Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
Growing up below the poverty line fed feelings of inadequacy in my life early on. Our family struggled to buy toilet paper, let alone new clothes. Many teased me when I wore hand-me-downs. I remember feeling embarrassed to wear my knock-off Keds and stone washed jeans, hoping no one would notice they weren't the real deal.
Early on I learned I was not as good as everyone else, particularly girls. You know, I didn't fit in with the "in crowd" or the popular ones. My family didn't have the right house or drive the right car or have the right jobs. These experiences as a young girl made me feel inferior to those around me.
These feelings followed me into my young adult life. Conversations took place in my mind. I wondered what others thought of me (too much). Sometimes I contrasted my life with other girl's lives, wishing mine was different. Wow, she has it all together. My clothes are frumpy compared to hers. I'm not as attractive as her. Does she ever fail? I wonder what life would be like to be her? Her complexion is perfect. Entertaining these thoughts only led to more feelings of inferiority.
Inferior feelings lead to insecurity. This is a lonely place to be. Been there? I've been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. Insecurity has reared its ugly head in my life when I have compared myself to others, valued the wrong things, measured myself by the wrong standards, and forgotten who I am in Christ. Recognizing this has helped me overcome insecurity.
Comparing ourselves to others happens periodically and even innocently. Hearing a friend talk about her success with potty training may make you question if you are doing the right thing. Watching other friends shop till they drop may cause you to wish your aging wardrobe would magically be replaced. Sometimes our comparisons are based on the external. It would sure be nice to have a body like her. If only my hair was that pretty. I wish I had half of her creative talent. I wish my kids were well behaved like hers so I looked like Mother-of-the-Year.
The problem with comparing ourselves with others is that "others" are the wrong standard. Our measuring stick is Jesus. We should compare ourselves to Him and how we should live according to His desire for us. Comparing ourselves to others is a trap sure to leave us robbed of our true value. When we care more what God thinks about us, the temptation to play the comparison game will diminish.
Insecurity follows a progression. What we value is what we will pursue. What we pursue is what we think will make us secure. If we value beauty, thinness, fashion etc. then we will pursue them. And, most likely we will compare our lives to those who have the things we value, whatever they are. As I shared last week, for many years I valued my body more than my Beloved. I placed security in the wrong thing. All the while I looked at skinny girls wishing I was them.
Security alert: Remembering who we are in Christ Jesus is the foundation for establishing security in our lives. We are a child of the most High God, daughters of a King. If we value what God thinks of us, then we will look to Him to give us worth and security. He is the ultimate Value Giver. He gives us value because He made us. Secondly, He bought us with His blood. He expressed love to us beyond comprehension. By dying for our sin He opened the door for us to experience a relationship with Him that gives us more security than any other.
It is not who we are, it is whose we are. We are His workmanship or handiwork. This is what makes us so special. Ephesians 2:10 declares, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." We all have a design. We were designed with a purpose in mind. We shouldn't all be the same. It is this uniqueness in Christ that sets us apart and gives us a sense of identity. This type of identity rooted in Christ brings about security. When you know whose you are, along with who you are, it doesn't matter what the world says, it only matters what God thinks.
We live in a harsh world that makes distinctions based on wrong ideals and misplaced values. The enemy would like nothing more than for Christians to live insecure lives, forgetting who they are in Christ. Believing our value is in Him is one thing, but really accepting and living it is entirely different.
When we accept it, we won't strive for man's approval. When we live it, the opinions of others diminish. When our security and significance is truly in Christ, the compulsion to live up to the world's standards becomes less important. This is when our values start to match His. Forcing ourselves to not base our security in these wrong ideals will help us overcome insecurity.
As an adult woman I can honestly look back on my childhood regardless of the cards I was dealt, and not be insecure. In truth, it helped shape me into the woman I am today. Quite frankly, I happen to like hand-me-downs. I embrace my upbringing with confidence and thank God for who He has made me in Him. Thank you for replacing my insecurity with security in you, Lord. My value and worth in your eyes is more important to me than what others think. I can walk confidently in whose I am. You fulfill me. You sustain me. You complete me. Amen.
Ask the Lord to help you overcome any areas of insecurity in your life. Consistently pray that He will replace your insecurity with security in Him.
When tempted to compare yourself to others, measure yourself by the wrong standard, or value the wrong things, seek the Lord's help in living beyond these wrong ideals.
When does insecurity rear its ugly head in your life? Who do you compare yourself to? What standard do you use to measure yourself? How do you value the wrong things?
How can your life reveal that your security and significance is truly found in Jesus Christ? How will your actions and perceptions of others change as a result of this?
Heart Changing Word:
Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV) "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."
John 1:12 "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God."
Galatians 1:10 "Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."
Galatians 6:3-4 "If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else."
Copyright 2011 by Hester Christensen. All rights reserved.