Often times, our insecurities breed defensive words and actions. We must learn to break free of this bondage to interact with those around us, in a Godly manner.
I am not one for speaking. In fact, I am much more eloquent in writing. I think it is because I can carefully think through the words I let others read. In contrast, this rule is not the same for talking. I have a hard time communicating my thoughts on the fly. I can be pretty awkward.
For this reason, God surrounds me with lots of people that know how to communicate well. They are great at speaking and I love to listen. However, I can be pretty quiet due to my personality and insecurity. I am interrupted a lot. My loved ones are used to my quietness and I don’t blame them. Except when I do…
Defensive: What It Looks Like
We were sitting there; my in-laws (I think of them as my own), my husband, and I. We were discussing many things. As usual, I was communicating my attentiveness with head nods and facial expressions. Thoughts were rolling through my head without a word spoken. Finally, a moment to interject. Then it was gone. I was interrupted.
I had an opportunity to show grace and maturity. However, showing respect, in that moment, was difficult. So, instead of waiting my turn, again, I became the interrupter. I became what had just hurt me.
“Can I speak now?!”
And there it was. It hit me like a brick wall dropping on my chest. God spoke to me.
“You’ve got an issue with defensiveness. It’s because you’re insecure.”
Defensive: What It Does
My words and actions hurt someone I love. I was so consumed with myself and my insecurity about speaking, that I became rigid. I allowed my tongue to become a dagger.
The words of the reckless pierce like swords…
Proverbs 12:18, NIV
…but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.
Proverbs 15:4, NIV
The tongue has the power of life and death…
Proverbs 18:21, NIV
My defensiveness broke a heart. I was guarding myself, instead of preserving the spirit of the other person.
Defensive: How to Break Free
First and foremost, we must submit all our insecurities over to the Lord. We can have complete confidence in ourselves, because He has complete confidence in who He made us to be. Accepting that God created me to be more reserved and quiet in conversations, should give me all the confidence I need.
Because we are human, it is hard to keep this confidence. At times, hateful words pour out of us, leaving the person receiving them confused and in pain. The other person doesn’t see the internal struggle, the insecurity. They only see the outcome of such struggle.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? […] Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4: 1,7, NIV
Submitting this battle to the Lord will only give way for positive results. When you humble yourself to the Lord, He shows favor. Also true, our submission is not only to the Lord, but to those that have gone before us. Those who are older. When we do so, we honor God, we set an example, we solidify our testimony.
In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
1 Peter 5:5, NIV
Boy, forgiveness is pretty tough. Remember when I wrote about forgiveness and how it must be an immediate action: “Ever ready to forgive?” We must suffer in silence, hold our tongues. Had I held my tongue in a fiery moment and endured in forgiveness, I would have shown worship and reverence to God.
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:14-15, NIV
Do Not Jump to Conclusions:
I took it as a personal attack when I was interrupted. I jumped to conclusions because of my insecurity. Maybe that person had not truly finished their thoughts. Maybe they didn’t even hear me speaking. There could have been, and probably was, a very good excuse for the whole affair. Had I shown obedience in that moment, I probably would have seen the actual explanation.
Don’t jump to conclusions—there may be a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw.
Proverbs 25:8, MSG
It never fails. When I learn a new lesson from the Lord, He always backs it up with opportunity. Most assuredly, there will be moments to act out our new freedom. His desire is to show grace and compassion. In my not so shining moment, He showed justice and mercy. In turn, I get to show Him how much I appreciate it! I get to show Him I heard His voice and will obey!
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
Isaiah 30:18, NIV
Defensive: Living in Freedom
When we live in freedom, those around us can tell. Not allowing insecurity to rule our minds and hearts, allows God’s love to shine through us. In fact, when defensiveness has no power over us, God can properly use us. I don’t know about you, but that’s what I want my life to look like.
I wish I could say I am completely free from this bondage. However, this moment will always stand out in my mind. I watched my own enslavement bruise someone I love. In my case, overcoming personal insecurity will allow for total freedom from defensiveness. The same may be true for all of us. Because, isn’t that where defensiveness stems from?
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