Afraid, unafraid, fear, fearless, living boldly, boldness, God’s love, brokenness, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Becoming Fearless: Brokenness Leads to Living Fearlessly

Fear and rejection can leave us feeling paralyzed. But it is our brokenness that will ultimately lead to becoming fearless.



My earliest memory of fear occurred when I was a child of six. On a warm summer evening, my family went to the home of some good friends of my parents for dinner. All my brother and I cared about was that they had kids close to our age – two boys. (It seems none of my parent’s friends had girls, but that’s another story!)

While the adults chatted after the meal, we children happily played outside on the swing-set laughing, yelling, and probably arguing. Suddenly, I felt something stinging my face; the pain was immediate and intense. Jumping off the swing, I ran screaming to my mother, who soothed me and quickly assessed I had at least two bee stings on my face. Her friend made a paste of baking soda and water to apply to the stings while I rested on mom’s lap.

Fear and rejection can leave us feeling paralyzed. But it is our brokenness that will ultimately lead to becoming fearless. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #afraid #fear #fearless #LivingBoldly #boldness #unafraid #brave #brokenness

Becoming Fearful

Within several moments I was ready to return playing with our friends, but no words came out when I opened my mouth to speak. I tried once again but to no avail. Panicked, I got mom’s attention and she realized my body was swelling. Things moved quickly from there.

Fear spread throughout the group as they were preparing to take me to the hospital. Fortunately for me, mom had recently read an article regarding deadly allergic reactions some people had to bees and that a new desensitization process was being offered by the medical community. That article saved my life.

Needless to say, despite several years of shots to alleviate my reaction to bees, I spent decades being deeply afraid of them. I’m blessed to say I’ve raised perennial flower beds for 15 years now.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1, NKJV

Rejection

In high school, I wanted to be popular…translated – liked/loved. As a result, I became a cheerleader, joined clubs, became editor of the newspaper, etc. Guess what? There were still people who didn’t like me. Shocker, I know.

For reasons unknown, I can recall one particularly vicious phone call I received from a popular girl about something I didn’t do, but she thought I did. Even though I professed Jesus, I was looking for acceptance at the wrong addresses.

Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, You people in whose heart is My law: Do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their insults. For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; But My righteousness will be forever, And My salvation from generation to generation.

Isaiah 51:7-8, NKJV

Paralyzed

When I was a young mother with a baby, my husband worked a swing shift. I didn’t like staying alone on the nights he had to work, but I spent most evenings at my parents’ until it was time to take my son home and put him to bed. But then one night while we all were out, our home was burglarized. My husband and I felt violated.

After that, fear blossomed like a sunflower in my chest. I heard every noise, real or imagined, in the house or the basement. It’s embarrassing to remember the times I would call our neighbor over to check the house because I thought I had heard something. (He and his wife were very gracious!) This fear lasted so long it was making me physically ill – I was trying to stay awake all night, begging God to keep us safe. I was thinking of escape plans should someone break-in. It was difficult.

Delivered

During this time, I was working with first graders in Sunday School. One week we made a prayer wheel out of paper plates. For every need on one side of the wheel, there were Bible verses on the other side that applied to the need. “Coincidentally,” my husband worked nights that week, which I dreaded with a vengeance.

In desperation, one night I pulled that children’s prayer wheel out and turned it to fear, looking up each verse. I told God I was so weary of living this way, and I knew that He didn’t want me to anymore. (He does say, “Fear not” 365 times in His Word!) From that night forward, the paralyzing fear left me. Has it attempted to return? Sure, but God has delivered me from the stronghold of fear each time.

I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die, and of the son of a man who will be made like grass? And you forget the Lord your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth; You have feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, when he has prepared to destroy. And where is the fury of the oppressor? […] But I am the Lord your God, Who divided the sea whose waves roared – the Lord of hosts is His name. And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand…

Isaiah 51:12-16a, NKJV

Becoming Fearless

I believe we all battle with fear in one form or another. Otherwise, why did God mention it so often? Sometimes I wonder if our fear isn’t used by God to help bring about needed brokenness…because only out of brokenness comes fearlessness. And isn’t that what we really want – to become fearless? Even Paul asked the Ephesians to pray for this in him in Ephesians 6:16-20.

Louie Giglio said in a sermon at 2012 Passion, “Minimize your fears by maximizing your one fear and realizing this: I’m already chained to Jesus Christ. The only thing I’m afraid of is living an insignificant life.”

Amen!

Sometimes fear is used by God to help bring about needed brokenness…because out of brokenness comes fearlessness. And isn't that what we really want – to become fearless? Click To Tweet

Fear and rejection can leave us feeling paralyzed. But it is our brokenness that will ultimately lead to becoming fearless. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #afraid #fear #fearless #LivingBoldly #boldness #unafraid #brave #brokenness

unsplash-logoJason Blackeye
shame, enough, hidden, perfectionism, defensive, apology, judgment, bondage, freedom, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Shadow of Shame: Step into the Light of Our Savior

The Lord came to break all bondage in our life. Step out of the shadow of shame and into the radiant light of our Savior.



Let’s talk about the S word. No, I’m not referring to a curse word. Or even the word “stupid,” which was not allowed to be used in our home when my kids were growing up. (They heard enough pejorative adjectives from their peers.)

Rather, I want us to take a few minutes to inspect, take a fresh look at, and perhaps begin to disarm a sleeper cell that has dwelt in mankind since the Garden. I’m talking about shame. While it isn’t possible to sweep out all the spiders and cobwebs that have accrued over the decades of darkness in which shame has hidden, perhaps shining some light into the darkness will at least put a broom into your hands.

The Lord came to break all bondage in our life. Step out of the shadow of shame and into the radiant light of our Savior. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #shame #perfectionism #defensive #apology #judgment #bondage #freedom

Shadow of Shame

The topic of shame has made a resurgence in recent years, almost as though the subject had never been brought up before, (it has, but we didn’t have social media). For this, we can thank the research of University of Houston’s Dr. Brene Brown.

Her work resulted in books and TED Talks on YouTube, which catapulted the topic to a buzz word for several months…and that’s really longer than one can expect any topic to last in our micro-everything culture. Since Brown’s Ted Talks are some of the most-watched videos in the world, we should know all we need to know about shame; it’s already so ‘last year.’

If that is the case, why do we continue to experience that painful, pervading sense of being flawed or not enough – ever?

Unashamed to Fig Leaves

And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Genesis 2:25, ESV

That is the first time shame/ashamed is mentioned in Scripture, but certainly not the last. However, it is one of the last times Adam and Eve were UNashamed. Only a chapter later they were hiding from God, ashamed of their sin and nakedness.

And he said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.’

Genesis 3:10, ESV

Since that pivotal day, mankind has been hiding our shame behind our own fig leaves, which we have woven together since childhood. Yours may look different from mine, more colorful or loud, more acceptable or appealing, but an honest look inside our hearts, an honest probing by the Holy Spirit will reveal where each of us is prone to hide.

Let’s look at a few hiding places where shame operates…

Hiding Places

Perfectionism is often defined as the need to be or at least to appear to be perfect. I like to say that I am a recovering perfectionist. It used to almost make me physically ill if I could not perform most tasks perfectly, according to my estimation. Yet, this a socially acceptable fig leaf. Brene Brown said:

Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfection is not about healthy achievement and growth. She explains that perfectionism is used by many people as a shield to protect against the pain of blame, judgment, or shame.

https://www.goodtherapy.org

Perfectionism can cause procrastination, (if I can’t do it perfectly, I will delay until I can perform perfectly). This can also lead to an attitude of blaming others for anything that appears like a failure. “It wouldn’t have happened that way if so-and-so had done his job correctly! It isn’t my fault,” which leads to our next hiding place…

Defensiveness is one way we protect ourselves from unpleasant feelings such as feeling sad or sorry that we disappointed or hurt a loved one. Being defensive is a way to avoid taking responsibility for our behavior, especially if we equate responsibility with shame.

Let’s say my husband is upset because I’m late meeting him for lunch. If I’m defensive I might say, “Well, we were late to church last week because you took so long to get ready and I didn’t get mad about that!”

If I’m not shackled by shame, I can recognize that my spouse has expressed his feelings about my tardiness. It isn’t something intrinsically wrong with me; I simply need to hear his feelings and apologize for my delay.

More Hiding

Apologizing can go either way.

Shame can cause us to be overly apologetic and compliant. We assume that others are right and we’re wrong. Better to diffuse a shaming attack or criticism before it begins by apologizing first.

Conversely, we can be so powerfully ruled by an unconscious shame that we don’t want to expose ourselves to imagined ridicule by admitting any wrong or mistake. Being vulnerable is seen as being weak.

This is what one blogger wrote about co-dependency/people-pleasing:

I always thought co-dependency would be easy and obvious to spot, but I tell you what – in the Church – it’s easy to confuse co-dependency with godliness. Codependents are the people who always put others needs before their own, which sounds so great, except it’s fueled by a compulsion to put others needs before your own. Many who struggle with this don’t even feel their own needs or desires anymore…the soul infected with shame is so unsure of its worth (not having that matter settled between self and God) that it seeks to find value in being needed or serving others.

http://www.fabsharford.com

The Church and Shame

Church is one of shame’s best hiding places.

Although it seems counter-intuitive, shame can cover itself with an attitude of superiority and judgment. My mom was filled with shame and insecurity due to her abusive childhood. But she hid that by presenting a haughty, superior person to everyone outside of our home. By judging others first as less than, people were thereby not given the opportunity to reject her. She rejected them first and led a lonely, almost friendless life.

Sadly, I’ve seen this often in the Church. It usually hides behind doctrine or theological arguments, sometimes social issues. However, we must be alert to our own hearts for this sly hiding place of shame. Maligning others in order to make ourselves feel better is not a way to healing.

The Release of Shame

I don’t believe it was ever God’s intention for His children to remain shame-based in our lives or relationships. Scripture has much to say about shame, and it isn’t about God shaming us – unless we choose to remain in our sin.

‘Let us lie down in our shame, and let our dishonor cover us. For we have sinned against the Lord our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day, and we have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God.’

Jeremiah 3:25, ESV

Despite deserving judgment and death, He continually promises deliverance for those who come to Him.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.

Psalm 34:4-5, ESV

The wondrous, heralding chapter of Isaiah 61, prophecies the coming of our Lord Jesus. Among other beautiful things, he announces the release of shame.

Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.

Isaiah 61:7, ESV

Sisters, come out of hiding. There is no need to live in the shadow of shame any longer. Our Warrior King has come to strengthen, heal, and deliver us from the shame that binds us, for His glory and honor.

Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.

Zephaniah 3:19, ESV
Sisters, come out of hiding. There is no need to live in the shadow of shame any longer. Our Warrior King has come to strengthen, heal, and deliver us from the shame that binds us, for His glory and honor. Click To Tweet

The Lord came to break all bondage in our life. Step out of the shadow of shame and into the radiant light of our Savior. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #shame #perfectionism #defensive #apology #judgment #bondage #freedom

unsplash-logoThomas Millot
abuse, bondage, freedom, reckless, release, repression, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Free: Allowing God to Break Repression and Bondage on Our Lives

Abusive relationships, depression, sin are just a few things that can cause bondage in our lives. But we are set free through Jesus’ death and resurrection!



Set Free

The young girl ran towards the water with reckless abandon. She loved this time of year when she could swim in the ocean and pretend to be a mermaid. But, today would be different. A short while later while splashing around she was hit by a large wave. The undertow was strong. She was tossed in circles and hit her head on the ocean floor time and again. She was seized with fear and felt as though she would drown. After what seemed like an eternity the sea spit her body onto the shore. She was trembling and coughing up water, but she was alive. She was free from the grip of the ocean’s power. 

Thirty years later the young girl was now a woman. She respected the sea and its power. Today she found herself floating on the still ocean waters. Her body gently moved with the ocean’s movements; the water rolling over her like a caress. Her face titled toward the sun; drinking in its warmth. She relished times like these when she could talk to God amidst the beauty of His creation. It was in that still moment, God reminded her of how she had been set free.  

Abusive relationships, depression, and sin are just a few things that can cause bondage in our lives. We are set free through Jesus' death and resurrection! Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #abuse #bondage #freedom #reckless #release #repression

Abuse

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and save those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18, NIV

What I have to share is deeply personal and a sensitive subject for many men and women. Many of us have faced brokenness so deep that it leaves us crushed. There are all kinds of repressions we face in our lives.

Some know very little how it feels to constantly be knocked down with words or actions. But, far too many men and women know the real horrors of being physically, mentally, and/ or emotionally and verbally abused. The physical is unimaginably difficult to get over. I admire more than one of my friends who have had the courage to break free from the cycle of abuse and find strength in Christ to heal and move forward. 

I took me a lot of years to recognize what verbal and emotional abuse look like. It does not mean I was not in a loving relationship. In fact, I still love this person very deeply. However, words and actions can still hurt us deeply. They can beat us down and make use believe lies about ourselves and even give us a distorted identity.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:1, NIV

Recognizing What Binds

The effects of abuse are often debilitating. Depression, confusion, overwhelming feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and poor physical health are all effects. Cling to God’s words in I Corinthians 13 because God paints a very clear picture of what love truly is and is not. But, the first step to solving any problem is recognizing what the problem is. So, I ask all of you reading this, what binds you?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it doesn not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  

I Corinthians 13:4-8, CSB

Realizing Your Role

I am a people pleaser and I know this about myself. But, it is not always a good thing. In fact, until I reached my mid-thirties, I used to allow others to run over me because keeping the peace was so important to me. So, I played a major role in allowing others to hurt me. 

Now, of course, this did not make it right. However, sometimes we allow things to happen to us because we are seized with fear, anxiety, want to keep the peace, overwhelmed, or just think we are powerless to stop them from happening. If we are saved, then the Holy Spirit is within us. God’s power is within us! Claim it! Realize the power of Christ within you!

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us…

Ephesians 3:20, KJV

Releasing it to God

If you love someone let them go. If it was meant to be, then they will come back to you.  

As a teenage girl with a lot of crushes, I used to cling to this phrase. As a mature woman, I now realize the value in these words. After decades, I finally had to let go of the one whom my heart loved. The one whom I shared a life and children with. But, letting go does not mean giving up. It means releasing it to God. As humans, we try to control and fix so many situations in our lives. But, it is important to realize there are many things beyond our power.   

Reckless Abandon

When you think of a person who has reckless abandon you often think of one who is wild and careless and does not think about the consequences of their actions. However, I want you to think of living the Christian life with reckless abandon in a slightly different way. 

The term “reckless” comes from the root word “reckon” which means to account for or to think of every thought. Is it our job to reckon with God and think through every little detail of our lives? No. We are not God. He is there to lead and guide us. If we try to reckon or reason with Him, then we are trying to take control away from God. 

The verb for abandon means to leave. The noun for abandon means to lack inhibition or restraint. So, let’s put these two words together. Reckless abandon in the Christian life means to leave your life, without restraining or trying to control any part of it, and rely completely on God to control and direct every part of it. How freeing it is to allow the Lord to rule your heart. To allow Him to free us from things that bind our lives. He has a purpose and a plan we need only to follow Him with reckless abandon.

Until we meet again…Gracie

How freeing it is to allow the Lord to rule your heart. To allow Him to free us from things that bind our lives. He has a purpose and a plan we need only to follow Him with reckless abandon. Click To Tweet

Abusive relationships, depression, and sin are just a few things that can cause bondage in our lives. We are set free through Jesus' death and resurrection! Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #abuse #bondage #freedom #reckless #release #repression

unsplash-logoDieter Kühl
Oh Lord Help Us, identity, layers, faith, Christian, women, ministry

Badges: Removing Our Old Identity to Become Who We Truly Are

To step into our true identity in Jesus Christ, we have to surrender our worldly badges of identity. We must stay hidden in Christ.



Picture this: you’re at a low-key social gathering where you’ve met someone new. You have a conversation lasting about 15 to 20 minutes. Parting company, you say, “Nice to meet you.” But you leave feeling as if you didn’t really get to know her, nor she you. So often, even in the midst of a conversation, I can tell that there is a much deeper level that could be reached with the person with whom I’m talking. But all too often, we never delve into those deep places. Perhaps many of us find it easier, safer somehow to stay on the surface of life because the deeper layers feel more difficult to broach. But just below the surface lies who we really are…our true identity.

The world encourages us to stay at the surface level and find our identity in something, anything other than Christ. The world defines us by the work we do, the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the things we own, and the accomplishments we achieve. These are merely the physical, material things that can be observed with the naked eye. But, as with most things, when it comes to identity, there is more than meets the eye. As believers, our identity isn’t in the flesh, but in the unseen realm where we are firmly rooted in Jesus Christ.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20, KJV

To step into our true identity in Jesus Christ, we have to surrender our worldly badges of identity. Know who you truly are under your layers. | Faith | Spiritual Growth | Freedom in Christ

The badges…

Until we step into our true identity, we will let the world and our own wounds define who we should be. Click To Tweet

Before I became a believer, and to be honest, even since I’ve been saved, I have found my identity in things other than Christ. Throughout my childhood, my identity was that of a social outcast, a weirdo, a poor victim, and an ambitious overachiever. I wore each of these titles like an invisible badge that informed who I was. Growing up in a highly isolated social environment, I had trouble identifying with the people who lived near my family. I could tell I was not like everyone else because my life looked so entirely different than theirs.

I would be out weeding in the garden or carrying a yolk across my shoulders with heavy buckets full of fresh cows milk from the barn. Meanwhile, I’d watch as the neighbor girls rode their shiny bikes and played on their colorful swing sets. They seemed so carefree, and their lives looked so fun and easy. Even though I was young, the stark contrasts were very apparent to me. My life felt completely foreign from their lives. So, while those “normal” little girls were earning their Brownie and Girl Scout badges, I was donning my own badges: “Weirdo” and “Outcast.”

Painful badges…

When I transitioned from home school to public school, I wore a combination of homemade clothes and secondhand castaways. That was when I began to understand that the shameful “Poor Girl” badge had been added to my wardrobe. After my dad died from a massive heart attack, I bounced around from home to home with many different custodial guardians in their “normal” suburban homes. It was then that I received two of my most painful badges: “Orphan” and “Victim.” While my classmates seemed to coast through school, I was working tirelessly to make straight A’s and assert myself as a leader in just about every extracurricular activity under the sun. So, when I graduated 4th in my high school class, along with the tassels on my cap and cords on my gown, I proudly accepted my invisible “Ambitious Overachiever” badge.

Surrendering the badges…

Sadly, all of the identity badges that I had amassed over the years seemed to serve me well in the world. They helped me win a ton of college scholarships to fund my undergraduate studies. They molded me into the model student who had met with and overcome a great deal of adversity, beating the odds and becoming a high achiever. And the pattern continued through college and graduate school. I graduated Phi Beta Kappa in college. Received Distinction and Honors in my Masters degree program.

It was as if the more badges I got, and the more achievements I made, the heavier the false identities felt. Outwardly, things were going along just fine and dandy…until the bottom dropped out. In my mid twenties, I finally hit an impasse in the form of a gigantic wall of anxiety and depression. All of the worldly identities I had constructed in my own strength–the badges that had ushered me through all those traumas and obstacles–began to rub, and prick, and tear, and hide who the Lord was really calling me to be. So, as I surrendered my life to Christ, I surrendered my badges.

Discovering my true identity…

And in doing so, I discovered my true identity. Christ. In me! And He didn’t see me as a weirdo, an outcast, or a poor victim. He invited me into His flock, and showed me that I belonged there as one of His chosen ones. Rather than seeing me as an overachiever who had to strive for perfection to survive, He accepted me with unconditional love and called me an overcomer with a testimony. I was no longer an orphan because He adopted me and called me His beloved daughter.  And remarkably, none of His love and acceptance hinged on what I could do, but on who He was.

For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:27-28, KJV

Losing my life to find His….

When I “put on Christ,” there was no place for my old badges. My name was now written in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 21:27), so I had to let go of all those old names, those worn out, false identities that had defined me for so long. I had a new identity and was made new in Him. Friends, as difficult as it can feel, we have to lay down our badges. If we want to truly walk in our new nature, in the freedom that Christ offers all those who believe, we must surrender our old selves, relinquish our old ways. We have to let go of our notions of who we think we are in this world. And we must cling to our identity in Christ as if our very lives depended on it.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Matthew 16:25, KJV

Do not be entangled again…

As we take this walk of faith, inevitably we encounter difficult circumstances. And as challenges present themselves, the devil is right there inviting us to take up our old badges. To cope, rather than to overcome. To hide in fear, rather than to trust in the Lord to deliver us. But those old ways of operating won’t work in the kingdom of God. Those old badges only opened doors that are closed to us now. Wearing them, we can’t reach the new places of blessing where the Lord is leading us.

We mustn’t forget that we have relinquished our old nature. We have put on a new identity badge that reads: “Jesus Christ.” In so doing, we have accepted a new way, which is to walk, talk, act and think like Jesus. Let’s not return to our old identities. Let’s learn to walk in faith, hidden in Christ, and loved beyond measure.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Galatians 5:1, KJV

What have your old badges read? Which ones do you still need to let go of to walk with the Lord? How have you relied on your new identity badge?

To step into our true identity in Jesus Christ, we have to surrender our worldly badges of identity. Know who you truly are under your layers. | Faith | Spiritual Growth | Freedom in Christ

Manolo Chrétien

defensive, insecurities

Defensive: Breaking Free From the Bondage of Insecurity

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.

Our insecurities breed defensive words and actions. We must learn to break free of this bondage to honorably interact with those around us.

Defensive: How to Break Free

Submit :

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

Forgive:

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

Wait:

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

Our insecurities breed defensive words and actions. We must learn to break free of this bondage to honorably interact with those around us.

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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Our insecurities breed defensive words and actions. We must learn to break free of this bondage to honorably interact with those around us.

 

Matthew Smith