Friday, February 24, 2012
The biggest defences around our biggest insecurities
It's funny how often the things we feel like we least have to worry about, turn out to be the things that trip us up. Did I say funny? I meant ironic and annoying.
It could be the old 'pride before a fall' - we stop paying attention because we think it's all ok, and it gets away from us.
But sometimes it's because we are fooling ourselves.
Have you ever heard someone boasting about their skills and talents? Telling you how great their life is? If you don't immediately dismiss them thinking they are conceited and just don't know how to be humble, you may get the sneaking suspicion that they aren't all as together as their bluster is trying to prove.
We do this to ourselves, and it's a lot harder to pick. You rarely ignore yourself for being boastful and blustery.
What do you find yourself justifying? For what aspects of your life do you find yourself coming up with convincing arguments about why it's all ok? What are the biggest obelisks of personal pride in your life, the things that you will hold on to no matter what anyone else says? The things you are tempted to pursue and continue, even if others don't like it? The things you to which you say 'they just don't understand'?
Chances are, if you have to have conversations with yourself about something, you're putting up defences.
We build the biggest defences around our biggest insecurities.
I have been learning how to examine myself this year - to pull apart all my thoughts on shopping (through Project 3:11), on travelling and other dreams I equated with my identity and worth, on family life, marriage and being a woman.
In all these areas there were things that I was guarding and protecting, putting up fronts to convince everyone that I was secure in who I was. The problem with putting up a facade of security is that behind the scenes you are denying yourself the chance to actually be who you are. Who God created you to be.
We often pick up things - experiences, beliefs, behaviours - that at one time made us feel a spark of confidence, of self worth, of meaning and purpose. They did it once, and so we carry them with us, continuing to pursue those things hoping they will continue to work.
They may have started as good things. The problem is, we turn the things - our talents, our dreams, our ideas - into the objects of our pursuit instead of the One who gave us those things. And while we are busy chasing things that rapidly lose any ability to define us like they once did - and were only a pale reflections to begin with - we are missing the chance to get the real thing.
What have you put the biggest defences around? What are you holding on to most tightly to make you feel secure in who you think you are, or are meant to be?
If it's anything other than your identity and worth in God, then maybe it's time to examine these idols.
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 1 Corinthians 3:11-13
It's not easy. I notice some things that feel so ingrained, so embedded in the bedrock of my emotional foundation, that it feels horribly unnerving to even imagine dislodging them.
But the amazing thing is, I don't have to do it alone. In most cases, I don't even have to do it at all.
If we start trying to pull everything apart ourselves, we will just end up dismantling our lives and being left with rubble. But if we are willing to surrender to God, to open our inmost selves up to Him, then he will take those things that aren't meant to be there and remove them. He takes those things out with more precision than the most skilled surgeon.
There have been things in my life that I have felt like I was struggling with forever, that I was convinced I would struggle with forever - nothing I tried seemed to be able to change it - and then in one moment with God...it was gone.
And unlike surgery, there hasn't been more damage done. You don't have to lie for weeks in a hospital bed and hope you don't get an infection.
And what you realise is, that thing you thought was to big, too foundational, too ingrained to move without everything else crumbling - you were never actually relying on it after all. Your self worth and value wasn't built on it at all. It was a false foundation. All this time you were built on God; everything is resting on him.
Any time God takes something out of our lives, it's a paradox. Normally if you take something away, there's a hole, an emptiness, a lack. But with God, if he takes it away, that space is filled with more of Him. You realise that thing you thought was too important to let go of, that you relied on too much to give over, was actually making you feel less worthy, less satisfied, less whole.
If you look around your life and notice some whopping great defences, don't be afraid to look behind them. Let God in to those places and you won't regret it.
Without those, you give God more room to fill your life with His purpose. The real thing is always better than a pale imitation.
Lay it down. Aren't you tired of carrying that heavy burden all by yourself? Aren't you tired of trying to hold up those defences?
I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him. Romans 12:1
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26
"Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new Spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you". Ezekiel 36:26-27.