“We know that the person we used to be was crucified with him to put an end to sin in our bodies. Because of this we are no longer slaves to sin.” Romans 6:6 (GW)
“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children…” Romans 8:15 (NLT)
“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you or abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 (NLT)
I have battled insecurity my whole life. I’ve always been a people pleaser, constantly trying to measure up to the multitude of expectations the world has of me.
When I was younger, I desperately wanted to please my parents. I loved being the center of their attention, and I wanted them to be so proud of me. I can still hear my dad boasting about how I loved Led Zeppelin, just like him. Still to this day, anytime a Zeppelin song comes on, I think of those words and feel a little pang of pride.
As I got older, I wanted to fit in with my peers. I wanted the kids in school to like me. I remember wanting to try out for cheerleading in fifth grade and getting laughed at by the “pretty girls”. I still regret letting those words keep me from trying something I wanted to do.
Going through middle school, I wanted the boys to like me. I tried to be like the cool girls, even got invited to hang out with them a few times, but somehow, I was always left out, the one everyone ignored. Maybe it was because I had acne and frizzy hair. Maybe it was because I looked like a stick, too skinny with no shape to me whatsoever (to think, I used to complain about that!). Maybe it was because my parents couldn’t afford to buy me eight of the same $60 GAP sweatshirts in every color, or maybe because I wasn’t allowed to date or go to parties, but whatever the reason, I struggled to make friends, and a nagging thought entered my mind that has never left.
There’s something wrong with you.
My high school years were spent desperately trying to hide that “something wrong” from my peers, and really from myself. I attempted to bury it deep inside where it could never be found, and instead tried to prove to the world that I was just like them. I sought attention in all the wrong places, lying, manipulating, sneaking around, desperate for acceptance from anyone willing to give it. Even though I had a couple of really good friends, it wasn’t enough. I wanted everyone to like me, I wanted to be wanted and admired by everyone. I was on a mission to prove to that outcast, ugly duckling buried inside that it would never prevail.
The only thing I proved to anyone was that I was a wannabe, a follower and an awkward one at that. And unfortunately, I landed myself in some really bad situations, the consequences of which still haunt me today.
The feelings of worthlessness grew unbearably strong, and I did anything I could to numb my mind. At this point, I just wanted to feel normal in any way, and I didn’t even consider that anyone could love the broken shell I had become. So when someone came into my life and refused to take no for an answer, I saw his infatuation with me as love, and felt I should be lucky that someone would rescue me from my dark and lonely existence.
I married him right out of highschool and his “love” quickly crumbled, revealing to me once again, that I was nothing. I let him treat me like I was nothing, wallowing in a cycle of depression, drug use, and suicidal thoughts, hating myself and the life I had created.
We tried to keep our very unhealthy marriage alive. We had two children, even moved several states away for a fresh start, but our tumultuous relationship worsened. By the time I got the courage to leave him, I felt so dead inside, I couldn’t even get out of bed for days at a time.
Antidepressants got me through the first few months and I desperately tried to rely on God to be my strength, but my trust in God, along with everyone and everything else, was broken. I found myself trying and striving to earn his acceptance and love, while at the same time, not even slightly believing that it could be attained.
I fell into old patterns, numbing my days with work, another tumultuous relationship, alcohol and percocet until one day, I felt the firm hand of God telling me ENOUGH.
By this point, I had burned every bridge, ruined every friendship, hurt everyone I knew. and although I felt God’s strong hand there to guide me, I could not help but feel alone. The nagging thought now screamed into my mind, There’s something wrong with you. You don’t belong. You’re despicable. Unloveable.
I spent months repenting and crying out to God for forgiveness and healing. Still the voice remained. I passionately threw myself into my relationship with God and slowly, he led me out of the desert I was lost in. Still, the voice screamed. Every person I meet, every job I take, every church I try, I cannot seem to break free from that “something wrong” I buried years ago, that train wreck of a girl who used to be me.
I have grown in so many ways over the past few years, overcome so many challenges, built a relationship with my Savior, and let him heal so many wounds in my heart. Yet, the voice still screams. I am still a train wreck, still burning every bridge, never able to hold on to anything important in my life.
Over the years I have watched my inability to love or be loved impact my children, the way they view life. They are untrusting and afraid to believe in anything or anyone. I am slowly watching the life drain out of everything I touch, including my relationship with my children, the man I love, my family, friends, jobs, small groups at church, finances.
It’s the voice. It can be temporarily silenced when I wholeheartedly trust God, but it never dies. It waits for me to exhale then it whispers softly, slowly growing louder and louder until it’s deafening and I can hear nothing else.
I don’t know how to stop it.
Not on my own.
It feels like I’m in a room, like a small closet. It’s dark, and filled with some kind of slimy liquid that distorts everything. The walls are not plaster, but a stretchy casing, a thicker lining of the slime inside. It’s always been dark inside the room, and although I don’t really like it, I’ve never tried to leave. Years ago, when God said to me, “Enough”, I was awakened to a Light, an awareness of an existence outside the room. The Light, it calls me. Something about it makes me aware of how trapped I am. It shows the truth, that I am a prisoner here. I can’t see how to get out, I can’t hear anything but the voice, the slime distorts everything. But I know if I can get out, a new existence waits for me. I push against the stretchy outer walls of the bubble like room, as far as it will stretch, hoping to get a clear glimpse of what is out there in the light. I feel like I can break through, but the voice, it tells me that the Light will only run from me, that I am where I belong. It reminds me of the infatuation I once thought was love, how it turned into a monster, that I can only avoid such things by staying in the bubble.
For years I have stood here, stretching that bubble just until the breaking point, my fear of leaving this room keeping me from freedom, yet still wanting to feel the warmth of the light on my skin. I know what awaits me if I break through. The truth about myself, about who I am, about my identity.
I am terrified of that truth, terrified of the exposure of my slime filled existence, terrified of rejection and disappointment from the Light. Terrified maybe, that the Light is only an illusion, that freedom from this bubble will leave me lost and alone in a terrifying and unfamiliar world that I have more than proven I am incapable of navigating.
So I stay. And I know now that the longer I stay, the longer I am damning all of the things God has for me in this life.
I know the truth. I know the prison full of slime is a lie, though sometimes it feels safe, even comforting at times. I know that who I really am is outside these walls, that the Light is waiting for me to enter into it and shine just as bright, yet I let the fear hold me captive in darkness.
I know Jesus is my Savior, I know that I am really free, free to break the thin, stretchy lining of the prison anytime. But I don’t. I stay.
In the presence of the Light, I can see that I am not alone, that there are multitudes of others, in their own prisons, many like me, aware of the light, free of the darkness, but afraid to break out.
I didn’t write this post for sympathy, it is not a cry for help (I know who my Helper is). I wrote it because it a real struggle that I have yet to overcome, and because I know I am not alone. I know so many of you are living in the same bubble, imprisoned by the same loneliness, frightened by the same voice screaming, “You’re not good enough, there’s something wrong with you.”
I know there are so many of you that have listened to that voice for far too long. You know it’s a lie, but it still infects everything you do and everyone one you meet.
Some of you still don’t know that the slimy darkness that keeps you isolated from love is a lie. You don’t yet see the Light out there, waiting for you to acknowledge who you really are.
I can’t give you all the answers, I am still in a state of building the courage to step out of my own prison. But if this hit home for you at all, take comfort in knowing, you’re not alone. I would challenge you to, together, with me, be brave. Take this journey with me to see what’s on the other side.
I am going to recommend a book to you. It’s a series of 4 episode style books called Eyes Wide Open, by one of my favorite authors, Ted Dekker. You can get it by clicking anywhere on this sentence. This book is what first made me aware that I was living in a dark slimy pit, that there was even something else out there. Dekker’s writing style and my love of anything science fiction/fantasy opened my eyes to key truths that God’s word said about me, that I had somehow not been able to make a connection with before.
I am going to be focusing a lot of my attention on the subject of insecurity and feelings of worthlessness, and my posts this week will cater somewhat to the biblical truths found in this book. I would love for you to read with me and follow along in the journey together. I want to hear how God speaks to you about who you really are. If you choose to get each episode of the book separately, you can the first one, “Identity” for free with the link below.
I will be praying for each one of you, and if you need someone to talk to, feel free to private message me.