Freedom from Insecurity
I just finished a 10 week study on the Beth Moore book “So Long Insecurity, you’ve been a bad friend to us” And this is my recap and some of the things I’ve learned.
Insecurity has dominated my life in ways I never saw. Looking back I now can see where every bad decision and action that I’ve done has been a result of insecurity. Insecurity was my avenue into bad relationships, addictions and other similar bad choices.
One of the side effects or “cover” for insecurity in my life is perfectionism. I don’t take correction well, it makes me feel stupid and shame comes with it and reinforces the messages I give myself. I feel I have to be a fit, attractive, competent person. I have to do all things right. If I can’t do something well, I don’t do it. I don’t play whiffle ball at a picnic because I know I don’t do it well. And doing it well isn’t even good enough, I have to be very good, one of the best or I don’t want to do it in front of others. I don’t want to look stupid or uncoordinated; I don’t want to be laughed at; and even if they don’t laugh audibly, I think they’re laughing silently. Some people think I don’t participate in things because I’m shy or an introvert and they try to change me; they think all I need is to loosen up a little to get around people and interact. That’s not it. That’s not even close, it’s insecurity; plain and simple.
Insecurity is caused by a variety of reasons:
- Instability in the home. Instability comes from many sources: layoffs, financial issues, parents that divorced; abuse of any kind (even if it’s not “in” the home), an alcoholic parent, mental or physical illness of a parent, etc. The root of insecurity caused by instability is often the fear that no one will take care of you. You feel as though you’re on your own.
- A significant loss. This could be the loss of anything you genuinely prize or get stability and self-worth from. A home, a peer group, a relationship, best friend, loss of innocence (as in abuse) or losing a loved one due to death, etc.
- Rejection. One of the few forces that can usher females into a season of insecurity with swiftness is rejection. Nothing shouts a more convincing lie about our personal value than rejection. Many times rejection might cause a man to have a string of superficial relationships where he never gives his heart away, and it might cause a woman to give her heart away before she even has a relationship – that’s what I did.
- Our Culture: the way media portraits the “beautiful” women and none of us can ever measure up to that.
- Pride: many times we feel insecure because of our pride. We’re not the most gifted people in the world, we’re not the first choice – every time; we’re not someone’s favorite, we don’t feel special, we can’t do everything ourselves and on and on it goes.
I have several of these that helped create my insecurity. And the bottom line is that we can try and try to change ourselves with positive thinking, trying really hard to change our actions, stuff our feelings or pretend that we’re feeling secure (fake it till you make it). But in reality the only one that can free us from the bondage of insecurity is Jesus. He came so that we might have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10) and He came to set the captives free (Isaiah 61)! I have a history with Jesus of being set free. He set me free from my addictions and I know He can do it again and set me free from insecurity. He wants the best for me and He wants me to live like He created me; I’m made in His image and He is not the least bit insecure!
So, where do I go from here? I have learned so much and become aware. I know that’s the first step is to notice when I’m “acting out” and then I turn to Jesus for help because really, without Him I can’t do this. Prayer will be a big part of my stepping out of this insecurity hole I’ve lived in. The Bible says the truth will set you free and these are the truths I believe will play a part in my freedom: I trust you Jesus; I know I’m made in Your image and I’m Your masterpiece, You have crowned me with glory and honor (Hebrews 2:7), I am clothed with strength and dignity (Proverbs 31:25), I have a treasure on the inside of me (2 Corinthians 4:7). My security is mine to keep. God gave it to me. No one gets to take it from me.
“(She) will have no fear of bad news; (her) heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. (Her) heart is secure, (she) will have no fear, in the end (she) will look in triumph on (her) foes.” Psalm 112:7-8
This year was the third Christmas without my mom’s physical presence. The 1st Christmas after she died I didn’t know what to do. My husband’s family celebrates on Christmas Eve and I work every Christmas Eve. My family has gotten so big that most of us have in-law’s and are unavailable on Christmas Day.
The last year my mom was alive my husband, Bill and I brought her to a Chinese buffet on Christmas Day. I’m so glad we did. It was a big snow storm and the street she lived on didn’t get plowed until the next day. She kept telling us not to come because it was too much trouble and we wouldn’t get through all the snow. We put a shovel in the trunk and went. We followed tire tracks on her street to prevent getting stuck. My husband shoveled out a place to pull over at her curb while I waited in the car in the middle of the street; once or twice I had to circle the block when a car wanted to get through. I got parked and he shoveled up to the house and we got mom and went out to eat. The restaurant was pretty full and we had a great time. After dinner we went to mom’s house for a while and opened presents. That was the last year I did the “present thing”. Ever since she died I have this thing which I can’t really explain but I don’t want any presents. Not for my birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, our anniversary or any other occasion. I don’t give them and I don’t want to receive them. There’s really nothing material that I want that I don’t already have. Material things have lost their value. If I really need something, I get it myself.
My husband and I have tried to make our own tradition. Each year we go to Starbucks in the morning for coffee, see a movie and eat at a Chinese buffet. That’s our tradition now. The first and second year I was so sad; it felt really empty and something just wasn’t right. But that started to change this year somehow; I don’t know what happened but this year I wasn’t so sad. Maybe Christmas has gotten to be just another day in my life; nothing special.
The last Christmas mom was alive my sister and I baked cookies at her house about a week before Christmas. Mom sat at the table and chatted with us. She would help us decide if the cookies were done and we would sample them together. The first Christmas after mom died I baked over 800 cookies; 11 different kinds. The second Christmas I baked 1700+ cookies; 17 different kinds. Baking cookies was therapy for me and I knew it was. I baked every afternoon for over a month. This year; I didn’t bake cookies at all. It was over somehow, I didn’t need to do it anymore. The week before Christmas I realized I hadn’t baked anything and I made a batch of Peanut Blossoms and Sugar cookies. I’m healing.
My husband, Bill and I volunteered to serve at the Joyce Meyer Conference back in the first part of June. A week or so before the conference we got our position assignments in the mail. Bill got his a day before mine and he was selected to be an Usher Captain. He asked me what an Usher Captain was and I told him it was like a Head Usher, he would oversee a group of ushers. The next day one came for me and I was selected to be an usher. When I told Bill he felt bad and wanted to call Joyce Meyer’s office and tell them that I should be the Usher Captain instead. He had reasons why he believed that: I do it as a job here in Minnesota; I’ve volunteered for many of her Conferences since 1996 and 10 of them were the Women’s Conference in St. Louis. I told him he got that assignment because that’s the one God wanted him to have and he should accept it. I got the assignment that God wanted me to have and I was fine with it. The funny thing is that this is something that in the past I would have been jealous and felt bad, like I had been cheated and it should’ve been me. I would have grudgingly accepted the position I was given but I wouldn’t be happy. This time was different. I’m different. The accident that I had on vacation in April when the wind pushed me down has really changed many areas of my life; I’m continually amazed at what’s being changed in me.
We reported to the Target Center for Usher’s training and the girl who signed us in asked me if I wanted to be a Stage Usher. I asked her what it was and she explained I would stand on one side of the stage and not let anyone by that wasn’t authorized. I told her I could do that. Pastor Lynn took the Stage Ushers (2 of us) for training. As he trained us he told us that we had the best job in the house. We were to stand on the side of the stage and not let unauthorized people pass and once the worship was over we could go to our seats which were located in the front row. He also said that he never wants to know who his Stage Ushers are until the day of the conference; he wants the Holy Spirit to pick them out. I was chosen by the Holy Spirit! There were many ushers serving at the conference and yet, I was chosen! I was assigned to the left side of the stage and my reserved seat was right next to the band’s reserved seats. When worship was over I went to my seat and the band came and sat in their seats and most of the time Matt Redman sat next to me. Bill was assigned to the back corner of the arena. Needless to say, he was jealous of my position. I am very grateful for a God that loves to bless and reward his kids.
Being chosen means very much to me; I was the youngest of 3 girls and my 2 sisters are adopted. I always believed the lie that being adopted (chosen) was special, it was better. I believed that my parents chose my 2 sisters and they were stuck with me because I came last and they had to keep me; like it or not. Now, I can see how this lie has been turned around to be a gift for me. Because I have lived out believing that adopted is better and more special; the scriptures telling me that we’re adopted, chosen by God to be in His family mean a lot to me. Knowing that I am adopted by God, the Creator of the Universe is the most precious, special gift that He could give me. I am chosen! I am chosen by God! He looked around and He wanted me! And He wants you too. You are chosen by God. We are uniquely loved, cared for, wanted, chosen and special. We are adopted.
It doesn’t get any better than that for me.
To purchase the freedom of (to ransom, to redeem, to atone for) those who were subject to the Law, that we might be adopted and have sonship conferred upon us [and be recognized as God’s sons]. Galatians 4:5 AMP
For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent] Ephesians 1:5
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:14-16 NLT
And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. Romans 8:23 NLT
This last week has been really crazy for me. I’ve been reminded over and over just how powerless I am. How powerless we all are.
Last Monday, I was at North Memorial in Maple Grove with Bill. He was getting a test done as an outpatient. While I was waiting for him my niece called and told me my Mom had been taken to the Hospital by ambulance. She didn’t have any other information – just that.
I called and verified that my mom had just arrived in the ER and they were checking her out – they’d call when they had more information. So, when Bill got done we went from North Memorial in Maple Grove to North Memorial in Robbinsdale. The bottom line is that mom has a blood clot in her heart. She’s home now but she has a long road ahead of her yet.
Through this God has been showing me and teaching me many things:
• To live one day at a time; sometimes one moment at a time.
• To be fully present to each moment.
• I am powerless and I have to continually turn things over to Him – that’s been my entire week this week.
• He’s showing me just how precious each moment is and not to take anything for granted.
• He’s shown me the love He has for His children and that no matter how old we are – we’re still His children.
• That He gives us the strength and grace we need for each day – our “daily bread”.
• He’s shown me the importance of family and friends and that they really make a difference in our lives.
• He’s shown me the reality of “we can make our plans, but He directs our steps”
• that ultimately He’s in control. And we – are powerless.
Here’s a “physical heart-snapshot”
One of the cool things He showed me is the complex and unique way He has created us. I was in the room when Mom got an ultrasound done of her heart. At one point the image on the screen was like a little cone head person (you can tell I’m a 70’s SNL fan) I think there was more than one but I could really only see one (because of the size of the screen) and this little cone head person; was praising God! It was kinda like jumping jacks yet not really. It would raise it’s hands in praise and then back down to touch the other cone head person.
I really think it was her heart pumping and the valves letting the blood flow by and then blocking it again. I’m not sure. But to me, in that moment it was cone head people praising God. I just thought – wow, even our hearts praise God with every beat!
This last week has been really crazy for me. I’ve been reminded over and over just how powerless I am. How powerless we all are.
Last Monday, I was at North Memorial in MG with Bill. He was getting a test done as an outpatient. While I was waiting for him my niece called and told me my Mom had been taken to the Hospital by ambulance. She didn’t have any other information – just that.
I called and verified that my mom had just arrived in the ER and they were checking her out – they’d call when they had more information. So, when Bill got done we went from North Memorial in MG to North Memorial in Robbinsdale. The bottom line is that mom has a blood clot in her heart. She’s home now but she has a long road ahead of her yet.
Through this God has been showing me and teaching me many things:
- To live one day at a time; sometimes one moment at a time.
- I am powerless and I have to continually turn things over to Him – that’s been my entire week this week.
- He’s showing me just how precious each moment is and not to take anything for granted.
- He’s shown me the love He has for His children and that no matter how old we are – we’re still His children.
- That He gives us the strength and grace we need for each day – our “daily bread”.
- He’s shown me the importance of family and friends and that they really make a difference in our lives.
- He’s shown me the reality of “we can make our plans, but He directs our steps”
- that ultimately He’s in control. And we – are powerless.
One of the cool things He showed me is the complex and unique way He has created us. I was in the room when Mom got an ultrasound done of her heart. At one point the image on the screen was like a little cone head person (you can tell I’m a 70’s SNL fan J) I think there was more than one but I could really only see one and this little cone head person; was praising God! It was kinda like jumping jacks yet not really. It would raise it’s hands in praise and then back down to touch I think the other cone head person. I really think it was her heart pumping and the valves letting the blood flow by and then blocking it again. I’m not sure, but to me, in that moment it was cone head people praising God. I just thought – wow, even our hearts praise God with every beat!
There is Hope
I want to share with you that there is hope. When you’re a Child of God – there’s always hope! Paul says in Colossians 1:27 that we have Christ in us, the hope of glory. (Christ is in us and we can hope for glory – we can!)
I gave my life to Jesus when I was a young child in Sunday school and I fell away – badly when I got a little older. I gave my life to Jesus as an adult when I was 34. At that time, I had been using drugs for about 22 years and was in the process of my 3rd divorce.
I started using when I was barely 13; because I wanted to be grown up, wanted to fit in and just wanted to be cool. My oldest sister introduced me to cigarettes, drinking and pot – all in one night. I had been sexually abused by different men from the age of 11 or 12 until about 15. When I was 22, right after my first divorce my mom disowned me and I went into a downward spiral for the next 12 years.
I used men, a huge variety of drugs and partied whenever I could. My drug of choice was always pot, but also included cocaine for about 8 years. I did many other drugs in my life, but these two were my favorites. My goal was to be stoned from the time I got up in the morning until I passed out at night. In the morning when I was putting my make up on, I was smoking a joint; I smoked on the way to work, at work and on the way home and all night long. A typical day for me was an average of 8 joints and that was when I was by myself. Weekends and when I smoked with friends, my usage was up. This didn’t stop just because I gave my life to Jesus. I continued smoking pot and drinking for about a year and a half after I was saved. I did however, quit using men, partying and doing the bar scene.
When I quit using, it appeared as though it was a miracle, a deliverance; it looked like I just suddenly quit cold turkey. From 8 joints one day – to zero the next. But that wasn’t the case; Jesus had been working on me on the inside for the entire year and a half. I knew I wasn’t pleasing Him and I knew He wanted me to quit. I’d pray and tell Jesus that if I’m ever gonna quit, He’d have to do it for me, because I couldn’t do it alone. The thing is, I didn’t want to quit, I enjoyed it. I prayed that He would make me willing to be willing; and then allow Him to come in and do His work. I would always put this tag though on the end of those prayers and say “but please don’t get me busted!” Cause you know how God is and He works that way sometimes when we don’t get the message.
Well, one day, I heard a sermon and I knew it was time. (The sermon was called “Freeze Tag” and it was about the game of Freeze tag that you’ve maybe played when you were young. Whoever is “it” tags the other players and they are instantly frozen and they have to stay that way until one of the other players comes along and tags them – then they are no longer frozen. The sermon related that game to people who get frozen and stuck in certain patterns or behaviors in life. Frozen people in life stay that way until Jesus comes along and touches them and then they’re no longer frozen. That was me, and that was what I needed…I needed a touch from Jesus) I knew God was speaking through my Pastor directly to me in that sermon. But, I didn’t quit that day, or the next day which was Monday. I was gonna to call my Pastor and realized that Monday was his day off and so Tuesday I called him and I told him everything = I just spilled it all out to him and he was so gracious! We prayed together and that was the last day I used drugs.
So, there is hope. Isaiah 59:1 says “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear” Surely His arm is not too short to save – he can reach you no matter where you are. If you cry out to him, he will hear you (his ear is not dull) and he will reach you – no matter how far you’ve fallen.
I’ll leave you with this: taken from Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit..”
Our God is a God of hope and we can overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I didn’t know where to look.
Going through the motions
seemed so hard.
My struggles just brought
me deeper in the pit.
But, no pit is deeper
than the arm of God.
And You were there.
You met me in my pit,
and sat with me awhile.
And we cried together.
We mourned my losses:
-of the future
that “my mind” had planned,
and realized that You directed my path.
Your plans are better than mine,
Your thoughts are higher than mine.
And I put my hand in Yours,
and You are bringing me out of that pit.
And I know there is glorious sunshine at the end.
However long it takes
However many rocks are in my path,
we will go hand in hand
and I will trust You
and follow You completely.
For You know me
and even though You know,
You love me!
The Battle Belongs to the Lord
In my last two articles “He Touched Me” and “Freeze Tag” (www.restforyoursoul.org) I wrote about being frozen in life and using drugs, men and drinking to numb myself. This article is about what happened after “day one”, how I remained free from drugs.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1 NKJV
Satan really doesn’t like it when someone gets free from his or her bondage. He kicks up a fight. I quit a 23-year habit of smoking pot on a Tuesday, on Wednesday I went to a Bible Study and while I was there, my car window was broken and my CD player was stolen. I went back into the building called the Police and made a report. I cleaned up as much of the glass as I could and went home to vacuum out the car. When I got home, the guy from across the alley came over and he was drunk, he was hugging me and trying to kiss me (he’s married with 5 kids!). I had to fight to get out of his arms. I got into the house and realized I was in a war!
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 NKJV
The first thing I did was to speak out loud to the enemy. I don’t remember my exact words, but I told him I knew he had challenged me to war and I was ready to fight! I told him I have Jesus Christ and His blood on my side, I have heavenly weapons and armor and he was already defeated! I got everything in my house that had anything to do with drugs, I still had pipes, papers and other paraphernalia, and some pot left. I bagged it all up and put it by the door and told Satan I was getting it out of the house the next day. I had a DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) bumper sticker in the house I put it on my car the next morning.
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13 NKJV
Joyce Meyer (Bible speaker and teacher) was doing a series “The Battle Belongs to the Lord” on TV. I would tape the show and watch it after work. Everyday I would do exactly what the Bible says to do in II Chronicles 20. King Jehoshaphat was in a battle with the Moabites, the Ammonites and the Meunites; I was in a battle with the “addiction-ites”. King Jehoshaphat sent the choir singing praises out to lead them into battle, and I did the same thing. I sang praises to the Lord constantly all day long. When I was alone I sang out loud and when I wasn’t alone I sang them in my head. I watched the “Battle Belongs to the Lord” segment of Joyce Meyer over and over; I watched it every day at least once. I read II Chronicles 20 in the Bible at least 3 times every day for the first month. I just saturated my soul with that story whenever I could and when I couldn’t I was singing praises!
“You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem! Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.” II Chronicles 20:17 NKJV
I am here today to tell you that it works! Praise is a very powerful weapon against the enemy. It worked for me and I know it can work for you as well.
“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death and broke apart the bonds that held them. For He has broken the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron apart.” Psalm 107:13-14, 16 AMP
Steven Curtis Chapman has a song called “Remember Your Chains” “Remember your chains, remember the prison that once held you, before the love of God broke through. Remember the place you were without grace, when you see where you are now, remember your chains, and remember your chains are gone.”
“Imagine what your life would be, if Jesus had not set you free.”
This is a great message. No matter how far I’ve come, I always want to remember where I started.
“For whoever lacks these qualities is blind, (spiritually) shortsighted, seeing only what is near to him, and has become oblivious (to the fact) that he was cleansed from his old sins.” II Peter 2:9 AMP