It’s a big issue and it affects so many areas of our lives. It’s Satan’s way of twisting the truth about everything we know from our physical appearance to the validity of God’s word.
Something God has been vigilantly calling me to do these past weeks is believe in his promises. And ya know what, it’s really hard! Which got me thinking, why? Why is it so hard to believe God for the promises spoken in his very real, very living word?
I shared with you all a book I would be re-reading this week, Beth Moore’s So Long Insecurity, You’ve Been A Bad Friend To Us. It just sort of clicked with me that the last time I read this book, I was really struggling with self-image, self-esteem, and identity in Christ. When I think of insecurity, I think of the struggle to overcome negative thoughts about myself. I am most certainly still a work in progress, I definitely struggle with negative self image at times, but it occurred to me that Satan knows that in general, that battle has been won. I have defeated the boss on that level (for you gamers) and while it can impose a threat if I let it, I’ve moved up a level, to a different insecurity, a new enemy of the mind.
I care very little about what others think about my appearance. Well, that’s a lie, but I will say I care much less than I have in the past. For those who struggle with this very real issue, let me tell you, it is useless to try to please anyone with your looks. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in a room of 20 people, you will be viewed in 20 different ways. You can’t cater to them all, and really, why would you want to? The only opinion that matters is God’s. Wear what you like, haters will hate whether you are the best looking person in the room or the worst.
Sometimes, it’s an attitude, not a look we are trying to convince others of. How many of us plaster a smile on face (or refuse to smile) and try to carry ourselves with confidence, just to prove to others that we have it all together? We don’t, and we can’t. The truth is, if it’s respect and authority you desire to command from a room full of people, your swagger will fail. Without God, we are nothing. We have nothing to be confident in. Only when you accept the Holy Spirit in your life will you shine. You will convey that confidence, not because of anything you do, but because of the light of Christ within you.
I am still walking away from the battleground of insecurity in my identity. I have overcome, but it’s a fresh win. That monster threatens to rear its ugly head again daily. I am not what I do. I am not a label of any kind. I am a child of God. I am a warrior for truth. I am a messenger of hope. I am only these things because of Christ’s loving rescue of my soul. Without that, no job title, no amount of wealth, no relationship, no admiration from this world means anything. It’s just a vapor. A lie.
So if insecurity in who I am is not the issue, what is?
I think for me, it is an insecurity the willingness of God to keep his promises. I know he can. I know he has. I can recall many stories of people who live by faith and God always provides for them. God’s word is full of examples of miracles and rewarded faith. I myself have seen God provide for my needs in impossible circumstances. It’s not that I don’t believe he can. I think it’s that I don’t believe he will.
Well, why not, you ask? If you know God to be good, you believe his Word to be true, you believe that as a child of God, your prayers are heard and the promises of the Bible are for you, what’s the problem?
Have you ever prayed for something that you believed with every fiber of your being was God’s will, only to be told no? Have you ever looked to the Word of God, prayed its power over a situation or person, believed in faith and with an obedient heart and gotten nothing in return? Not even a simple no, just more questions? Or maybe you’ve prayed for provision in the past, fully expecting relief, only to receive far less than you expected. What you received had to be stretched and just really wasn’t enough to answer the prayer. Maybe it felt half like a miracle, and half like a disappointment.
It sounds bad, but I’m being honest, this has totally happened me, several times. I am not complaining. My kids and I have survived on my minimum wage jobs and threats of homelessness and starvation for 9 years. Never once did my kids go without something to eat, even if it was a can of ravioli. Never once did we go without a roof over our heads, even if we had no beds, even if we all had to sleep in the same room. God always made a way. But if I’m honest, when I prayed, I hoped for more than survival.
I prayed for a relationship to turn around. I prayed that the man I thought I loved would give his life to God and come back to me. Over and over. God said no, even though I truly believed it was God’s will at the time. Over time, God revealed to me that a relationship with that man was not his will, but it still affected my trust in……
Here’s where it gets tricky. Did these “disappointing” answers to prayer affect my trust in God? Or my trust in my ability to know and understand the will of God?
Years later, I look back on these prayers and ponder why God didn’t answer them differently. And by differently I mean, my way. The way I see it, a relationship is built on trust. You build trust over time by seeing consistent reactions to events and situations that occur within the relationship. God did not give me everything I wanted when I asked because it wouldn’t have built trust. The long scary years of total dependence on God, the consistent provision, always giving exactly what I needed at exactly the right time, and continuing to believe in God’s goodness, despite the hardships built endurance in my faith. Watching God say no and shut the door on relationships, jobs, and a myriad of other desires showed me that I could trust God to lead me in the right direction, even if it didn’t make sense at the time. I can’t tell you how many times I found out some tidbit of information that made me so grateful that God loved me enough to say no, even when it seemed to match up with God’s word.
So I think what’s happened here is that I know that I can fully trust God, but I don’t trust myself. My faith in him is strong and has been proven many times over. But it looks like what I am asking for is often somehow not matching up with God’s will, and therefore, my prayers are not being answered the way I want. Truthfully, I know better than to want my will. I know that I don’t have a clue what’s good for me. But I do want to be aligned with God’s will. I want my prayers to be heard and answered in my favor because they are in alignment with God’s will.
My new insecurity is battling Satan’s lie that I will not receive God’s promises because I am not capable of knowing God’s will.
So how can we combat this lie?
Obviously, our hearts and desire must be aligned with God’s in order to know his will. Let’s face it, we will never fully know God’s will for a particular situation. At any given point in our journey with Christ, we will be required to believe in what we can’t see. Fact of life. However, we can align our hearts with his, align our desires with his, and let go of our need to have control over our lives. A lot of getting to this place is letting go. It’s important to remember that God’s way are higher than our ways, his thoughts are higher than our thoughts. He is all-powerful, he knows all, sees all, is everywhere. He’s not only in control of the situation, he’s orchestrating it for your good! Let him do his thing, and trust that whatever the outcome, you will be ok!
The other thing that’s really important, and not stressed enough, is knowing God’s word. Guys, it is absolutely vital to know the Word of God. You will not be able to tell the difference between God’s real light and Satan’s cheap imitation if you don’t educate yourself on the difference. If you don’t educate yourself on the behaviors of a sociopathic narcissist, you will never know you’ve fallen prey to one until it’s too late. Recognising abuse masked as affection is key to combating being prey to such manipulation. And concurrently, knowing who you are, what you stand for, being confident in the truth about yourself, will also make the lies stand out as the falsehoods that they are. Well, Satan is nothing more than a professional sociopathic narcissist. Know the truth. Know the character of God. Know who are as his child. Know what God’s word really says, and know the tactics that Satan will use to manipulate you. Read your Bible!!!! A Lot!!! Like, all the time!
Last, and the most dreaded, obey. It does no good to know the Word of God and do the exact opposite of what it says. This will not make you popular. People will think you’re being ridiculous. Oh well! I would rather be dubbed a crazy holy roller any day in comparison with living in constant anxiety apart from God’s awesome plan. Sin and disobedience will absolutely steal the peace in your heart that comes with following him in faith. Will God still work in your life? Yup, but you make all kinds of wrong turns, because you won’t be able to hear his voice. Your peace will be replaced with guilt and shame that will destroy all the good things God put in your life. True story, I should know.
This is the reason so many of us are enslaved in prisons of our own makings, because we fall for one of Satan’s carefully crafted manipulations. It’s why we have a hard time trusting the truth, and trusting in our desires. It’s why we’re so insecure.
I am believing in God’s promises this week, not from a place of blind faith, not from a place of wanting my own way, but from a place of humility and obedience. I’m in a place where years of training in the valley has taught me who I am, and who I am not. A place where God has shown me time and time again that he knows better than I do, and that he will say no to good things to protect me. He will say yes to hard things to lead me deeper into his presence and into the life of purpose he created me for. I am equipped with experiential knowledge of Satan’s tactics and the consequences of such. I believe, even if with only a mustard seed of faith, that God is good, he is for me, and that he does want the abundant life for me. The promises and desires he has written on my heart will come to pass, because I have given them fully to him, not because I am demanding them with justification. I will wait patiently for his timing, not mine, and continue to gain a deeper knowledge of who he is in the meantime.
I invite you to do the same.
I feel like this post is all over the place, and it’s super long so I just want to apologize. It may have been written more for myself than for you, so I appreciate you bearing with me. I do pray with all my heart that if you identify with this message, that you will let go of your fear, give it to God, and pour yourself into his Word. You won’t regret it!