Okay - first I must confess that though this title declares the cry of my heart, it is not MY title. So Long, Insecurity is the title of Beth Moore's latest book. Although Beth is one of my favorite authors and I am so grateful for her, I am more interested in bragging on my Jesus this morning. Allow me to paint a picture for you of His profound faithfulness and guidance in my life...
I have struggled with certain fears for as long as I can remember. Last year at this time, I thought my most prominent fear was the fear of failure but during a worship service, while in the middle of lifting praises to God, the Lord pulled back the veil and showed me that this was just a side-effect of my deepest fear... That the real me wasn't enough! I was dreadfully afraid that the real me wasn't enough to lead a congregation of God's people in worship... that the real me wasn't enough to hold my husband's passion... that the real me wasn't enough to raise godly children... And so, I found myself exhausted from all of the running around trying to be "super me" and live up to the unattainable expectation I had placed on myself - perfection! After all, there was nothing more that could be done beyond perfection. Wheww! No wonder I feared failure. It happened all of the time!
If I could categorize this last 8 months, it would be desperately trying to do the next right thing while all the while caving in to the constant lying of my emotions. I didn't feel capable. I didn't feel empowered. I've come to the conclusion that when the Lord wants to mature us and get us free in a specific area, He gives us LOTS of practice!
So, I've had many circumstances, especially in the area of leading worship, that have brought me to my knees. There - now the Lord had me in the posture that He could do something with. One of the phrases on my blog is "When life is more than you can stand - kneel!" My theme was now becoming "Lord, I don't know what to do but my eyes are upon You." And He's been faithful!
During a recent unpleasant circumstance, a great friend of mine said, "Karrie, you have a stronghold of insecurity." I did not! Sure, I struggled with insecurity (like everybody else) but... the Lord stopped me in my tracks. It was precisely this mindset that kept me in bondage. Beliefs such as I struggle with insecurity sounded harmless. Who doesn't? The truth was that I did, in fact, have a stronghold of insecurity and it had a strong hold on me. That's dangerous and it requires immediate attention! You know what else? I think I believed that confidence = pride (therefore, bad) and I shudder to even suggest it... that insecurity = humility. How grossly wrong! That was last week.
I confessed this sin to the Lord and to my trusted prayer partners. No sooner did I do that than one of my friends was ordering a book for herself online and a pop-up recommended Beth's new book. My friend thought I would be interested. I was and ordered the book.
I caught myself asking the Lord, "could I really be free from insecurity?" Good grief! I didn't know that I had unbelief intertwined in there. I repented of that too and the anticipation and excitement that began growing in me was palpable.
I found that the old hymn "Victory in Jesus" was on auto-repeat in my mind. So much so that I felt led to sing a real rockin' version of it (as done by Travis Cottrell) at church this Sunday. I wanted to let the worship team hear it ahead of time. I knew that they could listen to it online through the Living Proof Ministries blog so I headed there to get the link. What was the latest blog entry? They were looking for "sisters" who were ready to be free from insecurity and willing to sign the roll call to get free together. It started that day and I wanted to say "I'm in" but I didn't have the book yet. I'm a rule follower so you don't start doing something until you have all of the tools. That's when my friend walked into my office with my brand new book in hand. Thank You, Jesus!
So here are some of the things that really struck me as I set out to complete the first assignment:
We were to write a letter to the Lord in the front of the book. Sort of a starting point for this journey. I wrote similiar things to what I've already told you about my fears about the real me... until I heard Him whisper to my heart "you fear that the real you is not enough for Me to love." He was right. No wonder God felt the need to say in His Word, "be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10) or as the New American Standard translation puts it "cease striving and know I am God." Who was I fooling? God says that "while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." His love for me is not contingent on what I do. I can not earn His love. He freely gives it. I've known this with my head for years - I just didn't know that I wasn't embracing it with my heart.
"My entire life story grows like a wild shoot from the thorny soil of insecurity. Every fear I've faced, every addiction I've nursed, every disastrous relationship and idiotic decision I've made has wormed its way out of that sorrowfully fertile ground. Through the power and grace of God, I've dealt with so many side effects of it, but oddly, until now, I've somehow overlooked its primary source." (Beth Moore, So Long, Insecurity, pg. xi) No wonder I've gone through seasons of being free from food related strongholds for seasons only to find myself back in the grip of them. Food is only a coping mechanism that I have for medicating the pain of insecurity. (I see more freedom on the horizon - yippee!)
"Insecurity among women is epidemic, but it is not incurable. Don't expect it to go away quietly, however. We're going to have to let truth scream louder to our souls than the lies that have infected us." (ibid, pg. xiii)
"Are we honestly going to insist on drawing our security from people - men or women - who ave oblivious to the inordinate amount of weight we give to their estimation of us?" (ibid, pg. 9)
"I want some soul-deep security drawn from a source that never runs dry and never disparages us for requiring it." (ibid, pg. 10)
"My head knows good and well that this doesn't define me. Why can't I get that message to my heart? Listen carefully: the enemy of our souls has more to gain by our setbacks than by our succumbing to an initial assault. The former is infinitely more demoralizing. Far more liable to make us feel hopeless and tempt us to quit." (ibid, pg. 11) Like my struggle with food. Oh, can you see how the Lord brought me to this point?!
"Setbacks just make us feel weak and stupid: I should have conquered this by now... Somehow I convince myself that if I could just develop a healthy enough psyche, life couldn't touch me. I'd be completely immovable... I'm forever wanting to go someplace with God. I forget that in order to really want to GO, something has to happen to make me want to leave where I am. Maybe we're all just sick to death of taking three steps forward and two steps back. Call me a math wizard, but isn't that still one step forward? ... And if we don't lose that ground, aren't we on our way somewhere new? Willing to take three more steps - even if we lose two?" (ibid, pg. 12-13)
"Thank God, a time comes in a willing life when you're ready to face a Goliath-sized foe all by itself and fight it to the stinking death." AMEN! (ibid, pg. 14)