Tag: insecurity (page 1 of 2)

5 Practices to Combat Yard-sticking, Part 2

We all want to feel significant. Am I right??  We want to be -ER or -EST.

But when the only way we get our validation is through “yard-sticking” (being better or best), rather through God’s unconditional delight in us we’re sunk.

I compare, and I think “Ahhhh! I’m better than that!” and pride sneaks in. Or I compare and I think, “Oh, I’ll never be as good as ______” and I forget my worth in Jesus. Pride or Insecurity are the dangers of focusing on -er and -est.

This is an on-going struggle, kind of like whack-a-mole, needing constant attention because the yardstick will pop up over and over.

The other day I wrote about the first 3 practices that I’ve tried in combatting the tendency to yardstick. Here are the final 2. What would you add?

4. Practice gratitude.

Everything God created is good, and to be received with thanks. 1Timothy 4:4 MSG

Stop and make a list of the gifts, talents, and opportunities God has given you, thanking Him for the “good works He planned for you long ago”. Even things that seem like limitations may be used for God’s glory. Think of Peter and Paul in jail and their witness.

5. Embrace the discipline of genuine affirmation that comes from a place of abundance not scarcity.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Sometimes, especially when someone else is getting a boatload of attention, it’s hard to be affirming. We can choke on our words because we think “It’s not FAIR!” But when we can be authentic and specific I believe it will strengthen our confidence in God as a God of abundance and not scarcity.


One caveat…I do believe that there are times when we’re called to protect our soul from people who somehow Satan seems to consistently use to reinforce the lie of “not good enough”.  This doesn’t mean they are bad people at all, but I unfollow and unsubscribe those who bring out shame or anxiety in me. Boundaries can be a blessing.

None of this is easy. What thoughts would you add?



What to do With the Ding

You’re the only family not invited to a relative’s wedding. You wonder, whaaaat did we do wrong?


You send an email with a question and get crickets, leading you to imagine all kinds of crazy scenarios why.


A colleague always seems to outshine you, leaving you feeling inadequate.


Some close friends start avoiding you because they disagree with a leadership decision you made.


A family member betrays your trust and disregards a promise, refusing address the issue.


These are all real-life dings that friends have shared with me.

Your dings are different, but we all get them. It’s an inevitable part of…well…being us.

A ding can take our emotions hostage if we let it. 

It can bind and gag us, leaving us in a dark basement with feelings of “less than”, shame, and “not good enough”.

I think of Daniel, Shaddrach, Meshach, Abednego – all taken captive in Babylon.

In spite of the power being exerted over them, they chose not to let their spirits be taken hostage. They trusted in the Lord – His values, His opinion, His calling on their lives, not Nebuchadnezzar’s.

But think what intention this required! The temptation to cower, compromise, compare, or conclude they were second-class would have been constant. How many times did they repeat something like this to themselves?

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7

So…maybe we should ask a question of our ding:

God, what do YOU say to me? About me?

Confession: It’s easy for me to ASK these questions, but to be still and really listen for the Lord’s answers? Much harder!

Erwin McManus reminds us: “Don’t let an arrow of criticism pierce your heart unless it first passes through the filter of Scripture.” 

Instead of being held hostage by our feelings, can what we’re feeling be liberated by the sword of God’s Word? What perspective, peace, or promise frees us there?

Recently I shared a ding with a friend and she reminded me we are to “respond with the energies of prayer”. She wisely suggested praying: Lord, I welcome You into this ding. Let it bring out the best in me.”

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! … And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

How do YOU deal with the dings?

Judging the Woman in the Photo and the One in the Mirror

I look at the photo next to a post I’m reading online, and immediately my mind goes to critique like an East German figure skating judge in the 1980 Olympics.

Wow, look at those huge bags under her eyes!

She definitely shouldn’t have worn brightly patterned leggings at her age and size. 

That lipstick clashes with her red hair. 

Score: 3.2/10

Judgy Mcjudgerson.

And then I look into her eyes. And there I see the hope and uncertainty of all of us.

Her eyes say,

“This feels vulnerable and I really want you to like me.”

“I know I have bags under my eyes and I’ve tried everything to change that. I talk to God daily about accepting my looks.”

“I tried on five outfits before landing on this one, wanting to look fashionable and camouflage my hips, but not appear like I’m trying too hard.”

The details are different, but her eyes say she has the same conversations with herself that I have with myself.

It’s difficult for me to look at videos or pictures of myself.


And I’m reminded once again…

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” Wendy Mass

Jesus looks at the woman in the picture and says “You are fearfully and wonderfully made by Me. You are my beloved daughter, beautiful just as you are. Score: Infinity.”

The woman I don’t know in the photo is longing to be loved and accepted just like the one I see in my mirror. Just like you.

We’re all doing our best. Be gentle.

Two Things to Remember When You’re Feeling Insecure

IMG_4142Every time I’m on a run and approach someone running towards me here’s what I think they’re thinking:

What?! Look at that chubby old person! What is SHE doing out here with the REAL runners? 

Ok, now your turn. Maybe it’s not running, but your thing might be:

  • Every time I walk into a room of couples here’s what I think they’re thinking…
  • Every time I show up at church here’s what I think people are thinking…
  • Every time I have people over to my house here’s what I think they’re thinking…
  • Every time I meet another mom here’s what I think she’s thinking…

When I’m running and those destructive thoughts fill my head I remind myself of two things: Continue reading

What are You Trying to Cover Up?

“The good news is that we’re all doomed, and you can give up any sense of control. Resistance is futile. Many things are going to get worse and weaker, like democracy and your upper arms.” Anne Lamott

Unfortunately I’m not quite ready to throw in the towel.

This weekend we’re going to be celebrating a family wedding in Florida, so that means trying to fix all the body parts that I can usually cover or camouflage in winter, but which will be uncovered and un-camouflaged in photos for all eternity after February 14th.

In my efforts to fix All Of The Things before Saturday, I focus first on my freckly legs and arms.  I blame the 70’s and Farrah Fawcett for this debacle that no amount of magic cream can repair.  We were all about the baby oil and rays and tan.

Gen Y you are wiser and prettier than that. You’ll grow old maintaining your alabaster skin because your moms slathered you with sunscreen. Thank them. Today.

Anyway, a friend of mine told me about Jergens Natural Glow – a moisturizer with sunscreen that “gradually creates flawless natural-looking color…” Tan in a tube! It worked for her so I gave it a go, but on me it looks totally orange, so now I just appear like I’ve been on a bizarre diet of carrots for the past 6 months.

Next, I finally gave in and bought a sleeveless dress after resisting for years.  Unfortunately the fashion industry has apparently decided that sleeves are too extravagant so they aren’t making them any more.  Consequently I’m hoping that 3 weeks of lifting tiny weights in front of the TV will result in finely toned arms for this weekend.  A woman can dream.

So what’s your thing?  What is it that you’re self-conscious about? The thing that keeps you from getting out on the dance floor, or from wearing a swim suit, or compels you to wear a hat? Continue reading

Birthdays, Feeling the Awesomeness, and a Spiritual Practice

A little re-post from a couple years ago…Have a happy Monday and remember you’re awesome! (even without a hat)


Here’s an email one of our daughters sent to friends recently, asking them to save October 15th.  Why that day?   Here’s what she wrote:

“Because it’s magical.  Because it’s the day of my birth!  And I demand that you all celebrate with me.  I don’t have an exact plan yet, but you can assume that it will involve you all, celebratory beverages, and you all telling me how glad you are that I was born.

I love it!  Now of course she was writing that tongue in cheek.  She’s not at all arrogant, but unlike most of us, she does have a pretty healthy self-image. 

I, on the other hand, am more like the rest of the world, and deal with insecurity in varying degrees depending on how many cookies I’ve eaten, a song I heard on the radio, and the barometric pressure that day.

I love Mark Batterson’s thought: “Our focus determines our reality.”

Am I focusing on ME and how I stack up compared to everyone else?  Or am I focusing on GOD and the truth that I am a beloved child of His and He delights in me? Continue reading

2 Questions, 2 Truths

When you I write a blog post I rarely never have the time to find all the scrumptious words or present my offering with the “voila!” of someone serving a gourmet feast at Thanksgiving.

But this morning, more than most, I feel like I’m serving up “bare naked chicken” – just a couple of things I’ve been thinking about that seem to go together.

A few weeks ago I was listening to a sermon podcast by Craig Groeschel and honestly I can’t remember the point of the sermon because as an aside (not having to do with the message at all), he said his counselor had asked him two questions.

Those two questions are what my mind keeps returning to.  Here’s what they are: Continue reading

What to do When You Don’t Have X-Ray Vision

I played a tennis match awhile ago against an amazon-like woman who wore her anger like the too-tight tennis dress she had on.

I tried to talk friendly. “Wow it looks like you’ve been somewhere warm!” I said admiring her tan.

She glared at me. “No.  No place,” she said emphatically.  “I just do this for tennis.” indicating a self-tanner.

“Have you played long?”

“Awhile.” Scowl.

We played.  She scowled more.  Gave terse answers to my attempts to get to know her.  Told me I was flat-out wrong on a line call.  She got mean.

She scared me.  Honestly!

I started praying while I played “Lord what is going on with this woman?”  This is crazy.  This is stupid soccer mom tennis, not Wimbledon.”

“Hurting people hurt people.” I heard in my head.  Then I realized it wasn’t anger she was wearing, but shame.  And sadness.

After the match I tried once again.  It turned out she was just back after maternity leave.  I’m sure she had been up with a baby and was sleep-deprived.  It became clear she was feeling fat and ugly and not at all “herself”.

I remember those hard-to-feel-beloved-when-you’re-so-cross-eyed-tired-and-barely-have-time-to-shower days.

It made me wonder how often we mistake shame for anger. We see the battle fatigues someone is wearing and miss the tattered t-shirt of pain hiding beneath.

Continue reading

The One that Jesus Loves (More than Me)

Confession:  Every once in awhile (read: way too often), I look at ______, or _______, or _______  and I compare myself and come up short and decide I’m going to throw in the towel.

No, nothing drastic, but just I’m just going to quit “showing up”.

Jesus clearly has gifted “them” more, is using “them” more powerfully, loves “them” more.

I decide, yep, I’m going to give up writing or parenting, or setting goals, or mentoring or exercising or speaking or being available, or risking…

This has prompted me to question, “What is it that inhibits and what is it that inspires us to live our unique story?”

What motivates you to become a better version of yourself?  To celebrate the work God wants to do uniquely through you?

And conversely, What is destructive to your true self – the self that finds meaning in being a beloved child of God?

This is not a new struggle and I know I’m not alone. Can I get an “Amen!”?

As I’ve been talking with God about this yelling “Lord help me figure this out! Now!”  He brought to mind this little exchange in John 21 (remember John is writing):

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them…When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”  Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”


You know how John has that irritating way of referring to himself as “the disciple Jesus loved”?  I wonder how that made Peter feel.  Was he tempted to buy into the lie that John was the ONE (the only one) Jesus loved?  More than anyone else?  Was he tempted to compare and be blinded to the ways that Jesus loved him and wanted to use his unique gifts, temperament and experience?

Jesus basically says, “Quit looking at his his life, his “likes”, invitations, followers, hits, gifts, retweets, his family, his successes or failures and look at Me.

Because I have a story I want to write through you that I can’t write through him.”

I believe Jesus says that to us too.

And so we can say: “I’m the one that Jesus loves.  And so is he.  Or she.

God has given me a unique voice and a valuable story.

And God has given them a different voice and different valuable story.”

You have gifts and relationships and experiences and a platform that I don’t have.  That no one else has in the exact same combination.

I pray you’ll move into this Monday celebrating that you’re the one Jesus loves and is using in a way that He can use no one else.

What’s one thing you can celebrate about your unique voice today?

The Voice of Fear on Fearless Friday

I do not think of myself at an insecure person.  So writing these next sentences feels a little like Lance Armstrong must have felt coming clean with Oprah.  Except for the fact that I don’t have millions to lose and I’ve never won a bike race and I’m not a guy. Ok, it’s totally different, but here’s my confession.

I’ve been decidedly daunted this week.  Perfectly paralyzed. Buffeted by the winds of self-doubt and discouragement.

This seemed to come out of nowhere, but when I stopped to pray and reflect I can trace the beginnings to a Tweet.  Yep, it took just 140 insensitive characters to take me down.  “Really?”  you’re saying.  Really?

And then there was a post by someone who made me furious and jealous at the same time.

And a word here or the lack of a word there…

Holy Buckets!  Just days ago I was undaunted…bullet-proof, regardless of any spitballs that might be spat my way!  And now the spiral into the comparison trap that left me in a heap of ” Not good enough.  Not good enough.”

Ever end up there?  Maybe by a different road, but still?

Who or What is it in your life that brings up those feelings of fear or insecurity?

Recently I read this quote by Rick Warren that made me respond “Yes!”:

“Insecurity is an internal alarm that says you’re trusting in something that could be taken from you instead of [trusting in] Christ.”  

So I’ve been stewing and praying (sometimes the two look a lot alike) about how to deal with this.  It’s messy and it’s a process and it’s not easy.  Here are a few of the things I’ve been trying.

1.  Identify the voice. When you feel angry, or fearful, or jealous, or small, do you stop and think “Where is that coming from? Just who or what is really saying that to me?”  Why am I giving it such power in my life?  Why does it bring up this strong emotion in me?  Does it tap into a past wound that I need to address?

2.  Challenge the voice with the truth.  “Bring every thought captive to Christ.”  What would Jesus say in response to this narrative?   If the story in your head says anything other than that you are gifted by God, fearfully and wonderfully made, cherished by Him, created for good works that He has for you, it’s a lie and you need to tell it to shut up. (I know, easier said than done!)

3.  Manage what or who you’re allowing to get in your head.  For me this means ruthlessly putting up some boundaries.  Fasting from some social media, and un-following some people who are wonderful but bring out my worst self.  It may be totally different for you.  It might involve the people you spend time with or the shows you watch or where you go or whatever…

Why is this so important?

Because if we listen to the voice of fear and insecurity when God calls us to go, we’ll stay.

When He calls us to stay the course, we’ll run away.

When He calls us to speak, we’ll remain silent.  And I truly believe that all of our voices are valuable and needed in the kingdom.

Those are a few of my strategies.  What helps you?

P.S.  I wrote this and afterwards I saw this great image posted by John Acuff.  Happy Friday!



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