Archive for the ‘Insecurity’ Category

Christ’s Beauty Trumps Insecurity

October 22, 2010

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Cor. 4:7

Someone recently suggested saying the words of Song of Solomon 4:7, “You are altogether beautiful, my darling, and there is no blemish in you,” for two weeks every time I stood in front of a mirror or whenever I saw my reflection. While recognizing this recommendation was Biblically based, I questioned what needed to happen in order for spoken words to transform my life.

Speaking these words didn’t seem adequate in bringing a life change. I’m no idiot, I have flaws and I have sufficient evidence to support their existence along with friends and family who deal with my blemishes. Saying out loud, “There is no blemish in me” feels like a lie and the Bible says lying is a sin.

I struggled to understand how these words could bring a change in my perspective until I discovered the Song of Solomon paints a picture of Christ as a bridegroom. He is seeking a marriage relationship with His bride. Christ desires to be the treasure within this bride’s heart replacing her inner darkness with His presence. This partnership allows His life to flow out of hers releasing beauty. The psalmist understood this when he composed the words, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty.” (Psalm 84:1)

As long as I rely upon myself as my source of beauty, transformation will never occur. When I’m fixated on me, I’m blind to Christ. I look to external indicators as a source of beauty and performance as a measurement of my identity and value. Unfortunately, the more I look in the mirror, the more I see me, blemishes and all. 

When I stop my self-fixation and focus on Christ who is living within, I possess beauty that radiates outward.

I’m discovering that all insecurity problems are identity problems. When I become my reference point for beauty or identity, blemishes break out. Instead of covering them up I’m partnering with the Unblemished One who brings beauty into every heart that flows outward.

Personal Prayer

Father,

You know me intimately, love me completely, and of all the places in the world to live, You chose my heart. Let this amazing truth reframe the way I see and think. May this transforming truth allow me to see myself in the light of your incredible love.

Reflection Question

What are false beauty indicators?

How do we recognize when we are relying on our performance and physical exterior to frame our identity?

Thought to Ponder

Christ tells us not to dwell on our glaring inadequacies, but instead reminds us that of the incomparable adequacy that comes from our relationship with Him. He is our adequacy, therefore our security and identity.

Quote to Consider

Insecurity is more than a complex emotion. It is a lie about our God-sanctioned condition.

 

Reader Response to “Emotional Withholding”

September 23, 2010

Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another. 1 Peter 5:5 (NIV)

Today’s devotional blog post was inspired by a comment from a reader named Laurel. Here comment and my response are included.

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Dear Lorie,

I really appreciated this post (Emotional Withholding). Sometimes I think we as Christians feel like we need to be “flawless and perfect” in everyway and in that thinking we unknowingly shut out others because we seem “unhuman” to them.

I personally have caught myself behaving in a manner that instead of inviting someone to express their pain and thoughts, I feel like I need to fix it by offering antidotes and suggestions. When all they wanted was a listening ear and emotional support. And unless we let them express themselves we aren’t really listening anyway, we’re just doing our “Christian” work.

I’ve found that being honest and human is one of the most sincere gifts we can give to those we care about, all else is just checking off our “Christian to-do list.”

Thanks for your honesty and your transparency, we should all consider how we sound to those we care about.

Laurel

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 Dear Laurel,

Thanks for reading and responding to “Emotional Withholding.” Your words and life discoveries are a picture of humility. Like you, I’m shedding the false expectation of needing to provide a solution to the problems, challenges, and pain of others. Since I’m no longer the source of information, my focus becomes listening to others and seeking to understand them. I’ve released myself from playing God (there was no vacancy in the Trinity) and no longer appoint myself as God’s spokesperson.

 This new freedom helped me discover the underlying cause of my problem was fear. This fear was rooted in insecurity. To counter my sense of inadequacy, I tried to overcome it by providing solutions and direction to others. This same fear of inadequacy (lacking knowledge of good and evil) is what tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. Even as the knowledge of evil was dangerous and destructive for Eve, even so, the desire to provide solutions for others, is equally dangerous and destructive. I’m back to usurping a position in the Trinity.

 When we realize the first step of healing is discovering our pain and facing our inadequacy, we stop putting a bandage on an infection and begin looking for a surgeon. In “Emotional Withholding” I was not exposing my hurt. This resulted in bitterness and anger. Honestly sharing my hurt with my friend (without judgment) could have helped me deal with my hurt in healthy ways.  When we experience a freedom to share hurt with a true listener who responds in love we are on the pathway to healing.

 I will pray that others will find a freedom to express their pain with you and that their sharing will become first steps of their healing journey.

 Thanks again Laurel for sharing a response to my writing that hit home and inspired more writing. You’ve given me more to think and reflect on and now others can join.

 Warmly,

 Lorie Reichel Howe

 Personal Prayer

Father,

You are the Great Healer. I am not anyone’s source of healing. You have a purpose in all our pain and in everything we experience. Every situation we face, whether good or evil, presents an opportunity to know You in a deeper way.

Because You live in us, Your healing power resides within. Therefore, give me a humble heart to acknowledge my hurt and to listen to the hurts of others. Help me not to dismiss what You desire to expose. Give me Your guidance and direction in listening, sharing, and discovering Your truth that brings healing.

Reflection Question

When do I dismiss my pain or the pain of others?

When is humility present in my listening? Absent?

 Thought to Ponder

One of life’s greatest challenges is to understand and talk about our feelings.

 Quote to Consider

A genuine friend hears the message in your heart that words are unable to communicate.

Lorie Reichel Howe