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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Learn 5 Ways You Can Lose Hope

5 Ways to Lose Hope

It’s true; sometimes life can be hard. At times, it can feel like there is nothing we can do to change our circumstances. It’s in those moments we can’t lose hope.

 

As you walk into our office at The Link of Cullman County, you will find yourself confronted with four large letters strategically placed on a pallet-designed counter top.

In moments you will determine whether you can accept the meaning of those four letters, or if your perception of your situation keeps you from believing their truth.

The letters in and of themselves, hold little power.

But when they are combined, they quadruple in strength and form the word “HOPE.”

 

HOPE DESK
The “Hope Desk” at The Community Place, home of The Link of Cullman County.

 

For some who find themselves in the midst of chaos, destruction, and crisis this word can either settle their soul or be cause for an accusation.

What does it mean to have hope?

By definition, hope is to cherish a desire with anticipation; to want something to happen or be true.

There can be much excitement and joy in hoping for something new, and yet, at the same time, hope can feel defeating, frustrating, or some times far-reaching when things don’t seem to be going the way you think they should.

But sometimes we hijack ourselves by believing hope does not exist. Here are five ways we can lose hope:

  1. Give up
    This can seem like the most appealing option at times. If we just give up and no longer believe hope exists, then we won’t get our feelings hurt or our dreams crushed.
  2. Stop trusting God
    When people hurt us, repeatedly, it’s a standard defense mechanism to stop trusting them. There are times when they may need to earn our trust back. But God is who He says He is and never changes. If we stop trusting Him, we will quickly lose hope.
  3. Place our faith in people
    People will fail us daily. If we put our confidence in them, it won’t take long before we lose all hope in humanity.
  4. Blame everyone else for our circumstances
    Pointing our finger at everyone around us will keep us feeling like we are the victim of our circumstances. So go ahead and blame everyone else and watch hope fly out the window.
  5. Rely on yourself
    The quickest way to lose hope is to rely on your wisdom, your strength, and your own experiences. If you never allow anyone else, including God, to help you, hope will elude you.

Those may seem like some great options if feeling sad, lonely, and depressed sound attractive. However, if you prefer to experience some joy in this life, allow me to suggest some alternatives.

Here are some ways you can find hope when you feel hopeless.

Rebuke the lie that says “Hope is dead.”
Just last week I had a situation happen to me where I felt stuck, lost, defeated…even heart sick. There seemed to be no glimmer of hope. It wasn’t until I realized my emotions were ruling my decisions that I could recognize the lies.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. Pr 12:15

The truth was hope had been there the whole time. This perspective gave me clarity, and I felt my attitude change, which helped me have hope in my situation, again.

Consider enlisting support
Believing you don’t have any hope feels lonely. Sometimes we need others to help us get out of our rut. Friends or family member can help you identify your current state of mind. 1 Thessalonians 5:11a tells us, “…encourage each other and build each other up…” Seek out those people in your life that encourage you. If you don’t have people like that, visit us at The Link of Cullman County. We have someone on staff called “Lead Encourager.” It is her job to encourage anyone who comes in feeling hopeless to help them set goals so they can move forward.

Get ready to fight
Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. (Ephesians 6:12, HCSB) Let this statement not fool you, just because our battles are against the spiritual realm, doesn’t mean hopelessness can’t feel just as powerful as a bully in real life. Especially when the circumstances you are facing seem dire. One of the most beneficial ways to overcome losing hope is by putting on your armor of God (see Ephesians 6:13-17).

On days when hope feels like it will slip away you'll have to decide, how badly do you want it?

Let’s encourage each other. What are some of the ways that you can suggest to someone who is struggling with hope to stand firm and trust the Lord?

Dawn M Owens, Executive Director of The Link of Cullman County

Dawn Owens is the Founder/Executive Director of The Link of Cullman County, a blogger, speaker, and a lover of lattes in coffeehouses that have deep seats and warm faces. She also enjoys encouraging others to dream big for the kingdom of God. As a wife and mother to gingers, she finds herself staying on her toes, outnumbered by the men in her life. In her down time, she is either reading a good book or watching historical period shows, dreaming of where she might travel to next.You can find Dawn on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.