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Posts Tagged ‘fears’

Life has a way of shaking up what we think is secure. Like an earthquake, the ground shakes and aspects of our lives we thought were stable become insecure.

We can all pin point times, or seasons, in our lives that have shaken us into new fears and doubts. We all have scars that leave the stamp of feeling out of control, and wounded.

Insecurities give voice to the places in our lives that feel helpless, hopeless, and broken.

For me, insecurities tell the story of intimacy that has been broken, and where self-preservation resides. Insecurities are my red flags that let me know that there is distance between me and the Lord. My insecurities help me track the cravings of my soul.

Insecurities are telling of where the weight of wounding words has taken root in our hearts. It is when we start to listen to the voice of lies that our security is challenged. Places that were once smooth with security and confidence become jaded and jagged with doubt.

Skepticism and worse case scenarios become our preoccupation through the eyes of insecurity. 

Within all the muck and mire of insecurity, it is also a gift. We are all created for a relationship that is both perfect and untainted. We can taste this type of relationship through intimacy with God. My insecurities have always been a great litmus test as to where I have distanced myself from his security.

My insecurities give light to the smallest places where I have removed my eyes from his steadfast love and intimacy.

Insecurities prey on the unchangeable in me and make them seem replaceable. Most often my identity in Christ is challenge when I feel insecure. I begin to substitute what God has said about me and replaced them with lies. My insecurities are the labels of those lies.

I am learning to navigate through my insecurities as a road map that leads my heart back to his arms. Insecurities never feel good, but they are a gift. They rise up to let us know that a void has been created between us and God, and that intimacy is needed.

Our identity in Christ never changes, it can only be challenged.

What are your insecurities telling you?

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Ever have those days where you are just tired of feeling like the “other” in life? Sometimes I feel like I carry around the label of “other.”

Being the “other” is one of those things where you feel like you are so close yet so far away. The “other” could mean being the person passed over for the job, always the friend and never the interest, the cheerleader not the player, or the go-to but not the everyday. Being the “other” feels like never measuring up, or not being enough.

The “other” for me is kind of like always playing the supporting actress role. Some day’s invisibility is felt deeper than others. There is a sting to it.

One of my least favorite adjectives is being labeled as comfortable. I cringe whenever I hear anyone being described as comfortable, including myself. The word comfortable speaks to me as one being taken for granted and overlooked. Comfortable is assumed and depended on, but not necessarily considered. If I am being most honest, I fear this label.

Labels are real. We all have them. Every single one of us feels inadequate, unseen, insecure, and not enough in some area of life.

The root of labels comes from a place where we have either been told by someone else we don’t measure up, or we realize inadequacy in ourselves by way of comparison. Labels are the words we use to describe who we are NOT, and keep us paralyzed in our perceived weaknesses.

Labels shape the way we respond and the active role we play in our own lives, as well as the lives of others. Labels bear the scars of misperceptions and wounds. I hate that.

There is no freedom in comparison. The truth is that we are all wired uniquely. Everyone has gifts and talents that make them specifically great and valuable. Everyone has something incredible to offer. I believe God has wired us with passion and dreams for specific things He has for us – things only we are meant to do. Labels kill that value.

“Somewhere someone is looking for exactly what YOU have to offer.”

I want to encourage you to take a hard look at your perceived labels and wrestle through them. They will only keep you chained to fear. Choose courage to see yourself differently and add value to others. YOU have incredible things to offer.

What labels do you struggle with?

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Sometimes I wish I could walk around with a microphone that picked up the thoughts of the heart.

Like those interesting individuals who walk around listening for treasures in the sand on a beach, I wish I could listen to the heart.

What I have learned through listening is that everyone verbalizes their particular thoughts for a reason. Everyone chooses to tell their stories for a purpose.

If you listen closely, you can pick up the heart beat of another’s thoughts. We all have patterns of thinking that are spoken through words, stories, and conversations.

Whether we are conscious or not we all speak on purpose.

You can learn a lot about the heart of another just by listening with intention.

Scripture states that, “from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” This is just good and simple truth. What is being spoken is the verbal reflection of the heart.

What we say matters.

I ask myself questions and look for things when people are talking.

So how do you listen between the lines?  

What is intentional listening?

Why does this matter to the person?

When someone is telling me a story, or verbalizing their thoughts, I listen for what is of value to this person – Why does what they are saying matter to them? You can learn a lot about motivation and value by asking why.

Is there a pattern to what type of content is being discussed?

We are creatures of habit. Our thought process has a rhythm to it. We think and process in patterns and sequences. There are usually themes you can pick up on when listening to people talk. This could be in the way they tell stories or processing third party conversations.

What is the passion?

We all have unique passions and strong beliefs. Our passions often times frame the way we talk about subjects. Passions drive some of the themes for conversations. This also goes with listening to what matters to the person. I love watching people step up on their soap boxes.

What is the fear?

This one is a personal point of listening for me. I often listen for the fears not being spoken, but manifesting themselves through what is being said. Pride and defenses are usually revealing a deeper fear rather than a character flaw. We all have certain places that are protected by walls and guards. We all have ways of deflecting attention from our fears. Those fears matter to me. I listen for the deep heart.

Always watch for the nonverbal. We speak loudly through saying nothing at all.

Try it out. Take some time and listen with intention to the what and why of another’s heart. Hopefully you will learn a lot about them.

How do you listen with intention?

 

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As a kid, I thought I was indestructible. There was no place I wouldn’t explore, and no height too high to jump from.

I didn’t ask questions or think twice about my landings. I was daring and courageous. Don’t even get me started on when I first got my license. God worked over time with me.

As kids, we more readily trusted. We trusted our own abilities as well as others. We were fearless. We risked. We took risks with activities, academics, and relationships.

As adults, trust seems to get harder to do. We begin to institute the “think twice” rule in adulthood. Fears and wounds are introduced over time, and the force field of our hearts seems to grow weaker.

The process of trust is a long journey. It usually requires much reassurance along the way.

Learning to trust is a messy process. The deception of the trust process is that it is solely based on the other person. Trusting someone else is no small thing. We become unsure of people over time, especially if we have experienced pain and hardship.

The truth about trust issues is not because of the other person, although that is a factor, but the deeper reason for trust issues is that we are unsure of ourselves.

Relationships are constantly growing and changing in our lives. It is hard to keep up with identifying our expectations and wants in our relationships.

An eye opening truth for me is that the kid who used to climb to the highest point of a tree is now fear driven. My fears and insecurities are the lenses through which I see. These fears affect my relationships on every level.

Our fears cause us to undermine and discredit the people in our lives. Failure is the inevitable result.

I have trust issues. They are the thorns in my side. Trust is so hard for me. I am learning that the reason I have trust issues is because I have self-perception issues. The reason I think that people are going to abuse my trust is because deep down I think I am worth the abuse.

To be honest, the more intimate a relationship gets for me the more I play defense with my heart. The more intimate a relationship the more I tend to play out the potential pain in my head. This creates tension and hurt in my relationships.

My trust issues set up failure in a lot of ways. Somewhere in me is the voice that says, “You are worth leaving. You are replaceable. You are not worth your value. You are worth hurt.”

I am not disqualifying the experiences that have contributed to these fears. I have experienced pain that makes trust hard. However, the pain does not equal the truth about me.

I am also not disqualifying that some people are not trustworthy and you have to discern that for yourself.

Most conflicts related to trust begins with our own self-perception.

This is not just our relationships with one another, how we view ourselves affects our relationship with God. I know I dismiss him often by giving the voice of my fears too much weight. It wrecks havoc.

I am so thankful for a God who is patient, gentle, and unconditionally loving. He makes all things new in me.

Trust is a risk that requires surrendering our own understandings. 

What are your hang up with trust?

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The battle of the heart is just a strong battle. It is always an ongoing one as well.

I am confronted every day with thoughts that seem overwhelming and challenging to my identity. Every day I am battling against some fear and insecurity.

We are bombarded with messages that say we are not enough. We hear messages of ugliness and needing to be more.

Lately, I have been marinating on how characters in the bible processed through God being enough. It all comes back to surrender.

I have been thinking about Moses a lot. Here was a guy who grew up as royalty, but found himself as a shepherd in the middle of nowhere. Moses battled his fears and insecurities all the time.

When it came time for Moses and God to start dialoguing about setting the Israelites free, Moses brought his battle of excuses. Moses let God know that he wasn’t the guy for the job. He felt inadequate and disqualified. God saw him differently.

If you read on in Moses’ story, you will be able to see the progression of God getting hold of his heart. Moses started out his journey believing he was not enough, but ended it knowing God was. We all need this process.

Moses went from starting sentences like, “I can’t” to “if you won’t, I won’t.”

Moses learned his true identity through his growing intimacy with God. He had to go through the process of really believing that God was enough. He was changed.

Everyone experiences this same process. Every day our identity is being challenged by messages of lies and fear. God is patient and faithful to walk us through the process of belief. God makes known our true identities in him through intimacy.

I still find myself starting sentences like, “but God…” and “I can’t.” I am quick to dismiss the me, he sees and created. I need the process. It also takes surrender for me to really make the shift in thinking. I want to be the person who God sees. I want to get a place where I am not dismissing God according to my perceived inadequacies.

He is patient. We are in the process.

God is always inviting us to know a life that is different. I am so thankful that he cares enough to challenge my areas of unbelief.

In what ways do you dismiss who He sees in you?

 

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When we were little, life had no real doubts or question marks to it. Naivety was our friend. We never questioned our parent’s words, we just trusted. As we got older, we learned to think twice about something – we learned to add bargaining chips to ensure things would go our way.

Life moves from blind faith to believing with the insurance of trust.

These are small patterns of trust that develop over our life, but what happens when pain and brokenness become part of those patterns?

Faith and trust are harnessed together.

We are drawn to people with faith. There is a sense of awe that comes with hearing a person’s response to an unknown situation with belief. A part of me responds with a, “Woah! How do you do that?

We are captivated by stories of faith. I read stories in the bible like people believing Jesus at his word for healing. I smile huge “watching” four guys bring their friend to Jesus on a mat in faith of changed life.

I am learning just how much faith and trust are harnessed together. I have deep seeded, more like rooted, trust issues. Pain and brokenness affected my ability to trust without thoroughly questioning. Believing with the insurance of trust has dominated my life. Self-sufficiency is the gear I drive in. There is not a lot of room for faith.

Andy Stanley redefined the definition of faith for me. He said, “Jesus wanted his followers to live their lives as if God can be trusted.

That is HUGE statement for me. Faith says that I will live my life in a way that God can be trusted. He can be trusted no matter what. That never changes. No matter what circumstance or pain, God can be trusted.

Trusting God changes everything. Living my life in a way that speaks to that trust changes everything about me.

You see, because right now we relate to stories of doubt and are captivated by stories of faith. I want to shift to being a person who can relate to stories faith, because my life speaks of trust. Not only does this change my relationship with God, but it will change my relationship with everyone else.

Andy also states that, “God is honored by our faith.

I will always be working on the restoration of my trust issues, but they will never see healing unless I respond in faith to trusting him. He is the most trustworthy no matter what. I desire my life to say I trust.

What is the gear you operate out of?

 

 

 

 

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I am a classic “Tom Boy.” My whole life I have gone against the grain. I played sports after school every day with my guy friends. I loved building forts in the backyard and racing big wheels. I skate boarded, roller bladed, and rocked some G.I. Joes.

My whole life I have experienced other people trying to mold and shape me into the girl they think I should be. I have never fit into the “girly-girl” box.

I am me. I love getting dirty. I am a tough, independent, self-sufficient, sports watching, athletic, loose jeans and T-shirt wearing jokester.

I am learning more and more that our lives as believers are lived out counter-culturally. The more we follow after Jesus, the more our lives start to rub against the grain of this world.

In the book of 1 John, John talks about a truth that has shed new light on this idea of being counter-cultural for me. John states that, “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.” He also states that, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

Our world claims that we should go through life giving off the perception that we “have it all together.” The world claims that we are people who are “fine” and that we have “all of our ducks in a row.” Our culture teaches us that we have everything under control.

The truth is that we are broken people with messy hearts and lives. We are people who need a savior. The truth is that we are more out of control then we realize, and far beyond fine.

So what am I claiming?

It is tempting for this independent person to claim that I have me under control. That claim leaves no room for God. When I claim to have it all together I am deceiving myself. Frankly, when anyone claims that they have it all together, deception becomes truth.

I am taking hold of my claim that I have a messy heart. I am claiming that I am far from having a little together, let alone all. I claim that I am a sinner and need of a savior who has me under control. My ducks are scattered and have never heard of a row. I claim to have fears that run deep and insecurities that are, at times, paralyzing.

My life started out going against the grain and will finish just the same. To follow after Jesus is to claim a life lived counter-culturally.

What are you claiming?

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