“There is a fundamental need in all girls to be liked…and to be accepted.” Lysa TerKeurst, Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl.
Oh MY. Can I get an AMEN to that one! The hoops we jump through, the trials we endure, the shoes we stuff our feet into – just to be validated as a card carrying, “preferred member” of our precious gender are beyond mind-blowing! But the longer we live here on earth, the more obvious it becomes…our worth should not (and certainly DOES NOT) come from what our sister friends think of us. It comes from GOD.
One of the hardest things we must do as daughters of Christ is to stop looking to other people for our worth, value, and acceptance. I’m here to tell you, someone will always have it “better” than us; her grass will always look greener; and she will always be 10 pounds lighter; and maddeningly, her baggage will appear to fit neatly under the first class seat in front of her when ours takes up the entire overhead bin and spills out over the edge way back in coach! Why can’t we have her seat? Why is life so easy for her and not for me?
But, oh sister, let me tell you something about GOD. GOD tells us quite clearly that we are precious to Him. He has His own plan cooked up for us that bears no resemblance at all to “hers”. And that is what Lysa TerKeurst means when she says, “I am not equipped to handle what she has – both good and bad.”
“For I know the plans I have for YOU, says the Lord. Plans to prosper YOU, and not to harm YOU, plans to give YOU hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (emphasis mine!)
“For I have loved YOU with an everlasting love; and drawn YOU with unfailing kindness. Jeremiah 31:3 NIV (again, my emphasis!)
YOU. All this, and more, for YOU. Go look at yourself in the mirror right now and say, “YOU!”! Sure, for me too, and for all of us. But YOU were not left out of all this, you know. Take your rightful place as His beloved and beautiful daughter! Don’t let your insecurities get the better of YOU!
Wishing we were different, shunning God’s purpose for us, and coveting the lives of other women leads us straight into the devil’s tangled webs of “why me”, “why NOT me”, “if only I had…I would be loved”. And THAT leads us into resentment, shunning others, gossip, and sometimes, outright lies. And once we put THAT stuff out there, we officially have put our “ugly” on.
I don’t say any of this without calling myself to the mat FIRST. I sheepishly admit to you that I will fall prey to the insecurity trap time and time again, if I’m not consciously living IN and WITH God’s love. It isn’t pretty when I trip, even if it does give me a momentary feeling of superiority. That moment passes quickly enough, and all I’m left with is loneliness and regret. It isn’t worth it, sisters. Trust me – I know.
So what DOES it look like to operate in/with His love? Well, a few weeks ago, we talked about changing broken records – in other words, take that nasty thought that creeps in and replace it with one of His loving truths! (Example: I can’t do anything right becomes I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me – Philippians 4:13). Self-hate is replaced with Holy Love. That is operating IN His love.
Second, you can actually use your insecurity to draw you closer to Him and to extend grace to someone else in whom you see a similar area of anxiety. In her book, Lysa gives the example of walking into a room full of women and feeling a little out of place and unsure where to turn, and maybe a little shy! Instead of running for the door, look for someone else in the room having the same issue, and extend HER the God-given grace of your companionship and friendship in that moment. Assuring someone that she is not alone is one of the fastest ways to secure a trusting friendship. That is operating WITH His love.
A friend loves you all the time; but a SISTER FRIEND was born to help in times of trouble. Proverbs 17:17, ERV. (emphasis – and Sister Friend wording – mine!)
Let’s work on not letting our own stuff get in the way of loving one another. Let’s reflect the love of God in times when we are tempted to shrink into insecurity. Who’s with me?
I love this Japanese proverb called “The House of 1000 Mirrors”! I think it beautifully paints a cool picture of the difference it makes to shun insecurity in favor of living in love:
The House of 1000 Mirrors
Long ago in a small, far away village, there was a place known as the House of 1000 Mirrors. A small, happy little dog learned of this place and decided to visit. When he arrived, he bounced happily up the stairs to the doorway of the house. He looked through the doorway with his ears lifted high and his tail wagging as fast as it could. To his great surprise, he found himself staring at one thousand other happy little dogs with their tails wagging just as fast as his. He smiled a great smile, and was answered with one thousand great smiles just as warm and friendly as his. As he left the house, he thought to himself, “This is a wonderful place. I will come back and visit it often.”
In this same village, another little dog, who was not quite as confident as the first one, decided to visit the house. He slowly climbed the stairs and hung his head low as he looked into the door. When he saw one thousand frightened dogs staring back at him, he growled at them and was horrified to see one thousand little dogs growling back at him. As he left, he thought to himself, “That is a horrible place, and I will never go back there again.”
When we operate in insecurities and anxieties in our relationships, we are the like the dog who focuses on what he thinks is wrong with him – we see the bad and the ugly (kind of like Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh!) and slink away in fear and anger (and, YES, I know Eeyore is donkey, not a dog, but you know what I mean!).
BUT, when we operate in/with God’s love in those same relationships, we are like the dog who radiates warmth, openness, friendliness, and love in his reflection. In my house, we call that “being a big ole waggy-tail butt girl” in honor of our sweet Cupcake, whose tail literally wags so hard when she sees us, it looks like a helicopter blade rotating in full-on flight! Nothing makes us smile bigger than coming home to THAT!
Who will you choose to be today – Eeyore or Cupcake? I’m going for a Cupcake kind of day, myself. Join me!
Up later this week: Learn to LOVE what you see!