The Insecurity Struggle is Real!

imageI’ve been struggling with insecurity lately, how about you?  I mean, does it just ever seem like a dark cloud looming over your head?  You just don’t feel like yourself, like its sapping your joy.  I hate it, I hate those times when it happens.  I don’t like not feeling like myself, and it makes me look more at myself, then my focus is off of Christ.  That is an ugly thing, people.  I miss so much of what God wants me to do, when I’m so worried about what others think of me, what they think of my kids, or if people even really like me in the first place.  I can’t be the only one, I know I’m not.  That’s why I’m writing about this.  I’m hoping by bringing some light onto a dark place for me, God will shine His light on it, and it can be used for His glory.

Ever notice how those insecure thoughts pop into your head?  They always start with something sort of true about you, maybe a flaw that you have.  Then, you accept that thought, and the next one is kind of true, but a bit more exaggerated.  Each thought that you dwell on feeds the next, and by the end of this thought process, I’m thinking that no one likes me or that I’m a horrible mother.  These are exaggerations, because at least my husband likes me, so that’s not “no one”, and I’m not a horrible mother, my kids are well taken care of and loved even on our worst days.  It all seems so obvious when I type it out here, we can see it, we can touch these thoughts that pass through our minds.  With these thoughts described above, the problem is, they don’t come one at a time, there are usually so many, that we can barely keep up!  It’s just so much negative noise, that our brains can barely even think, or even think many logical thoughts.  I was at a moms conference this weekend, and it was wonderful and encouraging.  I was waiting for my lunch the second day, and watched the lady hand them out.  There was a bag and a salad.  I was like, “I wonder if there’s a fork, or dressing.  What if I don’t have everything I need to eat my lunch?”.  Then I thought, “They know what they are doing, I’m sure it’s all in there.” and I didn’t ask the lady handing out our lunches.  Could you imagine if all 5,000 ladies at the conference asked her their questions, worrying about their lunches?  That’s what all of that noise feels like to me, with all of those insecure thoughts, just simply overwhelming.  I know the example may seem a little silly, but I overheard another woman in front of me with the same worry about her lunch.  As women, we just have so many passing thoughts going through our heads, fearful and sometimes just things we need to get done.  I would hate it if we could hear each other’s thoughts!  I’m already stressed out by my own!

So, I was thinking, then, as I was once again trapped in this insecure thought cycle, how did I get here?  I was feeling like a pretty awful person, wondering how I went from my normally focused on God self, to worrying about everything and everyone around me.  Well, I’m pretty sure it happened with one little thought that knocked on my mind’s door.  I’m not sure which one it was at this point.  Probably something I felt like I messed up, and then became overly critical of myself for it.  Any of you out there like that?  Do you just beat yourself up over something you missed, or just didn’t think about doing.  Well, you are not alone, I’m right here with you sister.  Even if there’s just one other out there like me, well, we are together!

Here is my mistake, which I bet you smart people already know.  I let that first thought in, and before you knew it, I was thinking all kinds of crazy thoughts that were essentially believing lies.  I needed to “…take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5).  I’m not sure why I didn’t, I’m not sure why that wasn’t my first response.  I’m sad that it wasn’t, I know better.  What’s next then?  Should I wallow in guilt and shame, and fall into another cycle of insecure thoughts?  No.  God does not work in guilt and shame, that is from Satan.  How does God speak to our hearts?  Conviction.  Good, simple, honest conviction.  It’s a quiet knowledge that you strayed from Him, that you let things get between you two.  It’s feeling sorry about that, but having the faith and hope that God will help you move forward, while asking His forgiveness. That you do not have to go back, ever, just forward.  I want to go forward with you, let’s do it together.

When you hear one of those thoughts that starts to make you feel insecure, pray and ask God to take it captive.  Quote the verse above from 2 Corinthians, pray it.  There is so much power in praying God’s word!  I have learned that over and over again, so many times He brings it to my mind, even when I may not even have it memorized.  That’s how amazing the Holy Spirit is!

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  Romans 8:26

God is so truly amazing!  He gives us everything we need to fight against thoughts of insecurity.  We start with handing those thoughts over to Christ as soon as they come.  We state the truth of God’s word, and who we are in Christ.  I have an earlier post about this, here is the link: http://www.thisshannonlife.com/uncategorized/knowing-who-you-are/  

We pray that God would be in complete control of our thoughts and lives, that we allow Christ to live in us.  We pray against the foothold we have given Satan, so that he can not have a place to speak to us.  Pray that we hear God’s voice louder than any others, that His truth will be obvious to us at all times.  Will you pray these things with me, the next time an ugly, insecure thought comes your way?  Will you remember the steps we talked about here?  I pray we both will, and we will be better prepared for the next attack on our thought lives so that we “can take your (our) stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Eph. 6:11).

 

 

Parenting (I don’t know what I’m doing either)

imageThis parenting thing is tough.  I mean, as if you didn’t already know that.  Just when my kids seem to settle down, and I feel we are moving on  to a new, more mature stage, they bust out acting like a bunch of crazy people.  Olivia was just straight up mean tonight.  Destroying all of Jacob’s toy set ups like a boss.  She’d just knock his stuff on the floor.  No matter what I did to discipline her, she just kept on.  She didn’t settle down until just before bed, and now in the beautiful silence of bedtime, it seems so long ago.  It’s funny how things don’t seem so bad when the kids are in bed.   You get to feel human again, and like there are other things going on other than your kids acting insane.

I’ve been thinking about this parenting thing a lot lately.  It’s just so hard sometimes, painful.  It seems impossible, like the kids will always be throwing fits in the store when you say no, then crawl like a baby, because they can’t walk in their emotional state.  Or, your son, will always lash out in anger at his sister because she screams right in his face.  He just states to me, just like a Pharisee, “well, she deserved it!”.  Well, maybe she did, but of course, I have to once again tell him that he can not punch her in the face.  We talk about how to walk away from her, and I remind him that she is the crazy one.  That she is three.  For me, that’s all the explanation I need, but for him, I explain what he was like at that age.  He seems to understand a little then, and tries to be more patient with her.  We all try.  Sometimes we all fail.

But you know, God never, ever, ever fails with us.  He never yells, loses His holy temper, or punishes us out of anger.  He deals with our ugly selfishness, even when we scream right in His face.  He is so very consistent, no matter how inconsistent we are.  I’m always reminded that when my kids act the ugliest, that’s what my sin nature looked like to God, before I accepted Christ.  Before I had Him to stand in my place.  Now God sees Christ, not my ugly old self, praise God for that!  There are times, though when I pick up that old self, and carry it around again, with its ugliness. I probably look just like a screaming, selfish toddler just trying to get her way.  God is always so gentle though.  Just convicting, never condemning.  That grace is there, He is there, waiting for me to calm down and, ahem, “use my words”.

Im learning, and have so much to learn from this whole parenting thing.  I have come so far, and would not change who I am becoming as my selfishness is slowly eroded by these waves of raising two little ones with my own flaws.  I’m so much more compassionate, and can see more fruits of the spirit, as I have no choice but to cling to my Savior, as I ask Him how to be the kind of mom my kids need.  I don’t know what I’m doing.  I can admit that here, I can tell you that.  I wish I had the answers, I like to share things that I know, I like to help others with things that I’ve learned in this life.  But this parenting thing, it’s ever changing, there’s no bow you can tie on the end of the story.  It will never be over.  Olivia and Jacob will always be my kids, and I will always be their mom.  That’s never over, and my job will not be done, until I take my last breath.

I know, though, that it’s okay.  My work for Christ isn’t ever over either.  I mean, we all always trying to do everything for His glory.  There is no vacation from being a follower of Christ.  We do it everywhere, and in everything.  At least, we should be.  It’s tiring, it’s overwhelming, sometimes it’s just seems unbearable.  God always reminds me that it’s not me doing it all.  It’s Him.  My job is to abide, to rest in Him.  None of this is up to me, thank you Jesus!  If it was, we’d all be in trouble.  Did I mention I have no idea what I’m doing?  God does.  He knows it all.  He sees it all.  All I need to do is just keep walking in His ways.  I just need to trust, and trust my kids to Him.  They are His anyway.  

Lord, please help us to get out of the way, and let you use us.  Please live in us, and be in complete control of our lives.  We are nothing without you, and we need you more than anything.  

That is my prayer for you and me.  That we stop trying , and just give all control to Him.  We will be so much better off, and so will our kids.  Who else can help us be the consistent, loving parents our kids need?

…Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life.  So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.  Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law.  Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.    Romans 6:13-14