My Word of the Year (and it’s probably not what you’re thinking)

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Our youngest child is now eleven months old, but let’s rewind several months… overtired mama, overweight mama, over-emotional mama, and all of those post-partum hormones were working together, and what did I end up with?? I’ll give you one word. It seems to be my word of the year, and I’ll tell you right now – it’s definitely NOT a word I chose for myself. Here it is – Insecurity. It hit me like a ton of bricks, and I didn’t know where in the world they came from. I would have never described myself as insecure before this year, but as I was going through a really deep Bible study and life group at our church, I think God just put his finger on my insecurities and said… “Okay, now let’s work on this.”  

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     I knew this insecurity was not healthy, and not something I could hold on to. I had to make some changes and do something about it. I had to stop comparing myself to other women who looked better than me. I had to stop worrying that my husband wasn’t satisfied with me. I had to stop fearing that my husband was going to cheat on me or leave me for someone who looked better than me. These are all things I started thinking, feeling, and doing just this year. It’s not something I’d ever dealt with in my life before. I know that it’s all for a reason and a bigger purpose, but it has not been a fun process in any way, shape, or form. 

Let me pause for just a moment and clarify something. These things I just mentioned were unhealthy thoughts that I had bouncing around in my head, and none of them were the truth. Satan has a way of bringing things to our minds, and they seem so real like the thoughts are our own, that it’s often hard to recognize that he’s the culprit and that we have the power to fight him and distinguish those lies. My husband loves me unconditionally, and he has been my biggest supporter in all of this. He is proud that I’m doing this for me, he loves that I am more confident now, and he’s happy to see me growing and transforming into the godly woman I am supposed to be. He pursued me nine years ago, but it wasn’t my looks that made him fall in love with me. It was me – as a person, a Christian girl, all of my personality, and all of my potential. And those are the things that he still loves about me, and the love grows deeper with each passing day, as I grow spiritually as a person and transform into the new creation. He often jokes that he got a new wife. I guess it’s somewhat true… i’m definitely not the same girl that he married seven years ago, and I have God to thank for that!

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So insecurity has been my struggle, my battle, my war for the past several months, and let me tell you – that’s exactly what it felt like too. Some days were harder than others. I feel like these thoughts in the back of my mind were controlling me in a way.

So this is how it happens: Satan puts a thought in your mind – a lie, but you don’t recognize it as a lie right away. Instead, it feels like a truth. For example – that my husband didn’t find me attractive or love me like he used to. (This one always has a way of showing up for me right after I have a baby too… my body is definitely not the way it was before.) So with this initial thought in my mind, I either wanted to give up and sulk and eat my feelings, or I wanted to work extra hard to impress my husband and make him notice me. I did a little of both. This really was so unfair to him really because I would wear something that I thought he would find me attractive in, hoping he would notice, but then when he didn’t say anything, I would believe that Satan’s lie really was true. After many, many talks with my husband about all this, I’ve realized that he really does love me. He is attracted to me still. And sometimes I just need to ask, “Does this look okay?” or “What do you think about this?” to prompt him to tell me.

So now that you know what my struggle was, how it happened, and why, I bet you’d also like to know how I got over it – how I dealt with it, how I healed, how I’ve grown since the beginning of all this.

Well, first of all, I prayed. SO much about this! I often didn’t even know what to pray or what to say, but mostly just a lot like this… “God, please help me get over this and stop thinking this way. I know that you created me, and I have a purpose. I know that I am not able to do all that you want me to do when I am feeling so defeated. God, you have not made me to be insecure, but to have a confidence that only you can give me.” Mostly I prayed in the spirit, and when I felt really insecure, I would pray even harder.

I soaked in scriptures and prayed them back to God about my situation. I had trouble finding “the perfect scripture” in the beginning. I used Psalm 139 as a starting point. And I often used 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Except (and please don’t harass me for this) I replaced the word “fear” in that verse with “insecurity” so I would just say “For God hath not given me a spirit of insecurity, but that of a sound mind.” Really, I could have left the word fear alone and prayed is as it was written because my insecurity did lead me to fear and to worry, but the word insecurity is what resonated with me the most during all of this.

I read Pricilla Shirer’s book, Fervent. There was one evening where I could not go to sleep because of all of the fear and anxiety that filled my mind. I was so nervous and shaky that night, so I decided to just get up and pray. I flipped to the chapter of this book on fear… (Confronting your worries, Claiming your calling)

“If I were your enemy, I’d magnify your fears, making them appear insurmountable, intimidating you with enough worries until avoiding them becomes your driving motivation. I would use anxiety to cripple you, to paralyze you, leaving you indecisive, clinging to safety and sameness, always on the defensive because of what might happen. When you hear the word faith, all I’d want you to hear is ‘unnecessary risk’.”

That was exactly how I felt! And she writes later in the chapter, “In fervent prayer, we discover something: Our God is fearless. And because He is fearless, we can be fearless too. When his presence is with us and going before us, no Red Sea should faze us or give us pause. So despite your hesitation, say yes. Walk on. Have faith. Fear not.”

So you see-  It’s not just about my struggle and this battle with insecurity and fear – it’s that these things are actually keeping me from living our my purpose, my calling, and my destiny. And I just couldn’t let that happen. I wrote out a new prayer strategy for dealing with my fears, and I went to bed that night with peace.

I talked to a few Christian friends who I can be real and open with, but that will give me sound, godly wisdom. I actually opened up to several of my close friends about this, but one in particular really helped me. Why? Because she was dealing with the exact same thing! Now, if she weren’t the strong Christian woman that she is, this could have been a deadly thing – she would have let me vent and sided with me and agreed with all the lies Satan was telling me. (You see why it’s SO important to have good influences in your life.) But no – she gathered some information, asked me some questions, and gave me sound wisdom. It was SO FREEING to talk to her, because she had the same struggle. I could be real with her because she understood me. So she was able to help me, and then I was able to turn around and help her – all in the same conversation. It was beauitful!

I was studying Romans personally, and several verses spoke directly to my heart. 
In Romans 7, (vs. 15) “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing that I hate.” I just feel like this verse completely sums up the way I was feeling. I didn’t want to think or feel this way. I didn’t want to have these thoughts, but they kept coming, attacking me almost, and I didn’t know how to make them stop.

I took my thoughts captive and made them obedient to Christ.

“So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not what is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that whenever I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”
-Romans 7:17-25

From reading this I realized for the first time that dwelling on these unhealthy thoughts and continuing to deal with them was actually sin. Sinful thoughts that I needed to take captive. I remembered the scripture that we’ve used several times in small groups and such when we talk about retraining our thoughts, 2 Corinthians 10:5… “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” I knew that’s exactly what I needed to do.

And as I continued in my study of Romans, this was confirmed for me even more.

     “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, set their minds on things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:5-8

So yes. I felt with this struggle that I was slowly dying. It seemed to be never-ending. I desperately wanted that life and peace that these verses offered. And when I thought about myself, continuing in these thoughts, as being hostile to God and unable to please Him? No way did I want that! This battle was over. I was going to win it and see my victory once and for all in this!

     “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption of sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit of God bears witness that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.” (Romans 8:15-17)

Yes! With this I am claiming my victory over this insecurity. I am a child of God. A daughter of the King! And that just means so much more to me! And there’s hope – “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18 So all of these months of suffering for me – the insecurity, fear, worry, and anxiety even – all will be worth it in the end. I am a new creation in Christ. And if fighting this battle, waging this war, and going through all this for the sake of my spiritual growth was necessary for me – then, Lord, let it be.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Thank you, Jesus, for that!

If you are fighting your own battle with insecurity, I’d love for you to email me so that I can encourage and pray for you. Here are some more scriptures that might be helpful to you as well…

James 4:7 – Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Romans 16:20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

1 Peter 5:8-10 Be sober-minded. Be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Ephesians 6:11-18 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done it all, to stand firm,. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all of the flaming darts of the evil one, and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamaties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

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