As I woman, I naturally struggle with confidence. I can always find somebody prettier than I am, smarter than I am, funnier than I am, or better than I am. I sometimes think very very quietly to myself “Why am I not that person?” and sometimes I even plead to God “When will things quit flawlessly working out for other people and start working out for ME?”
On the outside, it appears that everybody else has it together, except myself. On the inside, I face battles within myself. I battle my lack of self -esteem, lack of confidence, lack of fill-in-the-blank-with-whatever-makes-me-feel-unworthy-for-the-day.
Where do these thoughts come from? They are certainly not founded on God’s daily and eternal promises for our lives. Many people think they can come from worldly things- the movies we watch, the shows that consume our tvs at night, the music we listen to. Others will say these thoughts come from our friends, who maybe aren’t on the same page as us, or maybe they come from an overbearing family member that always put pressure on us to be perfect. I wouldn’t completely disagree with any of these influences, because I do believe in the old mantra, “Garbage in equals garbage out.”
But I would argue to say that these thoughts come from the deep recesses of our souls and hearts. The part of our hearts where we claim that God has control of, that is so protected that no boy, friend, or pressure could ever get to. Or so we claim. What if there is a problem with the guard system to our hearts? We think our hearts are isolated- on a castle surrounded by a moat, right in the middle of a strong fortress (guarded by handsome protectorates, right?)
The battle starts in our mind, on a daily basis. And it is compromised ANY time we let a tiny, toxic thought even come remotely close to entering our minds. Once they reach our minds, and we put thought and effort into it, these wandering and dangerous thoughts somehow make a path to our hearts. I wish I majored in Biology or Psychology or some “ology” that would teach me how this works, because I don’t’ know. But I know it happens, because the next time I look up I am battling thoughts in my heart that should have never been there in the first place.
Once they enter our hearts, they become our worst enemies. These are the thoughts that define so-called beauty, tell us we want to be successful, and famous, and fabulous. They tell us that we want to live the ultimate glam lifestyle. They tell us that all along, there was a prince waiting for us, who is 6’4½ in, brown haired and blue eyes, athletic, funny, and of course successful (did I mention he also had to be perfect?) After our beautiful Pinterest wedding, that we spent approximately $32,260.80 on, we will successfully have 3 kids (2 boys, 1 girl) all before the age of 30 and then we will be soccer moms the rest of our lives and drive a black Escalade. And all along we promise that we will go to church regularly, attend every church event, be so involved in a woman’s group, moms club, and junior league in order to stay balanced and focused on what God wans for us. (Note to self: I think anytime we think of a plan this detailed, God chuckles a little bit and says “yeah right, girlfriend”)
Okay, so maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration. But seriously, do those thoughts ever enter your minds? Maybe not any of those exact ones, but similar thoughts that give you a timeline, and date for certain big events to happen, or expectations? Expectations is a big one for me. Expectations that other people do this or that according to my plans and my thoughts. Danger zone! All along, the castle sirens start going off! Alert! Alert! You have let this thought creep into your heart. But what is even scarier is that sometimes we can’t even hear the sirens go off. We just let this thought come and make a home in our hearts. Now that the thoughts have entered our hearts, they become a rug in our homes (or hearts- however you want to look at it), covering up God’s truth.
Eventually God says I want your heart back, I want to reign over EVERY thought and be your filter. And this is where we struggle. We can’t seem to let go of these things that appear to be so great, in order to be more of the person that He wants us to be. I don’t know much. I really don’t . However, one thing that God is very clear about and that I do know is that we have to give up all the rights to ourselves in order to be a follower of him. “More of you, less of me” (John 3:30) “Deny yourselves, take up your cross and follow me”(Luke 9:23) . We have to see the ones we love as unimportant and here is the shocker- we have to hate them? (Like 14:26) We have to devote our minds, body, and souls to him (Deuteronomy 6:5) and we have to guard our hearts daily with the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10)? EXTREME! I know. I struggle with this every day.
But personally, I believe the beauty of it all is that God knows we are our own worst enemies He knows that we come in un-perfect, messy packages. He knows the deepest desires of our hearts, that on some days temptations will be so strong, and he knows that on other days it will be hard to love and put him first. And its even crazier to think that God not only designed us to be this way, but he allows us to be this way. Why does he do this? Why doesn’t He in his supreme knowledge and power just make it an easy choice for us? I also don’t know. But what I do know is that when we choose to quit being our own worst enemy, when we choose to let our hearts belong to God, and when we give God the time, and devotion that he deserves he will be there every step of the way.
And we will get such a special gift- seeing things through the eyes of God. And all of the thoughts that bother us, that put us down, or that trick us will seem so incomparable to the greatness of our God. Because when God is for us, who can be against us? Not even ourselves.
Romans 8:31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?