I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about insecurities. About what we battle as women. I've thought about my own insecurities and what the root of them is. About why I am insecure and ways that I try to grasp my validation from others.
I'm a confident woman. Always have been. My dad would tell you that. He'd tell you that I comfortable with who I am and secure with my identity as a woman, a wife, a mother and in Christ. If you talked to my dad, he'd tell you I'm confident. He'd also tell you that I'm determined (or stubborn)
and I know what I want or like, without needing any other person's suggestions or affirmations. He'd mostly be telling you the truth, but he
doesn't know all of it.
At first glance, I am secure. I know who I am as
a person and really don't need the affirmation from others' (except for my
husband's). But really, truth is - I'm also insecure. I think we all are. Especially as women. My most haunting insecurity was born in my previous marriage. The marriage
where my biggest fear and worst nightmare became truth in my life - that I wasn't
good enough for my husband. I wasn't "pretty" enough, or desirable
enough, or funny enough, or a good enough wife. Whatever it was, I wasn't enough. Not enough of... something. Even though we'd been together for five years, somehow, I no longer was worth enough to him to keep around.
My insecurity as a woman exploded. I felt completely worthless. I felt like someone's used trash that no one else would ever want. Isn't that what we're taught? Isn't that what the "reality" is of the Bachelor? That the rejected women are the Bachelor's "dumpster trash?" (Or at least, that's what the women call each other on the show.).
In the year between being divorced and meeting Skyler, I gained some of my confidence back. It was a long road, but I slowly learned that I wasn't trash, that I wasn't worthless. In the wee hours of one morning, as I was gaining more clarity, the Lord spoke to me in the clearest way yet. I thought "for fun", I'd check to see what my birthday verse said in the book of Luke. So I turned to Luke chapter 1 vs 28 (for January 28th), and in the Message version of the Bible, I felt like God put those words on that page specifically for me. It says, "Good morning! You are beautiful with God's beauty - beautiful inside and out! God be with you."
And I chose to believe that. I chose to believe that God has made me beautiful. Inside and out! And not only that - but that I had worth! Before long, and before I had met Skyler, I found myself confident again - as a woman, sister, daughter and friend, and someday a wife again. I found my security in the Lord and in being His daughter. In knowing that He would never leave me and that nothing I could do would make Him not love me. His love is unfailing. Even if my ex-husband's love failed me miserably.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. - Psalms 34:18
Some days I'm more insecure about certain things than I am on other days. Some days I'm completely insecure about how I don't have and never have had an actual hair style. Sometimes, I feel like I'm not womanly because I don't style my hair. Other days, I don't care - I'm a mom and my style (or lack of...aka throwing it up in a bun) makes the most sense for what's most important in my life: taking care of my family. Some days, I'm really insecure about extra pudge here and there. Other days, sometimes when I'm least expecting it, Skyler tells me how great I look in a certain pair of jeans, (heck, even some days when he comes home at 4 pm and I'm still in my sweat pants and a baggy shirt with Zeek's food dried on it), he tells me how cute I look. And I believe him when he says it.
I've started a Bible study on insecurity (So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore) recently, and it's got me thinking. I started thinking about this study and topic before the start of Lent. I am not Catholic and so I have never participated in Lent before, but this year our pastor challenged us. He thought it was a good idea to give up something we love and purposely seek God in those times we would be indulging in whatever it was we loved. I chose Facebook. I chose to give up surfing Facebook. I still get on and check notifications, but I don't get on to just sit and surf. I felt like that was a more realistic goal and that after 40 days, it could be more of a habitual thing. (And I knew that completely giving up Facebook wasn't realistic.) In that, I've had a revelation. I used Facebook for validation. I craved the attention from my friends and family. In the four weeks (or however long it's been) since the start of Lent, I've found myself even more secure in my identity than when I was seeking constant validation, even subconsciously, from you all.
I bet you're wondering what my point of all this is. I'm wondering that too. I'm not sure exactly, but it's just what's on my heart. It is completely heartbreaking to me to see other women insecure about themselves in ways that I think highly of them in! Friends that are insecure about their radiant beauty or their new mother-birthing figures. Friends that are insecure about their lack of a boyfriend, when their friends are a couple stages "ahead" of them.
One of the high school girls that I meet with for a weekly Bible Study recently told me that she thought maybe something was wrong with her, because she didn't have a boyfriend yet. I should've known about these feelings she might have (because Lord knows I had them at that age too!), but still, as soon as the words came out of her mouth, I had to practically lift my chin off of the floor. What?! Are you kidding me? You're INCREDIBLE!! I wanted to just shout her praises! What an absolutely incredible young woman she was and she didn't even know it! She is a precious gem, a kind, gentle spirited, funny, immensely enjoyable young woman. And she thought something was wrong with her. A few years from now, I imagine she'll look back to now and realize that God is just saving her heart of gold from the pain of relational heartbreak at a young age. Her admitting this to me just reminded me of the daily struggle that we all deal with as women. Even the most amazing women out there. We all deal with insecurities, whether on the large or small scale.
I suppose I write this to encourage you. In Beth Moore's So Long, Insecurity book, she wrote, "We're going to have to let truth scream louder to our souls than the lies that have infected us." I made each of my girls write this in the very front of their study workbook so they'd read it every day.
So, friends. Here's some truth for you.
You are beautiful. If your inside is beautiful, your outside is beautiful.
You have great worth. You're the King's daughter, after all.
You are enough.
You can never do anything that would make God's love for you diminish or fade away. It's unfailing.
You are cherished by the Lord. You are precious.
It's my hope that you truly believe those things. Because, believe in God or not, love God or not, He is still always there loving you and cherishing you.