Discovering me: Slay the giant of insecurity (Part 2)

A sweet friendship refreshes the soul. 007 is today’s guest writer and she is an amazing friend of mine. In fact, more like a sister to me. She is among life’s treasures to me for her gentle honesty, constant support and reassuring presence. I believe she’s given us nothing short of that in this article. Giving her personal testimony of her journey in discovering herself, her vulnerability offers great insight to the practicality of dealing with the giant of insecurity. She’s really poured herself out for us, hence we edited it all into two articles. Today, you shall receive the second part of her contribution to the Discovering me series following the first part that was posted yesterday.


Continued….

#6: Let me Break it Down

Okay. So I talked about my low self esteem affecting my social life, academic life, spiritual life and mental health.

I was in the pursuit of high self esteem, but my search has led me to my identity in God which points me away from self to God.

But what does this shift do to the things that are affected in my life?

Well the reason these things are so affected is actually because I am so focused on myself and gaining the approval of men: What will they think of me? I need to please so and so so I feel better about myself. I can’t afford to make a mistake. I’m not as good as so and so and hence I’m worthless. And so on…

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But in understanding my true identity I can learn to rest. Because I am assured of purpose in God. Because I understand my reason for living: to live to please God and not men. Because my attention is shifting from myself, my flaws and what I cannot do to yielding to God who I am so that I can do what He has equipped me to do.

Social Life : I have been experiencing a decreased anxiety that was rooted in trying to gain everyone’s approval,=, which is what makes, for me, social interaction hard.

Spiritual Life: I labour less and am less frustrated because I have a better knowledge about my identity in Christ and what He has made available to me.

Mental Health: Less anxiety and sadness and worry. More peace. More joy.

Academic Life: Improvement because of more focus on what I can do and a desire to glorify God and serve people in my field and less emphasis on what I have lost in the time I wasn’t ‘well’.

I definitely have a long way to go but what a comfort it is to know that this time my identity is found in the one that never changes! (Hebrews 13:8, Malachi 3:6)

 

#7: Tips For Long Lasting Change

a) Spend time reading the Word of God and meditating on it and choose to believe in it.

b) Spend time in prayer.

These two are essential in allowing the Spirit to reveal to you the lies of the devil. This will come as you read the Word and meditate upon it, because you will have a standard to measure thoughts about yourself that will help you identify falsehoods which lead to pride or self loathing. They are both ungodly because they cause you to focus more on self than on God which is what true identity leads us to do.

Both are also necessary for strengthening your faith even in the Word you are reading. Ask God to help you believe(Mark 9:24)

c) Repeat the Truth to yourself until it becomes your default way of thought

You see you formed an old pattern of thinking and have been functioning with it for x amount of time. So don’t beat yourself up when you don’t instantly switch your thought patterns.

You can stand infront of the mirror each morning and declare the truth about what God says about you.

You can write them down and stick them in your room so you are constantly reminded.

You can have them on your phone so you can look at them when the devil comes a-knockin’ through defeatist thought.

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d) Lean on God (2 Corintians 12:9)

Without the Spirit, our comforter and friend, I would have long ago given up. Sometimes ‘declaring truth’ over myself seemed and still seems futile because often the fruits weren’t instant. Oh but God my sustainance! Any changes I have made have been powered by His Grace and Spirit. So invite Him to lead the process of mind renewal. Ask Him to help you have a humble heart to receive correction, courage to face and accept your wrongs. Ask Him for a desire to please Him and bring Him glory in all you do that outweighs your desire to please men and stay comfortable. HE WILL GRANT IT!

e) Become aware of your feelings, thoughts and challenge them and replace if necessary.

Practical Example : You were doing okay today until you got the results for a Math test. After that you got down on yourself and that familiar feeling of defeat and doubt came back. You feel worthless and useless and…STOP!

When the feeling comes we often don’t try to figure out the source. You see often,not always, a feeling is triggered by something. An event. Words. Which gave rise to a thought which led to the feeling. So before you spiral into a pool of worthlessness,, try and trace back what may have happened that led to the feeling.

Eg: “Okay, right before I started to feel that way, I just got my test results and I didn’t do well.”

Then try figure out what thought you had regarding the results.

Eg : “Well I failed and I keep failing so I’m just a failure in school…and even that other thing I tried out I failed at so I’m good-for-nothing.”

Eh. Bro/siz. Hold up! Now challenge that thought!

Does a singular thing change the fact that God fashioned you for His Glory? Does it make you a failure? That is an over-generalization. One mistake does not define you, God does and He created you intentionally and purposefully. He saved you for good works (Ephesians 2:10) which means you are not failure.

If One mistake does not define you, God does and He created you intentionally and purposefully.

Also, would you tell that to a friend you were trying to encourage? No! So don’t think it about yourself.

Once you challenge the thought and replace it with the knowledge of your true identity, your feeling changes as well.

Feelings can feel like absolutes in the moment, but they are not. Make the Word of God your absolute and make your feelings subject to it.

Feelings can feel like absolutes in the moment, but they are not. Make the Word of God your absolute and make your feelings subject to it.

It’s not easy. At first it may look futile. It’s even hard to become aware of your thought. But be intentional about the process and it will get easier. Get some time in the evening to process your emotions. Pray for discernment. You can write it all down. Note the feeling, its trigger, the thoughts you have concerning about the event. Challenge the thought. Replace it with the truth of the Word of God. There may be no direct verses related to every thought but you can build based on the Word of God.

Then with time, you become more aware of the thoughts your thinking. You’re better able to recognize the lies of the evil one. Just be totally honest with yourself before God. It is the only way it will work. And cut off thoughts before it generates a powerful overwhelming feeling.

Remember it’s a lifetime commitment to transformation. It is not about perfection,but progress.

f)Seek professional help if it is too overwhelming.

I honestly know I just needed someone to listen to me as if my problems were real when I started seeing a psychologist. I had prayed. I had fasted and was convinced I needed to be practical. Turns out God works miraculously both in an instant and in a slower process such as mine. The process has led to the discovery of so much truth which I may not have gained had He simply taken the pain away. Anyway, if you do seek professional help, I encourage you to filter all you hear and are told through the Word of God.

 

#8 : Remember it’s not about US.

An understanding of our true identity means we realize that we are to yield in this life to the Spirit for sanctification and conformation into the image of Christ.(Romans 8:29)

If we are building an unshakable identity, it is so that we can be able to glorify God and reflect His righteousness and holiness and have knowledge of Him. Christ is the Image of the invisible God, therefore we are being conformed into Christ

And what did Christ Jesus come to do?

He came to serve.

So to be conformed to the Image of Christ is to obey God and serve others.

But how will you do so whole heartedly and more and more effectively each day if your mind is constantly on self? That is why we must always remember, it is not about us. We must remember that it’s all to enable us to LOOK UP(to God) and LOOK OUT(to others).

And wouldn’t that be the fulfillment of the greatest commandments according to Jesus?(Mark 12:28-31)

-Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind & soul(Those who obey God are they who love Him  (John14:21)

-Love your neighbor as yourself.

LOOK UP and LOOK OUT which incidentally are two phrases that the last blogger for this series-Ruth Pearl used-are the exact words God gave me the day I realized that the devil’s attack on my identity had me looking inward so much I could barely look to others. I could hardly serve others. I could hardly love others. How will they know we are Christians if not by our love?

But knowledge of our true identity should:

  • lead us to bear the fruits of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self control which will be evident in our relationship with others.
  • lead us to love each other with brotherly affection and outdo one another in showing each other honour (Romans 12:10) and in humility consider others above ourselves(Philippians 2:3)
  • lead us to thanksgiving to God (1 Thessalonians 5:18, Philippians 4:6)

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 #BONUS: True Identity and gifts/talents/abilities/work?

All this talk about righteousness is great but what about our abilities and talents?

That through faith we all receive righteousness doesn’t take away from the fact that in reality we are all different. Different personalities, interests, abilities, talents and so on. And I do believe that those are God-given. That just as intricately as He made the body(Psalms 139) so He made everything else about us. None is like the other, and so none can do what the other can do in the exact same way. So when you yield who you are, all your natural abilities-personality-talents, to God, He will mould and direct the person that you are to rule over His creation in a way that suits who you are while reflecting His righteousness more and more. In fact He will extra-equip you by giving you the gifts of the Spirit

Ephesians 2:10- For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

 Knowing our identity changes why we work and how we work. Now when we are considering our abilities and work and using them, it is not in the search for significance. We already know we are created by a God who is intentional about what He does and we know WHY we are created and saved. We don’t have to search for significance anymore. Now we do what we do, in order to bring God glory and in a way that reflects His righteousness.

That God makes us different, it follows that He calls us to different ways of serving Him, in different fields. Each ones’ work is necessary even for the fulfillment of God’s promise to provide for all our needs. Therefore your work is actually important to God and God is the reason for your work. There is a preacher and there is a farmer. There is a writer and a singer. There is a school teacher and a waitress.

Yielding to God will affect your work; whether it’s how you do it or what you do or your reason for doing it.

Eg: A farmer; You are interested in farming and so go into it. There is no particular Godly way to do it other than to do it with excellence. But what is the difference between you and the one who does not understand who they are and whose they are?

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You work but are aware that it is God that blesses the work and causes it to prosper.

You give thanks to Him at all times and acknowledge him .

You work excellently and diligently not to be praised by men, but because even Christ rose to preach excellently and diligently and it glorifies God.

You pay your workers well because the Spirit in you work righteousness that bears the fruit of justice and kindness.

You work with others well because the Spirit of God that you yield to works the fruits of the Spirit(Galatians 5:22)

A minister’s job seems more directly related to the glory of God.

But in fact, all are necessary. All are important to God. All can be used to glorify God in those who understand their identity as God’s workmanship created to reflect His righteousness and glorify Him.

I may not break down how we can each serve God, but with this hopefully I have armed you with knowledge that you do have something to pour out for God and the invitation is to find out what that is.

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Yeeeeiii! I am done! Waah…this article has taken so long to compile. I have learned so much. Honestly some things are so new to me and it has not been easy to write all of it down. I am amazed and thank God for by His Grace I have started and completed this.

I feel I want to say that there are many afflictions that come to us that are out of our control; there’s nothing we can really do about them but turn to God, give thanks and be comforted in His love.

But the mental anguish that comes from failing to understand our identity doesn’t fall under that category. The Word of God is so much more than about our identity but it definitely addresses it as well. So let us build ourselves in the most Holy Word in all things including our identity so that we can LOOK UP and LOOK OUT. And live out our TRUE IDENTITY and PURPOSE as children of God.

God bless!

Looking forward to the comments section so I can learn as well.

#007 OUT 🙂

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