Monday, May 7, 2012

Insecurity - The "I" word

Today's topic is my least favorite of all because it is the thing I dislike the most about myself.  Insecurity.  The "I" word.  It should be a 4-letter word, really.  I'm not sure where it comes from (and believe me I've spent a lot of time trying to figure it out).  Being a child of divorce?  Being hurt by others?  Original sin?  Jacques Phillipe writes in Searching for and Maintaining Peace:  We come into the world marked with distrust.  This is original sin.  All our spiritual life consists precisely in a long process of reeducation, with a view to regaining that lost confidence, by the grace of the Holy Spirit Who makes us say anew to God:  Abba, Father!" 

The insecurity or lack of confidence I feel, thankfully for you, (not-so-much for my husband) seems to be restricted to my marriage.  It used to be a constant struggle for me in my early married life.  I will be married 10 years in November.  By God's grace and my husband's fidelity and patience, this surfaces much more seldomly.  At any rate, it is exacerbated when my husband travels or works a lot (which he has been lately).  His job requires that he works, trains, and deploys with many women who are unknown to me.  This is my achilles heel and I never feel more powerless or at-his-mercy than these times.  It is compounded by our inability to discuss it (He gets too frustrated) and his inability to comprehend it (He is the most secure person I have ever met).

Why am I sharing this with you?  For several reasons.  #1.  To let you know that you are not alone.  #2.  Things that are painful in the dark (kept as secrets) lose their power in the light.  #3.  To encourage you to share the thing(s) that you dislike the most about yourself or things you are afraid of (with a spiritual director or someone you trust)  #4.  It is good for humility. #5.  As Margaret Guenther suggests in Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction, "I must be willing to be the needy, vulnerable, weary traveler as well as the generous host."  #6.  It tells the truth about who I am without God - powerless.

In Unbound, Neal Lozano writes, "We have all internalized lies from the master of deception.  They may serve as faulty foundations upon which we build our lives.  This system of thinking is built like a bird nest:  one straw at a time (one damaging thought at a time).  As this pattern of thinking is built, he finds a place to dwell and exerts greater influence on our emotions and will."  "At the heart of satan's attack upon you is his attempt to rob you of your true identity and destiny.  satan will do anything he can to keep you from knowing God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."

Satan has used my insecurity very well in his plan.  It changes the rock of confidence into the sludge of insecurity.  It changes my loving and nurturing self into a distant and cold one.  It takes a considerate person and turns her into a self-centered person.  It changes a God-filled vessel into an empty pot.  It takes something beautiful and turns it into something ugly.  Yes, satan loves using the wrench of insecurity; it fits every nut and bolt I have.   

The following entry is from almost 3 years ago. 
August 9, 2009
8:42pm – Sunday
I turned 32 years old today.  Brett is reading to Brayton and Walker.  Wyatt went to bed around 7:20pm.  Today I am feeling so blessed.  Blessed to be in a great marriage and have 3 beautiful, healthy, intelligent, loving boys.  Even though I’ve been “pretty good” most of my life, I can’t begin to imagine deserving all that God has given to me.  The Bible says He blesses us beyond what we can even imagine and I believe that.   
Brett and I went to First Friday.  Our first real date without the baby.  Then we went to Luigi’s Patio Ristorante last night for supper.  Live music, excellent food, and even better atmosphere.  It was the perfect place to go for a date.  It felt like we were in a town far, far away from here. 
I am trying to figure something out about myself.  It seems like some of my insecurities are showing up a little more lately.  I think it’s because we’re starting to be more socially active again.  I always feel a little insecure when Brett seems to connect with/enjoy another female.  I have felt this way multiple times in the last several months – anytime we have been with another couple.  I think it is because I haven’t seen him really interact with other women since we’ve been together.  I guess the solution is just to be in those situations more often, so I will realize they are innocuous and part of life, and to pray about it. 

I wonder if other people feel this way or if I’m more sensitive since I came into the relationship with trust issues.  He’s not doing anything wrong or inappropriate, so I know all of the growing/changing needs to happen on my end.  I’m going to scoot this up on my priority list!  Feels good to write it down…I also want to work on not comparing myself to other women.  We were at the pool the other day and I saw the most beautiful girl in this town.  I felt so badly about myself the rest of the day.  I wonder if I make people feel badly about themselves – I never want to do that…It’s a terrible feeling. 
I’m going to make my 32nd year a year of increased selflessness and gratitude.  I am going to pour even more energy into my family and less into what (I think) I’m missing out on.  Of all the other things I would like to be doing (traveling, playing the guitar, swimming, riding horses, etc…) none of it would mean a thing without the love I have for my boys and my husband.  They give meaning to everything else I do. (The end)

So, satan can use my insecurity as a wrench, but he's not the only one.  God can use it, too.  I LOVE the following quote by Fr. Bede Jarrett:

"God allows our faults and temptations.  But, surely God cannot want me to have such a weakness, temptation?  Oh, yes.  He does.  He made each of us with our individual character and its difficulties.  If we look back we can see how through all our lives it has been the same thing - so we can't help it can we?  For some reason, God has given these things to us to carry out His will.  We must rememer that circumstances are ALWAYS favorable to God's plan, always, always.  To our own, no, very fortunately for us...what seems to us so unfortunate is the best possible thing in God's plan, and so we must never look back."

Thank you, God for my insecurity, if that's the way you want it.  It is terribly uncomfortable and I think I would rather carry a different cross.  But, all crosses are uncomfortable and I know that You use all things for my good because I love you.  Lord, help me to rebuild the nest of my thinking so that only You may enter and satan must remain outside.  Jesus, I trust in You.  Amen.


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