Discovering me: Slay the giant of insecurity (Part 1)

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 first part of her contribution to the Discovering me series and subsequently, the second part tomorrow morning.


“Good morning /Good afternoon/Good evening/Hi /Hello /Hey / Niaje /Sema Reader!”
No one can say hajasalimiwa venye yeye husalimiwa! (None can say that they haven’t been greeted as they usually are.) Gotta meet your reader’s needs! 😀 But you know, chances are that I have missed something… You know, there are people who don’t greet each other. The conversation just begins. Especially guys. Guys just do the hand thing. You know the one where they hurt each other’s shoulders but pretend they’re okay? Then they start talking. Or it begins with insults. Then they carry on from there…

So here is a blank space to meet those needs that I didn’t meet before I continue,
__________
Hahaha 🙂

So Hi.
I am 007. Going undercover for this assignment. Though I probably shouldn’t have said that *insert face palm*.  I will say that I am a University Student and I am a female. But that’s all you get. 😛 My assignment? To share with you my struggle with insecurity/low self esteem and the insight I have gained in my search for identity.

So straight to it.

First I’d like to define two terms that I have used throughout;
Insecurity (Emotional) : uncertainty or anxiety about oneself.
Low self esteem: Self esteem is defined as how we value ourselves. It is how we perceive our value to the world and how valuable we think we are to others. A low self esteem is therefore when a person chronically views themselves as unworthy, incapable, and incompetent.

I have been struggling with insecurity and low self esteem for a number of years. I recently came to realize it’s been just about 10 years. Of course I didn’t leave my mother’s womb like that. 🙂 For the first decade of my life, I was all ‘good’ by the measure of the world. Confident. Academically strong. Outgoing. Always getting chosen to represent my class. Being used as the point of reference by family and adults : “Kuwa kama nani?” (Be like him/her )…I was nani.

I was young and frankly a bit lonely, so I wanted to be kind and accepted. Thus, I leaned back from the things that made me stand out, except academics.

But stepping back so that others could be recognized, coupled with an underlying desire for acceptance from people who ‘made’ me feel bad about who I was and how I was raised, morphed into emotional insecurity/crippling self-doubt/people-pleasing tendencies/low self-esteem as I heard them described by people struggling with the same thing. It’s all intertwined really, so I can’t say what led to what…all I know is it’s a deadly concoction (cool word 🙂 ).

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This concoction is one that doesn’t stay bottled up, but one that spills over into every facet of life. It affected my social life, my walk of faith with God, my mental health and even my academic life with time. I am a fighter though, and I believe by the Grace of God I was able to maintain some level of function despite the defeatist thoughts in my head. Even so, being around people (even friends) slowly got harder and harder. I would lock myself up and stay unseen for days to avoid the anxiety that came with being around people. School was increasingly torturous. I couldn’t concentrate, grasp content or understand as well as I should. I even began to doubt my intellectual abilities. My memory became horrible.

But in the midst of this downward spiral, my relationship with God grew because I was heavily reliant on Him for daily functioning. At the same time though, I was riddled with unbelief concerning His love for me and trust me, that’s not a good place to serve Him from. Second guessing myself all the time became second nature; worry, self-doubt and misery my constant companions.

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It all got too much and I quit serving God as a leader (yet again) and started missing class. I couldn’t read so I spent my days either in a numb state or in tears before God on the floor. The good days (because I had enough of those to keep me and the people around me thinking I was okay) became less and less. Eventually, I suffered the consequences at the end of the school year and this alerted my parents and I that something was seriously wrong. Talk about wake up calls! I had been saying it all along but at that point I KNEW, for sure, that for life to continue, something had to shift. Eventually, something did. (I have skipped a lot of details but my initial document was 14pages, so I gotta cut out a lot of stuff. Haha! Summaries are hard bana! Mtazisoma in my book 😉 )

Anyway, with the support of my parents, I sought professional help.
And led and powered by God, I am slowly getting better.
Probably slower than it should be cuz I’m kind of stubborn.
But I’m seeing progress and that’s what it’s about!

In light of all this, I’d like to share insights (in sequence) that I have gained since I started facing this Goliath in my life; emotional insecurity/low self-esteem. The insights will be in the form of questions or statements which I will then expound on. I think that we have all grappled with this Goliath to varying degrees, so keep reading!

To the reader who is currently in the shadow of this Goliath; all you may see is darkness and it just seems so much bigger than you. Perhaps, you feel alone or helpless. You are not alone! You are not helpless! It is not impossible! God is with us through His Spirit(John 14:16-17) who is our Helper and Counsellor and Comforter, not only in the work of service to God but in fighting the Goliath in our lives as well. With God, nothing is impossible.(Luke 1:37)

Oh and one more thing before I go any further… I believe in God. I believe in His Son Jesus Christ who died for the sins of all men. I believe in the Holy Spirit whom He gave to be with us until His return. (And I hope you do too.) I have nothing to share outside of Him. I care about you so I will try to be as practical as possible 🙂 Okay. Let’s get to it.


#1: Why were we created?
In order to define our identity, I think an important question is this: Why was I created?

Well of course this means that one must believe that they were CREATED, before asking WHY.

Genesis 1:27- So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Psalms 139:13-For thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me in my mother’s womb.

Jesus also references man’s creation in Mark 10:6 when He references Genesis 1:27.

So we are created beings. But why did God create us?
Not because He needed us (Acts 17:26) or because He was lonely (the ‘our’ in Gen 1:26 allows for demonstration of the Trinity) but He made us;
-To be a reflection of Him on earth(in God’s Image and Likeness – Gen 1:26)
-To rule over His other creation as stewards (Gen 1:28)

#2: But we fell away and fall short of the glory of God we are meant to reflect.
We who were made to reflect the glory of God and to have communion with him, became sinful through Adam (Romans 5:12) and so while we still bear the image of God(James 3:9), we also bear the effects of sin which makes us unable to properly fulfill our mandate UNTIL we are restored in Jesus Christ.
Through faith in Jesus, we are saved from condemnation. As a result of this faith, we also receive a new nature (2 Cor 5:17) which as written in Ephesians 4:24, is created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness and according to Colossians 3:10 is being renewed in the knowledge of God.
This confirms that the image of God that man is meant to reflect , which was distorted by sin, but restored through Jesus is this: An image reflecting His righteousness and holiness.

The new nature in Christ is an appointment to live for the praise of God’s glory (Ephesians 1:12)

Cool! That’s all good and all. But what does it have to do with identity? Well…everything!
Identity is the fact of being who or what a person or thing is. So once we understand that OUR TRUE IDENTITY and PURPOSE is that we are beings created and saved by God to reflect His righteousness and holiness, to be full of the knowledge of Him, for the Glory of His name we can go on.

Are you looking for proof of purpose? Here is your starting point.
From this knowledge, we can move forward and filter all other information that the world throws at us about ourselves.

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#3 We still need to be transformed to be able to reflect this image of God.

Romans 12:2-Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Yes, in Christ we receive a new lease of life. We are made new creatures. But remember we are still in our bodies, which bear the effects of sin. In and of our human fallen selves, we are unable to reflect the righteousness and holiness of God. We need to be transformed in order for this new nature to manifest in this life in order to reflect the righteousness and holiness of God.

But there’s Good News! God doesn’t give us for a purpose then watch us fail at it.
He doesn’t call us to do something without giving us the tools. He gives us the Spirit of God to transform us(2Cor 3:18)-our minds and hearts; so that the righteousness we have received through Christ can be made manifest more and more in this life, as we sojourn on this earth(Ephesians 4:22-24), until the new world comes when the righteousness of God in us will be perfected.

Remember, transformation in order to reflect more of God’s righteousness on earth doesn’t take away from the imputed righteousness we receive through Christ Jesus. It doesn’t refute that salvation is only through faith and not works. (Ephesians 2:8) Rather, it goes hand in hand with them.

Transformation into righteousness is evidence of salvation through faith because it is worked by the Spirit of God and allows an increasing manifestation of the imputed righteousness.

#4 So we are NOT enough?
I don’t know about you but a lot of the advice I have read about when I look up “how to overcome low self esteem/insecurities” has been pointing me towards, well, me. It tells me that all I need to do is think better thoughts about myself. Stand before my mirror and say to myself : “I am enough.” “I am perfect.” But this approach is telling me that on my own I am flawed. It says that I am far from enough or perfect. On my own I cannot fulfil the purpose for which I was created. It’s telling me it’s not about me. It’s telling me I NEED JESUS. Rather than making me feel good about me, it humbles me by saying I am incapable without God’s help to fulfil my purpose: to reflect the righteousness of God on earth.

I hope you do not misunderstand and think I am preaching self hate or advocating for guilt/condemnation about our imperfection/sins/flaws. Why, there is no condemnation for those in Christ! (Romans 8:1) The idea is not to focus on self, whether hate or love!

Rather, I think you and I are being invited to turn away from the idea of a sense of worth that comes from telling ourselves the lie that we are perfect enough & ignoring our falling short of God’s glory. It is an invite to see ourselves through the eyes of Our Maker and face the truth that on our own we fall short of God’s glory and our purpose. BUT, our nature and purpose is redeemed through faith in Christ Jesus and only through Him. It is an invite to marvel at the Love of God that has remained steadfast despite us. It shifts my attention from myself to God.

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#5 Okay, so what about the “Goliath of Low self esteem/insecurity” that I talked about ?
Well, we just slayed him friend!

Filtering these terms through the realization of what my true Identity and Purpose is, I realized insecurity/need for a source of worth/low self esteem isn’t actually the problem. Rather I think they are a distraction from seeing the actual issue : lack of knowledge/understanding /faith in our True Identity and Purpose as revealed through the Scripture.

I believe that our identity is something the devil attacks because it is so fundamental to our righteous manifestation as the children of God.

His first tactic was to sow seeds of doubt in Eve about what God said to them; about God’s intentions. He pointed her not to himself directly but to seek hers and Adams glory (Genesis 3:4-5) Through that, sin entered the world and marred our ability to reflect God’s holiness. But through Jesus, we received a new nature made in the likeness of God. Through the Spirit, this new nature becomes manifested on this earth to the glory of God and the restoration of our mandate.

And he still applies this tactic. He leads us astray by leading us to exalt ourselves and seek our own glory and focus on ourselves. SELF-esteem. SELF-worth. A whole lot of self.
But understanding our true identity humbles us and points us to GOD.

Notice again one of the temptations Jesus faced in the desert questioned His Identity, or urged Him to prove it. But Jesus knew who He was. He had no need to prove anything to anyone. He functioned in it and that was proof enough. He knew why He had taken the form of Man. So that He might serve man by saving him.

There is nothing humble about not knowing your true identity in God. Jesus is humility personified and He knew His identity as the Son of God and His mission. True Humility is obedience to God (Philippians 2:8)

Question is, do you believe what God has revealed through Scripture about who you are, whose you are and why you were created? The Word of God is true and it is your weapon. It is the Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) that will slay this Goliath.

This was just the foundation/core of who you are. There is much more in the Word of God about who you are in God…some of which you can find for ease of reading listed here.


Whoa! (Joy here) Can I repeat my favorite line again? Maybe in the form of a picture you can download and save as a reminder.

There is nothing humble about not knowing your true identity in God. Jesus is humility personified and He knew His identity as the Son of God and His mission. True Humility is obedience

Let’s take a breather and come back tomorrow for more of this.

Soli deo Gloria!


Thanking Dee for letting me use her pictures for this series. God bless you girl! 🙂