Last week I talked about vulnerability, essentially admitting that I am struggling. Believe it or not, that is SUPER hard for me to do. Everything around me doesn’t have to remain perfect all the time, but I do like to feel that I’m right, or at least, not feel like I’m dumb. I know, not the most endearing of traits. However, admitting that I don’t have it all together is something that I try to do on a regular basis, especially with the people that I see weekly because I think it’s important to remain honest with those closest to me. But sometimes there are other hidden areas in my life that rear their ugly heads every now and then. I don’t like to admit those.
One of the first of these is jealousy which, women, I’m sure we can all relate to, whether we realize it or not. For me this comes out in comparing myself to others. This is way more prominent in my life than I would like it to be, and I am constantly having to turn it over to the Lord. This sounds like, That person is prettier than me. I will never accomplish that. Why is she so much better at that than I am? I may as well not try because I will never be as spiritual as him! Will I ever look like that? Unfortunately, I catch myself thinking thoughts like this without even realizing it. I am slowly learning that instead of comparing myself in a jealous way, I need to pray for that person and thank the Lord. Sadly, most of the time the people I compare myself with the most are the people with whom I’m closest. That is NOT a good way to build friendships.
Another huge fear rears it’s head in insecurity. This is similar for me to jealousy, but is actually a little more personal. A lot of times in this sense, I am condemning myself, usually for not being good enough in some way. Yes, this can be a spiritual condemnation, such as, I just don’t have it all together. How can I even talk to this person about what Christ is doing in my life when I don’t feel Him working? And other times it’s purely selfishness hiding behind a mask of self-righteousness: I feel so ugly today. That was a stupid thing to say. I can’t believe I even asked her that question! What are they thinking about me?
Insecurity in my life leads to loneliness, because I begin to feel sorry for myself when my life has not turned out like someone else’s life.
Since I am currently single, the month of February is a hard reminder that I don’t have a significant other. You know what? That is not what life is all about! Even married people will tell you that having someone else in your life is not all sunshine and roses. It is hard work and takes dedication on both sides of the relationship. It’s easy to tell myself this, that I am lucky because I can do whatever I want, or get to travel, or am free to be myself, but it still hurts sometimes. And more often than I like, I find myself wondering, is this always how it is going to be? Did I miss something? This is where the fear creeps in.
In regards to jealousy, here’s what I am learning to say or think instead: God, thank you for the amazing qualities in that person! Bless that person in their lives today. Lord, wherever they are hurting, please heal their hearts. Thank you that I have such an amazing friend. Does this always work? No. But that’s not because of something that God is holding out in my life. It just means my heart is not quite there yet. I just need to fill myself up with more of Jesus and He is working to change my heart.
For insecurity and loneliness (combined), I had to come to the conclusion that I was dwelling on these things because, once again, I felt like the Lord was holding out on me. That He wasn’t bringing something to me that I deserved. I have been following the Lord practically my entire life! Why is it not turning out the way I thought? The simple answer? The Lord knows what He’s doing. His plans for me are good.
And He is working in my life exactly in the way that He planned. Does this mean that our actions don’t have consequences? Of course not. We still have free choice, but we do not surprise God by our choices. And when I think that my conversation or lack of action is somehow messing up God’s plan, I am putting myself in the place of God. You know what? I can not mess up the plans that God has for my life, or the plans that He has for someone else. I am not that powerful. Satan is not that powerful.
Once again leading back to The Armor of God by Patricia Shirer, God already has the victory! He is victorious, and we as His followers are victorious, too! Facing our fears and admitting that we struggle with them shows an enormous amount of courage. Sometimes Satan just wants to put the lie in our hearts that we are not good enough, or we’ve messed up too much, or we just can’t quite make it. With God, this is a good thing because it reminds us: No–WE can’t make it. But God can! He gives us His grace. And when we have Him in our lives, in whatever HE places before us, HE WILL NOT FAIL!