Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘insecurity’

Balancing-Act-001On Facebook recently, I mentioned that I’m in awe of those who (I perceive) are confident in who they are—in their looks, their abilities, etc. When I see confident people who don’t (seem to) struggle with insecurity, I am simply amazed. I just can’t fathom this kind of confidence and suspect I never will this side of heaven.

In response to my statement, some kind souls offered me encouraging words and compliments. Others “got” it by saying they felt the same way. And some responses reminded me that Normals just don’t understand. It’s logical to assume a statement like this is simply fishing for compliments. Honestly, this was the farthest thing from my mind. If you understand insecurity at all, you’d know that compliments do very little for us poor saps. At least with any permanence. The reason being that, at least as far as it applies to me, no amount of compliments or encouraging words can shore up the missing foundation in the insecure person’s life. Compliments we receive are quickly forgotten, because whatever is missing or lacking in our confidence lies far beneath looks, talent, accomplishments, etc. It’s like a black hole, really.

Don’t get me wrong, strokes are always welcome. Isn’t that true for everyone? But it’s just that no amount of compliments or kudos (or money or prestige or accomplishments or beauty or la la la) will ever fill the black hole of self-doubt.

At least, that’s how it feels to me.

The way I see it, insecurity is not a struggle to “like myself” enough to finally find “inner peace,” or the need to inflate my ego until it’s full of enough hot air to float me through life, but it’s more of a constant fear that the ground I’m standing on isn’t solid, the foundation of who I am is sketchy and can crumble with enough wind or opposition. Or maybe it’s more like living life on a tightrope. One slip and I’m toast. I think of insecurity as the constant fear that there’s really nothing solid beneath you.

I’ve whined talked about how it’s taking me a dreadfully long time to grow up, thanks to just the right combination of factors in childhood and my being a bonehead in general. What I’ve learned over the Long Haul is that I’m a mess, you’re a mess, everyone fails, everyone comes up short. It’s in our nature. Only God can be counted on to be steadfast, faithful and true. And he is. Someone at some time or another will crush me by rejecting or dismissing me. This can’t be avoided. At the same time, unfortunately, I know I will wound and offend, though I wish to God I didn’t because I sure don’t want to. 

Enough whining. My point is that I have learned to embrace this weakness of insecurity. I am not looking for strokes (though don’t forget, they are perfectly acceptable much like chocolate—no such thing as too much) and I really, really don’t mean to be a tedious navel-gazer. What I want is to remember is that this life we live on earth is so short and so fleeting, and yet is so full of potential. Whether we are multi-talented or simple-minded, handsome or plain, popular or awkward, we all have a precious opportunity to fill our bank account with treasure that will go with us into eternity.

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15

I’m reminded that one day, when we pass through heaven’s gate, our lives will pass through a fire of testing, and after our “works” (& all the stuff we based our confidence in) have been burned off, all that will remain will be the lasting gems forged by faith, hope and love. Faith from each moment of surrender to God, Hope from trusting in his goodness, Love from acts of obedience and dying to self.

So as long as I’m looking to find security in my accomplishments or popularity or talents—wood, hay and straw—I will be gathering goods in vain. Not only do I find no lasting security from these things, but none of that stuff is going with me into eternity. And eternity is going to last a lot longer than this little bit of earthly life I’m trying to muddle through right now. 

The only things that we will take with us into eternity are the things that build godly character in us, that make us more like Christ. Instead of inflating our egos with success and accomplishments, or aiming for being the most successful salesman or the most popular girl at school or the coolest mom on the block, we ought to invest our efforts on obedience to God, on trusting his wisdom and power, on complete dependence on his love and mercy. That’s our task, and for me, that’s where solid, lasting security lies.

Q: Do you struggle with insecurity? 

Read Full Post »

I’m working on a novel in which a woman was recently jilted by a handsome young lawyer. Then when her mom suffers a life-threatening injury, she must help with her care and shoulder the burden of the family business. In the process of all this, she meets a man who shakes her world again for a disturbing reason: he likes her. For who she really is. Not the picture-perfect woman she works so hard to portray to the world, but the frizzy-haired, cosmetic-less, messy life real her. But her real problem is that she only lets people partially into her life. She loves that the new guy likes her—crazy hair and all—but realizes something’s wrong. It turns out she lost the last guy because she never fully “engaged” in the relationship out of fear of exposing an ugly part of her no one knows about.

 

Do you know without a doubt Jesus loves you? I hope so. The Cross speaks of Christ’s fierce love so completely, so beautifully. But do you, like my novel character, have trouble “engaging” in this “sacred romance”?

 

It’s great to wake up knowing I’m completely loved by God. What a wonderful, incredible, awesome feeling. But to be honest, which I must, I find it easy to soak up God’s love and go about my day with a wave and without a backwards glance.

 

 

Picture a bride getting up one morning to find her adoring Groom already awake.

Groom: Good morning, my precious. I love you so much!

Bride: Aw, thank you! You just made my day! I’m going to go post that on FaceBook right now.

Groom: Right now? But I’d like to spend some time with you, without any distractions.

Bride: Oh, right, but I gotta run, so just hold that thought. But you do love me, right? 

Groom: Yes, more than you could possibly know.

Bride: Oh! I just love hearing that! I feel so special right now. Like I could do anything. I’m going to go make plans right now to realize all my biggest dreams.

Groom: Um . . . your dreams include me, right?

Bride: (pouty frown) Well . . . some, but you don’t really expect me to include you in everything I do, do you? I mean, come on. I do have my own life. It’s not like we’re attached at the hip.

Groom: Not only the hip, but at your very core. I’m part of you. You’re part of me. I am the Vine, you are the branch. Apart from me you can do nothing.

Bride: Yikes! That sounds kind of controlling, don’t you think? I’m going to go check Pinterest for new posts about how you love me without any strings attached. I love looking at those.

Groom: Remember the day you said you were giving yourself to me? It was a very touching moment, so beautiful. You couldn’t hear it, but all of heaven broke out in spontaneous song.

Bride: Aw, that’s sweet. Yes, I gave myself to you, but that was to secure my future. You don’t actually expect me to hang around with you all day give up doing what I want to do? I thought you said you loved me. Didn’t know you were going to be so demanding.

Groom: My only “demand” is that you love me. Is . . . that a problem? This is a relationship . . .

Bride: (puffs out a slow breath) Okay, look. I don’t know what you want from me. I talk to you sometimes, don’t I? It’s not like I can spend all my time hanging around with you and talking about you. Everyone would think I’m a freak.

Groom: So you don’t want people to know about us?

Bride: Well . . . (smiling suddenly) Yes! Actually, I like telling people how much you love me. I do it all the time!

Groom: Yes, I’ve noticed . . .

Bride: Wait—you hesitated just now. You’re not having second thoughts, are you?

Groom: No. I love you so much I made the ultimate sacrifice for you. You are more precious to me than you know.

Bride: Oooo! Say it again! I just love hearing that!

Groom: Yes. I know.

Bride: In fact, I’m going to go Tweet it right now!

Groom: (sighs)

Bride: And don’t worry, I’ll be sure to tell someone how you just want me to be happy, although I hear about it everywhere. Those cute little Facebook memes, at the hairdresser’s, on book covers. So I guess most people already know that.

Groom: I want your ultimate happiness, but right now, not everything you go through is about happiness. I want what’s absolutely best for your life, the life I rescued at a tremendous cost. One day, you’ll be blown away by how much happiness I have prepared for you. I am going to knock your socks off—forever. I promise. But for now, I’m asking you to trust me. Watch my lead, follow my footsteps. Come when I call. Sit with me when I invite you. Listen to me; memorize the beat of my heart. Give yourself completely to me and to what I have planned. Will you do that for me, my beloved?

A relationship requires both parties to be fully engaged. He wants this kind of relationship with us. He wants our time, attention, devotion, and obedience – not because he’s self-centered and demanding, but because spending time with him is for our ultimate good. It’s a two-way relationship, not a one-sided, life-long pampering session.

He gives forgiveness, righteousness, love, provision, peace, blessings, wisdom, protection, help, healing, favor, strength through trials, and so much more. What am I giving him? Not out of duty, but of gratitude, of delight in him?

 

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Q: Is your relationship with God sometimes a one-sided romance? How do you “delight yourself in the Lord”?

Read Full Post »

Have you ever heard of the Three Minute Testimony? It’s a 3 minute story of your life before and after coming to Christ to share when the opportunity arises.

Only three minutes? Uh . . .

This week at church, Pastor J asked us to break into groups to work on our stories. (I love being put on the spot to say something comprehensible on command. LOVE it. LIVE for it. So much that when I first suspected what he was about to do, I sweated for 5 solid minutes trying to think of a legit excuse for slipping out before the breakout session.)

But I’m glad I stayed. I had an interesting conversation with a sweet old lady in which we both learned some cool things—like how very different our salvation experiences were. She came from a Christian home and had loved Jesus as long as she could remember. Growing in her faith had been a steady, gradual journey.

Aaaaand . . . then there’s me. I’ll share my story shortly. For now, let’s just say finding Christ was a little more dramatic and my faith journey has not been a steady breeze. But it has been a journey of miracles, joys, and unimaginable distance traveled nonetheless.

This dear lady admitted to me that she hesitates to share her story because hers isn’t “dramatic” like some. With a smile, I said maybe her conversion experience wasn’t as radical as some, but I think whether you were a hard-core sinner or a cuddly toddler when you came to Christ, the daily sanctification or growing to be more like Jesus process is one of the most dramatic experiences we will ever know.

Dramatic, and for some of us, painfully slow. One faltering step at a time.

Perhaps you too have struggled with brokenness, pain, anger, addiction or other life-controlling issues and despaired of ever changing. Maybe, like me, you have felt like giving up. Please don’t do that. Hang on and let me tell you my story.

Before . . .

Because of numerous broken homes, broken people, and broken me, I grew up feeling abandoned, abused, and easily humiliated. Frequent moves as a kid meant I didn’t keep friends long. I became the oddball loner, the taunted outcast. I was the ugly girl with holey socks and high-water pants who just couldn’t seem to play the game like everyone else and turned to food for comfort, which ensured that I was both ugly and fat. Then because of added abuse and criticism at home, I went from sad kid to pissed-off teenager, finding the acceptance and approval I craved with the stoner crowd, skipping school, getting high and looking for trouble. Caught in the middle of a gang war at my high school, I dropped out and went to the local community college hoping to at least graduate. But though it was a new school, I gravitated to the same crowd. (It was hard to miss the perpetual cloud of pot smoke hovering over the center of the college cafeteria.)

And I still hated who I was. Changing schools hadn’t changed me. I became more deeply entrenched the college drug crowd, caught in a spiral sucking me down. I couldn’t function in class because I couldn’t say no to getting high. I couldn’t break free of the pressure, the familiar. Even though I wanted an education and a shot at a future, I was failing school at sixteen and felt powerless to change. I saw a future of partying and waking up in jail, or worse—never waking up again.

I’d heard about Jesus enough to know that he died on the cross for my sins, but didn’t see what good that did me. I wanted out of the life I hated but could not escape. Hopeless, I couldn’t see my life ever changing.

Meeting Christ . . .  

I remember getting stoned before class one day, then not being able to follow the lecture and wishing I wasn’t high to the point of silently begging God to sober me up. And oddly enough, my mind soon cleared. I began reading the Bible and discovered David talking in the Psalms about God’s presence and love and how he gave David power to succeed. I thought David was either crazy, or he really did know God. Maybe God was real. If he was as powerful and caring as David said, maybe he could help a dumb, hopeless girl like me.

One night I put God to the test by “challenging” him to take away my 5-year smoking habit. When I woke the next morning, all cigarette cravings had vanished. I was free of an addiction I’d failed repeatedly to kick. Not only was God real and capable of helping me, but he had answered me exactly as I’d asked. Not only did he want to help me, but more importantly, I understood that he wanted me to trust him. I gave my life to Jesus that day.

After . . .

In all honesty (this you expect from me, right?), mine has not been a straight shot, express train to freedom, shining success, and spiritual maturity. Which is possibly because I’m bent on learning things the Hard Way. I believe God answered me in such a powerful way that day because he knew how stubborn, fearful, selfish, stubborn (I know, but it bears repeating) broken and dysfunctional I was when I came to him. He knew what a long journey this would be—a long, bumpy road filled with tripping, falling, defeat, success, depression, rebellion, and some running away. He knew. And he has patiently, lovingly led me back, picked me up and encouraged me to hold onto him and keep going, time after time.

Because of the past, I have had a lot of catching up to do on the road to becoming a girl after God’s own heart. To be very honest, I’ve been tempted to give up more times than I can possibly count. I’ve been beyond sick of making mistakes and disappointing people. But eventually, God taught me to be more patient and accepting of Camille—by his forgiving, patient example. Not that he wants to leave me a mess, but to encourage me to keep at it, keep getting back up, keep learning to spot the obstacles and potholes before they trip me up. He forgives me, cleanses me, showers me with mercy, empowers me by his grace, and nudges me onward to be more like him. Teaches me to share with others the boundless, unconditional grace he’s shown me. Reminds me I’m his precious daughter. One day, one step at a time. Because he loves me more than I can possibly understand this side of heaven.

I’m not where I’d like to be in this becoming more like Jesus journey. Of course, it’s not like any of us will “arrive” anywhere while here on earth, because this journey takes us all the way home.  But I do find myself in awe sometimes when he invites me to stop and look back and see how far I’ve come from that sad, angry, hopeless girl.  I am not discouraged by how “long” the road has been, but rather, I am incredibly grateful for how far he’s brought me.

Yes, I still struggle with selfishness. I still fight to lay down my will and take up my cross daily. I still get easily bruised and filled with self-doubt when someone disapproves of or criticizes me, but God so faithfully pours out his love and forgiveness, and patiently keeps me focused on his promise:

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you

WILL carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6 (emphasis mine)

I love him so much.

So—have you ever prepared your 3-Minute Testimony? If you want, you can post it here, or if you have it posted on your blog or website, feel free to share the link.

Read Full Post »

Pastor J began a Heaven series last night and he ended his message with Phil Wickham’s Heaven Song. Have you heard it?

As the song played, I looked around the sanctuary to see if I was the only one fighting tears. I wasn’t. And yet, I think people were being touched by this song in very different, very personal ways.

When Phil first sang, “I want to run on greener pastures, I want to dance on higher hills,” I thought, I don’t even dance now, why would I dance in heaven?

And then I thought, why don’t I dance now?

As the song played, tears came to my eyes as a totally new revelation stung my heart: I’ve lived nearly 50 years a prisoner of humiliation. Easily embarrassed, inhibited by insecurities, imprisoned by self-consciousness and fears. And I will probably spend the rest of my earthly life bound by these things.

But in Heaven . . .

I had never thought of heaven as a place of freedom from shame. I’ve worn shackles and chains so long I’ve learned to live with them—forgotten they’re even there. What would it be like to live without crippling fear? Emotional pain? Humiliation? Without the destructive effects of sin or shame or selfishness or any of the things that limit us here?

Will I dance in heaven?

Yeah. Thanks to the spirit of God speaking to me through a song, I can (almost) see myself dancing with abandon and joy. Without a single self-conscious thought. I’m going to dance with Jesus and we’re going to laugh!

And not at my dancing!

“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:9

Heaven will be a place of many incredible, unimaginable joys, including freedom from the shackles and chains we’ve been dragging around. Please take a moment to listen to this song. May it help spark and fan into flame whatever your heart quietly longs for.

More on Heaven:

Pastor Jeremy’s Heaven: Looking Forward To Home Series

Randy Alcorn’s Eternal Perspective’s Ministries

Alcorn’s Life Promises sample chapter

www.heaveniq.com

Read Full Post »

This is me and my movie-starlet mom (about 1967). Note the matching jackets. And my grubby little knees, typical. Not sure where this was taken, probably at the Oregon coast. My dad took the shot. I don’t remember him much, because soon after this, he left.

Those big brown eyes seem alert and a little wary. Wonder what I was thinking. Maybe I sensed this would be one of the last times I’d see my dad for more than a decade. Maybe I could foresee what my life would be like without a dad to love, protect, and encourage me.

No, that little kid had no clue. She would have to find out about the fatherless life the hard way.

Growing up, I often wished my dad would come back and rescue me from the torment of the day. One night when I was about 8, after being banished to my room all day by an ever-angry stepdad, I wrote, “Help me, Daddy!” in the window condensation. I even wrote it backwards so he could read it if he happened by. Which wasn’t likely since he lived in another country. But, star pupil that I was, I still clung to such hopes.

I was a sensitive kid, though no one knew it, including me. That tendency to be easily wounded created a tough protective shell, which didn’t make me any less sensitive; it just allowed me to tramp through life bleeding without anyone ever knowing it.

I could go on and on (fill a book, no doubt) about how empty, ugly, and unlovable I felt growing up, make a long list of all the factors that had aligned just right and drove insecurity and erroneous self-talk deep into every part of me.

But I won’t. (Not today, anyway . . .)

The rescue I longed for never came. Not the kind I’d been imagining, anyway. It would be decades before I realized I’d had a Rescuer all along. He’d been there with me many times. I just hadn’t seen him or taken hold of his outstretched hand.

I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” Genesis 28:15-16

Have you ever secretly wished someone would be so totally intoxicated in love with you that they could never, ever leave you?  There aren’t enough books and movies to fill (and reinforce) that craving. That’s not to say I haven’t been blessed with an incredibly devoted, loving husband and the miracle of nearly 29 years together, in spite of my junky baggage and many painful mistakes. Sadly, humans are not capable of that breathtaking (& unrealistic) notion of one person being so thoroughly enamored with another. And even if people were capable, I realize I will never be worthy of such undying (guaranteed) adoration. I’m flawed. We all are.

And yet, The Hero of all heroes, the God of the Universe, stood within arms’ reach all along, ready to lavish me with his relentless, undying love. If only I’d known!

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Ephesians 3:17-19

It took decades, even long after giving my life to Jesus, to begin to grasp how much God loves me in spite of my flaws and mistakes. His grace, forgiveness and patience blows me away. Sometimes I’m struck with awe and gratitude for all that God has done and continues to do in and for me. I’m still discovering the depth and height and width and length of his love for me. He’s the only one who can love us so unconditionally without wavering. He gave his only Son for me, gave what was most precious, paid the highest, most costly price for ME. Will he then leave me? Split on me to go live in another country without a backward glance? Pull away and turn his back on me when I’ve screwed up one time too many? I need never fear being abandoned.

And neither do you.

The LORD himself (The God of the Universe!) goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

I wish I could go back and spend some time with that wide-eyed little girl on the beach. There are so many things I long to tell her. Too many to list here. But if there’s one thing I’d tell my young self, it’s this:

Camille, God adores you so much he paid the utmost highest price for you! You are his precious prize! He thinks you’re beautiful because he made you, and even when you’re not beautiful and make mistakes and break his heart, he will still love you!  He will love you forever and ever and will never, ever leave you.

Question, friend: If you could go back and visit little you, what would you say?

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: