How can I speak with such authority on this topic? Sadly, I am an expert. I have lived nearly my entire life, drowning in my own self-doubt, worry, paranoia, and the desire to be liked - no - loved. By everyone. I have allowed preconceived notions to get in the way of building relationships and hinder those that were already established. If someone looked at me funny or didn't respond to something I said or did in the right fashion or if I thought someone didn't like me or thought ill of me in any way, it rendered me utterly useless until I was sure something was not amiss. If perhaps someone didn't return a call or a text or, heaven forbid, use emoticons so that I could understand their "tone" I would worry and fret. It would keep me awake at night or cause me to slack in my daily duties of being a mom and teacher to my kiddos, and wife to my husband. I am not exaggerating, though I wish I were. It got so bad that everything became about me and how I perceived the world around me. And these perceptions were not often not even real, mind you. I smiled and laughed on the outside but inside I was a mess. A self-absorbed wreck, convinced that nobody really thought I was special and those who said I was were probably just saying that to be nice. Decisions I made, words I said, were all based on big fat, "what ifs" of which 99.9% have NEVER occurred. My world became all about ME and what others thought about ME.
The enemy can certainly feed our desire to be seen as good and wonderful. This can be dangerous because the bible tells us that the heart of man is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9) and that there are none who are righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10) On our own, we are wretched. It is only by the blood of Christ that we are made clean, righteous, holy, and redeemed. So you see, the problem in placing our hope in others opinions and perceptions of us instead of in Christ, is destructive and leaves us weary and worn. This makes the enemy simply giddy because we have played right into his hands. I know the strain of living for myself and for everyone else but Jesus and it was utterly exhausting and devastating to live that way. There are three things I have learned through my battle with insecurity (pride):
1. Insecurity hinders relationship with the Savior. When I am so focused inwardly I often neglect my daily time with the Lord and as a result I feel very distant from Him and spiritually dry.
2. Insecurity hinders relationships with others. There were cases in which I became so focused on friendships that I wished would develop, that I missed out on relationships with really great people right in front of me. There were also instances where a relationship was just fine, but, because I perceived there to be a problem I brought an awkwardness to the table that didn't need to be there.
3. Insecurity hinders us from doing what God has called us to do. In my experience, I allowed my insecurities and pride issues to cripple me. I was going through the motions of my Christian walk but I was not very effective and I had very little joy. Even my daily
responsibilities were shirked because my sin ran so deep.
It would be a lie to say that this is no longer a battle for me at all. However, it is getting easier to recognize when I start heading toward my old unhealthy way of thinking and to stop the lies before they take root. This is by no means a complete list, but these are a few of the main things that have helped and are helping me overcome the sin of insecurity.
1. I must remember that my hope is in Christ alone. He is the only
one who will never leave or forsake me. He is my defender. My shield. Perfect and holy, I can trust Christ with my whole heart. People will always fail us. (Psalm 118:8, 146:3, Isaiah 2:22)
2. I must take every thought captive (2 Corinthian 10:5) and choose to think on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).
3. I MUST memorize and be able to use scripture to head off the lies of the enemy. This is scriptural and is modeled for us in when Jesus is tempted by Satan in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Every time Satan tempted Jesus, Jesus was able to combat it with scripture. By memorizing truths from God's word, we have power to stop lies in their tracks. When we aren't sure how to respond, the Holy Spirit can help us remember the truth we have stored up. Scripture memorization is key!
4. This is the most important one. I must daily meet with Jesus and read the Word. There is no formula for this and it will look differently
for each of us, but we must take time to pray, read and study the word, as well as take time to listen so that we may respond in obedience to what we are learning.
If you find yourself in a similar battle please know that you are never alone and there is always hope. Keep seeking the Lord and I promise, He will NEVER fail you! If you aren't sure where to start it is okay to ask for prayer and for some guidance as you begin the daily battle to surrender wholly to Christ. Cry out to the Savior and ask Him to lead you. This is a process that is hard and exhausting at times, but not impossible. If God is for us then who can stand against us? Sojourn on, sweet friends!