongermarriages }
As I asked God to help me guard my heart, He immediately showed me that my mind & thoughts are the doorway straight to my heart & emotions. All those verses that I have read my entire life about keeping my mind steadfast on God & meditating on things that are good, pure, holy…they suddenly started to click. If I’m focused on God’s word & loving my husband, then that is what my heart & emotions will begin to soak up.
I know this will be an ongoing process. But I’m thankful that I’m aware of it now.
So as I continue to ask the Lord to help me guard my mind, heart & emotions, I encourage you to step back & ask God if there is something you need to be aware of that is taking more of your heart than what it should be. It may have nothing to do with watching movies or shows. It could be something entirely different. But your heart is a treasure & your emotions are precious, so guard your mind because it holds the keys to both.

 
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23