Feeling Insecure | Dawn M Owens | Blog Post

Feeling Insecure?

Feeling insecure? Me too.

It doesn’t take much..someone’s side glance, that new pimple that just made its grand appearance. Or possibly realizing you shouldn’t have eaten that second cupcake this weekend, after noticing the muffin that grew above your pants.

Insecurities can grow and fester in us until they have successfully done their job of making us feel uglier, fatter, dumber, less than, or (fill in the blank) everyone else around us.

Insecurities love to feed off of each other too. Ever have one of those days or even weeks where you had a pimple pop up one day, then the next day you get a cold sore, then you see Suzie So and So with her perfect hair and nails commenting on your ‘tacky’ shirt? I mean, really, did she say that about you when her pants were bright pink and way too tight, even if she is a size 2. I mean PINK?! Really?!

They can also come in the midst of a conversation. Perhaps someone makes a comment about how you responded to a certain situation. Or maybe it was at the meeting when you decided to make a comment about how the event was being planned and you heard some whispers around you. You were sure they were talking about you.

For the last couple of weeks we have been talking about approval addiction and many of you have commented that you now realize, well, yes, I am an approval addict. I have a problem.

The first week we took a little quiz to know whether we have an approval issue, last week we chatted about people-pleasing and understood we can make some choices…be like Saul and end up rejected from our position or be like David and be named “a woman/man” after God’s own heart.

Today we are talking about feeling insecure and how this feeling can send us into a cycle that can cause destruction, all because we don’t yet know who we are. Insecurities are just another piece of the approval addiction puzzle.

Insecurities are just another piece of the #approval addiction puzzle. @dawnmarieowens

Caught Up in The Approval Cycle

It typically begins with someone saying something that is not affirming to me. For example, someone challenges my leadership (I lead a non-profit, so it fits). They tell me what they think of a decision I made by calling into question my capabilities as a leader.

I want nothing more than to run and hide. I think, “Well, forget this, I’ll take my leadership skills somewhere that appreciates me.” Or if I feel like I really messed up, I’ll decide I am giving up leading forever.

That’s what addictions do to us; they take us to the extremes, where there is no grey.

When I return to my desk those words fester. The words run on repeat, amplifying in my head. I fight my feelings of insecurity by telling myself, “You are better than that person. Who do they think they are to point out my flaws? They have no idea what it’s like to be in my shoes, and I sure would like to see them try.”

I may make matters worse by sharing the other person’s comments to find approval elsewhere. Now my addiction yields to sin and the cycle continues.

From here it just gets worse. Distancing myself, I believe if that person thinks it, everyone does. I start to feel less peace, the guilt and shame are eating me up, and my time with God starts to lessen. Embarrassed by it all, I isolate myself.

At this point, I am far from the truth and God. Depression is sinking in and I don’t know how to get myself out.

Can you relate to this at all?

This is the approval cycle and it can all begin by someone or something making us feel insecure.

So what do we do, how do we change?

Did God Actually Say?

In the book of Genesis, we find the story of Adam and Eve. It is there we read how the first attack on humanities’ insecurities began. ?” In Genesis 3:1, ESV we walk in on the story of the serpent questioning Eve’s identity as a daughter of God.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’

Did you catch how the serpent began…“Did God actually say?”

Those four words are powerful, aren’t they? They can bring a confident person to their knees. Those words changed the trajectory of humanity.

Four words, one simple question: “Did God actually say?”

If you know the story, then you know how this ends. The question attacked Eve’s confidence in God, and it made her doubt herself, her husband, her memory, and her ability to make a decision.

The serpent in the garden called into question the perfection of God’s creation. He began by questioning Adam and Eve’s capabilities as caretakers. Today he does the same thing to us. Do we know who—and whose—we are? Are we aware of what we have been given to steward, or are we confused about our purpose? Do we understand the power within us, or do we see ourselves as powerless?

The question, “Did God actually say…?” undermines our sense of security in God.

However, you have something that Eve didn’t, the experience of her mistakes. We can take her mishaps and learn from it. Here are a few ways you can do that.

Recognize the Attack

When we are feeling insecure we, first of all, we need to realize there is an enemy, he is cunning, and he is always trying to undermine the image-bearers of God. But our enemies are not made of flesh and blood, Ephesians 6:12 tells us we wrestle “against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 NLT).

Know Who You Are

In order to combat the attack from the enemy, we must know who we are and whose we are. It would have been great if Eve would have said, “Um, excuse me. Do you know who you are talking to? I am the Daughter of the Most High God.” But just because she didn’t, doesn’t mean we can’t. So instead of listening to the negativity, remind your attacker who you are and whose you are. As a believer in Christ Jesus, you are a daughter of God, an heir to the throne, a chosen people, a royal priesthood, He has equipped you and called you to do the good works that He has called YOU to do. You may not do it all perfectly, but you will do it in His strength and His power and by His name.

No More Guilt Trips or Shame Parties

Guilt and shame do not come from God. Did you know that? Isaiah 61:7 says  “Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.” So instead you can walk in His grace, rejoice in your inheritance, and receive the joy that comes from a relationship with Him.”

Combat Insecurity with Forgiveness

This is an essential piece to breaking this cycle. Forgiveness changes everything. We need to realize that on most occasions when someone says something hurtful to you it was because of their own wounds, and their own insecurities. Wounded people, wound people. But since we know they were not the ones attacking us, we need to release them by forgiving them. You also may need to ask for forgiveness from the person that you went and ran your mouth to about what was said in the first place. And you may need to seek forgiveness for yourself because you sought other things than God to fill your approval needs.

Redefining Confidence

Now the next time you are feeling insecure whether, over a pimple or a person, scripture is your weapon. Remember you are a mighty warrior, a royal priesthood, a child of God. You, my friend, are from a holy nation, and you have been declared righteous and worthy in the sight of the Most High God. You are seated in heavenly places and have been given the riches according to Christ Jesus that you can tap into any time you need them. You are not defined by the words of another because God did actually say you are all of these things and so much more. You are His friend; belonging to Him. You no longer need to worry about the approval of the world, because you already are approved by God.

Question:  What part of the cycle do you feel you struggle with the most and how can you combat it in the future?

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How to Know If You Have A God Dream

How to Know If You Have A God Dream

How do you know if you have a God dream or a big goal that you came up with on your own?

This weekend I watched The Greatest Showman for the first time. It is the story of P.T. Barnum and his dream of starting a museum, later turned circus, for the main purpose of entertaining people. He ended up doing so much more.

If you have not seen it yet, you need to put it on your list of must-see movies. As soon as the movie was over, I wanted to watch it all over again. In fact, I am sure this will be one of the movies that I will watch several times a year, it was that inspiring.

Though P.T. was not a Christian, there are some characteristics about him we can learn from, especially as it relates to dreaming.

Disclaimer: My main goal is to inspire you to do one thing… seek God as you dream. And to do it in a way that aligns with scripture, like Ephesians 3:20 which says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” and not become like P.T. Barnum. Because at the end of the day all Barnum cared about was making money. That is not why we seek to be used by God, even if it is a by-product of accomplishing the dream.

The Status Quo

Here is what I have been witnessing lately: a lot of people who profess Christ as their Savior, but living a life of the day-to-day expecting nothing more than what they have and no longer willing to consider what could be.

Personally, I think this is an affront to God, the Creator of the Universe, who made all things, who is in all things and is through all things. He dreamed up the light and the darkness, the heavens and the earth, the sky and the land, every living creature and man.

God is a God who dreams and as being made in His likeness, in HIs image, we should dream too. Otherwise, we put to death Ephesians 3:20 and effectively allow the enemy to yield us powerless in seeing the miracles of God.

Now, let me also state, I have learned this over the last seven years. So yes my words may feel a bit blunt, but understand that I used to live where you may be, in the camp of “maybe He can do those things, but not through me.”

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What Could Be

But for the purpose of this post, as much as possible, I want you to take captive those thoughts and I want you to see what could be rather than what now is. Hebrews 11:1 says “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”

Faith and dreaming go hand-in-hand because we don’t dream of things we can see, we dream of what is unseen, or what could be, eventually.

So that is where I want us to begin, realizing what God can do through us if we are willing acting like Him and dreaming. When we have faith in what He can do and not rely on what we can do.

Which is exactly what Barnum did. He dreamed of things that could be and not what already was. So let’s use some examples from what he did to break down how a God dream works.

8 Steps to A God Dream

1.Seek God
Here is one area thing, we don’t know if P.T. did, for sure. But that we MUST do as Christians; it is non-negotiable. The only way you are going to see a God-dream is to seek the Creator Himself. To do this, you will need to implore a few different disciplines. Bible study, prayer, possibly fasting, patience. God-dreams do not happen overnight, it is usually something that happens over time.

2. Ask Yourself Some Questions
Anyone who is starting to dream needs to take some time to figure out the next steps are in the process. This will help you to gain a better perspective on whether or not you are headed in the right direction. Here are some examples to get you started. But add more and journal them as you go.

  • Where were you when the dream occurred? Both physically and spiritually.
  • Did the dream feel overwhelming and unaccomplishable?
  • Do you believe you could accomplish the dream by yourself with the right financial resource?

3. Are You Afraid?
When God gives you a dream, more than likely the first emotion you will feel is fear. Rightly so. It’s why so frequently you see in scripture where God said, “Do not be afraid.”

When He told Moses He was going to use him to set His people, the Israelites, free Moses was terrified. When the angel told Mary that she would carry the Son of God, he told her “Do not be afraid.” When Nehemiah got word that his city was in ruined he was so upset that he cried, mourned and prayed, and then waited until God opened the door for him to speak to the king. He was scared but did it afraid.

Anytime you have a God-dream, you will be afraid. But you’ll have to decide if the fear of man or obeying God is more important to you. Barnum was afraid at first but was willing to be brave and because of it, he saw his dream become a reality.

4. Sacrifice is Key
Barnum learned quickly that if he was going to see his dream come into existence he was going to have to be willing to sacrifice. For him, it meant all or nothing. For me, in the early stages of founding The Link of Cullman County, it also meant all or nothing. I am not going to say that this is true for everyone, however, it was also true for our friends in the Bible. Moses left the safety of Midian and his employment, Mary left her family and traveled on a donkey nine months pregnant, and Nehemiah – well, let’s face it, if the king was angered at what he said, he could have lost his head.

You will have to be willing to sacrifice something – possibly everything to see your God-dream come to fruition.

5. Your Kingdom or His Kingdom
There is a part in The Greatest Showman where Barnum loses it all. His money, his wife and children, his prize artist (at the time), and his building. They all went figuratively and literally up in flames.

The question he had to ask himself at that moment was whether or not he was ready to rebuild it all. The answer came down not to whether or not he was able to provide the funds on his own, but whether or not it would help the greater good.

Whose kingdom are you trying to build? Will this dream make you look good to your peers, your family, your friends? Or are you willing to pursue the dream because, in the end, you know that God will get the glory in it? How do you know the difference? The Bible says it is in our weakness that God’s strength is made perfect. Are you relying on your own strength, believing you can do this on your own, or do you realize it’s going to be a miracle done by God if this dream is coming to become a reality? Which leads us to the next area of importance.

6. An Individual or a Community
If your dream is a God dream, you will not be able to accomplish on your own and not only need God to do a miracle, but you will have to have others around you. God is a believer in community. He is in community constantly with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. He could not accomplish what He did without them. The Apostle Paul talked about community and the importance of it almost every one of his epistles, which helps us to also understand the significance of it to God’s heart. I spoke about this in my post last week. God did not just love one person, His love was for a nation. That nation went into bondage together and flourished together depending on their relationship with God. 

You need others to help your dream come to fruition. They will add to it, speak life into it, pray for it, keep you accountable to it, and make it better than it could have been if you tried to do it on your own.

7. Empowering Others
I loved The Greatest Showman – all of it, but one of my favorite parts is when the Bearded Lady realized she was who she was and people were going to have to deal with it. Keala Settle plays, the Bearded Woman and sings this anthem called “This is Me.

Here is the link to that video, you’ll have to click on the “This is Me” video. If you have not heard this song, go listen to it. It will be a blessing to you, I promise.

But that song is the result of Barnum affirming people who others wanted to hide in the shadows. He saw their oddities, their uniqueness, and placed it on a platform. He accepted them as they were and because of that they felt affirmed. When he started seeing His dream come to fruition, the people he served felt loved, affirmed, and dignified. It ended up empowering people to be who they were created to be, not how society wanted to define them.

This is ultimately what a God-dream should do. There is no larger dream or vision than the one God dreamed for us, by sending His son Jesus to ransom us back to Him. It is only through Him that we have our dignity affirmed. We are righteous only through Him. We are worthy because of the stripes of Jesus.

8. God’s Dreams > Our Own
This is what it all boils down to when it comes to dreaming. God’s dreams will always be bigger than our own. They will and should scare us, we should need other people and it should affect other people. That’s how you know it’s Him and not you.

So now that you have a way to know whether you dream is from God or from you, what do you do? Join me next week to learn how you take your dream and seek God to see it through.

Question? Did this help you gauge your dream against a God-dream? If not, what questions do you have? If it did, what do you want to know now that I can answer for you next week?

 

 

 

 

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