Every woman I have ever met exudes confidence in at least one area of her life while falling prey to insecurities in another area of her life. For example, I have been insecure in a relationship to the point of embarrassment while at the same time feeling confident in my career. When something comes naturally to me and I look good when I do it, then insecurity isn’t a problem. However, when I can’t figure something out or I fail at something and feel like I don’t measure up to my self-imposed standard, then insecurity can start to fester in my heart.
When I moved into my house back in January 2018, I had no shortage of confidence while making numerous decorating decisions. On the other hand, the decision to cook a meal for my friends is wrought with anxiety and self-doubt.
In February I invited my friend, Judy, and my Real Estate Agent, Danna, to come over for dinner because I wanted Danna to see all the changes I had made to my house. I was so preoccupied with making a good impression that as I was carrying the pasta dish from the stove to the table, my feet somehow tripped on absolutely nothing and the dish came crashing down on the table and the pasta went flying high up into the air and then back down onto the table and floor. After we spent time picking out the tiny pieces of glass off the table and floor, we feasted on a microwaved Costco frozen pasta dish.
My self-esteem can take a hit from that cooking fiasco, but the insecurities that hurt me the most – the kind that bring deep discouragement and feelings of failure – are the ones that hurt my relationship with God and others.
Below are some of my thoughts I have harbored in my heart over the years:
I’m not pretty. People don’t take me seriously. I wish I was smart. Dreams come true for other people but not for me. My height makes me stand out too much. My heart will always struggle with jealousy, and I’ll never be able to be someone’s best friend. I’m a hopeless case when it comes to relationships with men – I’m unlovable. I will always be average in everything I do. God favors her more than me. God doesn’t care about this small, silly situation in my life so why should I pray about it. I can’t be honest about this sin because then people will judge me……..and the list goes on.
My insecurities are upheld by my faulty beliefs that I have permitted to become impenetrable strongholds in my mind.
A stronghold is a place where a cause or belief is strongly defended or upheld.
an Insecurity is a feeling of uncertainty, a lack of confidence or anxiety about yourself.
Have you ever strongly defended your faulty thinking that was holding you captive to your insecurity rather than attempt to explore and deal with those negative thoughts that were feeding the beast of your self-doubt and shame?
I certainly have.
Then I ask myself, “Why am I defending this wrong thinking and refusing to correct it?”
Here is my honest answer:
Sometimes it is easier to defend my erroneous thinking rather than change it. Change creates chaos in my heart before peace is achieved. I’d just rather nurse my “go-to” thoughts rather than train my mind to think differently.
There is a verse in the Bible (2 Corinthians 10:4-6) that gives me hope that I can stand up to my defective thinking that feeds my self-doubt, self-loathing, anxiety and shame:
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
This verse gets me excited. It calls up the wonder woman spirit in me – the unconquerable warrior.
In this picture I imagine Wonder Woman starring at her insecurities and saying, “You’re going down!”
2 Corinthians 10:4-6 contains words like fight, weapons, demolish and take captive. The conflict in this Bible verse is between the thinking of the world and the knowledge of God. The world’s pretentious arguments against the knowledge of God are rendered powerless when confronted with God’s divine power.
Insecurities are pretentious arguments that set themselves up against the knowledge of God.
Which side do you want to be on?
I want the side with the divine power. I want the side where I take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.
I have not always had this “take no prisoners” approach to my insecurities.
One of my biggest strongholds that held me captive for 16 years was that I was defective and unlovable because I never was “that girl” who was being pursued by a man who absolutely adored her and asked her to be his wife (well actually I was pursued several times, but I was too afraid to move towards marriage – I’ll explain why later).
I was baptized into Christ at the age of 19 and married at the age of 35. So, during those 16 years I went on a whole lotta of dates with my brothers in Christ, but the relationships never went beyond the 3rd or 4th date. What I didn’t realize throughout my 20’s and early 30’s was that I had built an impenetrable stronghold of faulty thinking about myself and this also created an impermeable fortress around my heart that communicated loud and clear to the men in my life, “Back off. I’m damaged goods here. You will be disappointed if you get too close to me.”
The day of my 35th birthday there were still no prospects of a man to marry, but I made an important decision that day. I decided for the first time to love and accept myself. I said, “Ok, so I’m dysfunctional in relationships, but that is ok. I’m going to let go of the shame and try to figure out why I’m this way.” For the first time I explored how my parent’s divorce, my father’s five marriages and the impossible-to-be-close feeling when I was around my father kept me from being able to trust that a man would love my less than perfect self.
After finally finding my knight and shining armor and saying, “I do”, it didn’t take long for me to realize that marriage did not solve my insecurity problems. My “graduation” from single hood to marriage introduced a fiercer insecurity: Infertility. I was now the outcast in a circle of women who were sharing about their battle scars from giving birth.
Infertility in my life became the rich soil for all kinds of insecurities to grow in my heart – jealousy, envy and comparison. But one amazing and beautiful thing that came out of our infertility was that it opened our hearts to adopt our beautiful daughter, Lian, from Nanchang, China in 1998.
After I had my beautiful child in my arms, I told my husband that I wanted to buy a house. As soon as we got the keys to our new home, I began to get insecure at the lack of funds we had to renovate the house so that it would look up-to-date rather than back in the 1970’s. I started to think we didn’t make enough money and our careers became insufficient to accommodate the lifestyle I imagined we needed to have.
I can go on and on how each victory, milestone and achievement in my life would present a whole new set of reasons to be insecure. Within a five-year period, I got married, became a mother, started a new career and bought a home and yet with all those amazing blessings my strongholds of insecurity fortified. It has taken me years of being consistently faithful to God, the fellowship of believers and the Bible to tear down my strongholds of insecurity.
So, if you are a young woman reading this blog post, I would be thrilled if you get one thing out of my message: Expect new insecurities to pop up in your heart as you reach each success, milestone and accomplishment in your life. Then realize that only God can make you secure. No man, no makeover, no career, no baby and no nice house will ever make you feel completely secure in yourself. Only a deep and abiding relationship with God can do that for you.
If you are an older woman with lots of life behind you, most likely you have plenty of war stories of how you were attacked by the demon of insecurity. Rather than being ashamed of how you have allowed self-doubt and anxiety to prevent you from having the life you could have had, celebrate your wounds and battle scars and decide that you will learn from them and in turn, help others who can relate to your struggles.
So, let’s drop our barricades and pick up our Bibles and tap into the divine power that God longs to give us so that we can demolish our insecurities that have been setting themselves up against the beautiful knowledge of God.
Questions to ponder:
- Do I know when an argument in the news, in a magazine or in popular culture is setting itself up against the knowledge of God? Am I defending pretentious and faulty arguments because I don’t know God’s word?
- How can I take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ if I’m not intimately familiar with what Jesus says about my life and what He has called me to be obedient to?
- Do I believe that the Bible is inspired and has divine power to demolish my faulty thinking?
- Do I think I can stand against Satan and his schemes without spending daily time in God’s Word and prayer?