Viewing entries tagged
insecurity

Kirsten Stricklin: Comparison

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Kirsten Stricklin: Comparison

I’m twenty-one years old, and I struggle with being insecure.

This still comes as a shock to me. I had always assumed that when I was “grown up,” I would no longer have to deal with accepting myself for who I am. Every day, though, is a matter of letting go of my own insecurities and finding my security in Christ.

I finally caught a glimpse of how much it hurts the heart of God when I wish to be anyone other than myself.
— Kirsten Stricklin

My insecurities began, like many people’s, in middle school. I was shy. I sported hormonal acne-prone skin, slightly greasy hair, and a large gap between my two front teeth, and my fashion sense was a bit – undeveloped (to put it nicely). I had just started a new school, so I was struggling to make friends. In my eyes, the girls at my new school were perfect – they had close friends, cute clothes, and even boyfriends. And then there was me, with no friends, old clothes, and very boyfriend-less. As a result, I felt much less than perfect, undeserving of close friends, and fairly worthless most of the time.

I began to compare myself to those girls whom I viewed as perfect. I would see girls with silky blonde hair and begin to hate my own brown locks; I would see girls with flawless skin and, consequently, coat my face with makeup to hide the acne bumps and red splotches. I wanted a model body and an outgoing personality and for people to love me, just like they loved those seemingly “perfect” girls. The comparison battle was an endless cycle. Slowly, without realizing it, comparing myself became an addiction. Every day, I would compare myself to girls at my school, in books, in movies, and in magazines, imagining exactly what I would change about myself in order to be more like them. I began to feel unhappy, disappointed with myself, and thoroughly insecure.

Truly, comparison is deadly. Once we begin comparing ourselves to other people, it becomes almost impossible to stop. Even after my skin cleared up, the oils in my hair disappeared, and my braces worked a miracle on my teeth, I continued to compare myself. I never felt beautiful. I spent all of my time wishing that I was someone else altogether. I desired – even prayed – for a personality transplant, for a supernatural plastic surgery, for whatever it would take to make me anything other than myself.

It was my senior year of high school before things started to change. I finally began to quiet myself before God, and that made all of the difference. He began to whisper to me the truth about who I am. His voice was never loud, demanding, or accusing. He said lovingly that He sees me as a flawless creation, whole and fully perfect in every way. My personality, my looks, and everything about me was designed for a reason, even if I can’t see that reason yet. I finally caught a glimpse of how much it hurts the heart of God when I wish to be anyone other than myself. His voice was a sweet undertone in my day, gently speaking truth to my heart and breaking my addiction of comparing myself.

I can’t say that things are easy now – they aren’t. Comparison truly is like a drug, and it is one that does not loosen its grip easily. Every day, though, I choose to walk in the fact that I was designed by a perfect Creator who does not make mistakes. I am perfectly and wonderfully made. I am chosen. I am called. It is those truths that allow me to be secure – secure, fully and totally, in Christ.

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Heather Dickinson: It makes you stronger

I never thought rejection would be one of my biggest insecurities. And if you know me, you would never have thought it either.  Allow me to tell you the story of a third grade girl, who merely desired to change her world.  I grew up in church; colored coloring pages on the pews, used my brother as a road for Hot Wheels, and ate those cute little strawberry candies. A few months after I turned seven, I decided that I wanted to follow Jesus. At the time, I really didn’t know what that meant. That is, until I had a vision two years later. I’d had dreams before, but something about this one was different. We were on the playground. About five of my friends and I had formed some sort of Conga line, and we were marching around singing about Jesus. That may have been the extent of the mental vision, but divine visions never die.  I told my dad about this vision I’d had, along with how God was calling me to start a campus club called “The Disciple Train.” He was stoked, and helped by making me flyers and business cards to pass out.

I’d never been called to the principal’s office before that day in the third grade, and to this day it’s the only time I ever have been. As soon as I saw my parents, I began to rack my brain wondering what I had done wrong. I only remember one thing about that visit to the principal’s office. My principal holding up one of the business cards my dad had made, and her saying, “This is unacceptable.” I don’t remember her reasoning, but something tells me she was afraid of her school being rocked for Jesus Christ.

That day was where the insecurity of rejection came into my life. Rejection is the reason I didn’t even think about campus clubs again until the summer before my eighth grade year. For five years, I let it eat away at me, and still to this day I struggle. In seventh grade I attended a weekly bible club at my school, but waited until the end of the year to even get remotely involved. In eighth grade though, I took ownership of that club. I also began a weekly prayer meeting at the flag. And out of that prayer meeting came a weekly bible study. I was leading three bible clubs a week, and living in my vision.

I want to remind you that your insecurities don’t define you. In all honesty, they make you stronger.


When I entered ninth grade last year, I had one goal: rekindle the fire in my high school. There had been a campus club the year before, but was nullified due to low attendance. I had no clue how I was going to restart this club, but I knew I had to. Two months into the school year we had our first meeting in my Geometry teacher’s classroom. We had two meetings in his room, and then he started getting there too late for us to accomplish anything. We then moved to the Computer Applications classroom, and no one showed up. Filled with discouragement, I began to give up hope.  But one week later, I came home to some pretty exciting news. At the time, my dad was working with a local organization called Young Faith in Christ. He informed me that they had received a call from one of the coaches at my school, asking what he would need to do to sponsor a campus club. It took me a week to work up the courage to talk to him, but I am so glad I did. He helped us get the campus club off the ground, and this year it is an official club at my high school. This year I continue to be involved with that club. Last year and this year I also have assisted with a bible club on one of our elementary campuses.

This year though, I had the opportunity of a lifetime. Even though I was super excited, this opportunity made me strongly fear rejection.  It took three months after the idea was proposed to get a teacher to sponsor the club. After a lot of rejection I started a new campus club. The Insecurely Movement Campus Club began Friday, November 8th, 2013. The club, targeted at high school girls, is a place where girls can come together to discuss the things that are thrown at us by society every day. With eight girls in attendance at our first meeting, three months of rejection paid off. I can’t wait to see what else God has in store for the club, this incredible movement, and for the lives He will impact with both.

In conclusion, I want to remind you that your insecurities don’t define you. In all honesty, they make you stronger. My insecurity allowed me to start a campus club for other girls dealing with insecurities of their own. My insecurity also allowed me to know what God wanted me to do with my life, and maybe yours could do the same.

 

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I am nothing but value.

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I am nothing but value.

In the moments of our greatest strength, we become the most weak; it's when we have it altogether that we feel most incomplete.

We tend to break so easily in a world so small compared to a God so big. It's as if we forget that He is ours and we are His.

 

Why is it that we feel defined by our makings rather than our maker? That through these creations we convince our hearts are better.

That somehow, we find assurance from what's around our built up walls ,instead of the One who's within us that's held us through it all.

 

That in the moments we begin to gradually fall apart, we run to the things that shattered us instead of the One who mends our fragile heart.

You see, reality isn't always as it seems to be; no, God has much greater than we can even see.

 

Life is a journey and every journey is a dream, waiting to be discovered and waiting to be believed.

For better or for worse, our words may say. But in those times of trouble, our promise fades away.

 

When the truth is, we are nothing. But these are the words we don't want to hear. We strive to be more, but God makes it clear.

We aren't enough because He is. And because of His love, we are called His.

 

We are chosen, crowned, branded by His love. But we try to find our worth in quotes, gifts, and love.

We wait forever for this drastic change in our life, overseeing the fact that our revolution lives inside.

 

We have been built up in such a lie that our heart has become blind, to forget that our value was bought when Jesus died.

So stand up! And rebel against the lies, the hurt, and the pain. They won't make you stronger; they're not for your gain.

 

Give it all to God, and He'll transform your heart. He brings freedom from bondage that sets you apart.

Trust beyond understanding for in seeking comes truth, for your value is found in your seeking, and patience is a virtue.

 

It's a step-by-step process, where God writes on your heart, with mountains and valleys, you'll discover Whose you are.

This same love that made you creates you in truth. You just have to believe that Jesus died for you.

 

When you begin to grasp how He paid the highest price, you'll begin to believe the value you've always had inside.

You're a treasure, a jewel, with imperishable beauty. There is no flaw, no small mistake, you're made insecurely.

 

You are loved, you are valued, and you are beautiful, but you are nothing without the God who gave you His all.

Because you were worth it; you always have been. You just have to see your true beauty lives within.

Believe it, accept it, and then you'll start to see, who you really are opposed to what you were supposed to be.

 

"God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns."Psalm 46:5

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Yesica Goblirsch: Say goodbye to insecurity

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Yesica Goblirsch: Say goodbye to insecurity

Beauty is something we all strive for, but too often do we settle for a "worldly" version of beauty, as opposed to the true beauty given to us by God.

If I can be totally honest, two of my biggest struggles were lust and feeling beautiful. At a young age, I was taken advantage of by someone close to my family. As I grew older, I became aware and understood what he did to me. I felt like my purity was robbed and I struggled after this for years. I would exercise more than any normal person should, and if I didn't do that I would eat whatever I pleased, and continue on in this roller coaster called life. Trying my hardest to fully satisfy the deepest longings within my soul. I still believed in God, but I didn't fully know and understand His love for me. I was able to pull myself together and keep myself together, but I struggled with lust. That was my biggest struggle.

Although most never knew about my inner struggles, living in bondage to brokenness, to sin, to shame and to temptation truly held me back from my full potential in Christ. Even more so it held me back from the overwhelming, perfect, all-encompassing love of Christ. I didn't value myself and my decisions reflected lacked the fact that I did not possess self-respect.

However, a few years ago, God made himself more real than ever before. On the outside I looked fine, but on the inside I was struggling and God knew that. God saw and knew my heart. He had enough of seeing me like this, and met me where I was. In my brokenness, God loved and restored me. God held my heart as He pieced me back together. Every chain and lie that was holding me back was broken. My burdens and heaviness was lifted and I felt free again. The fogginess that blurred my vision was cleared and I could see the light, grace and love of Jesus that had been all around from the very start of time. It's amazing. After years of pursuing the world, the moment I fully embraced God changed my life forever.

I'm not sure what you're going through as you read a tidbit of my story, but I want you to know that you were made for SO much more! This world isn't always the nicest and too often do we allow ourselves to get bogged down by the world. God did not intend for us to live a life of insecurities! He sent His only Son so that we could have freedom! Do you understand that? I didn't fully grasp the significance of Jesus' sacrifice. He gave HIS LIFE so we could choose to live. Jesus was fully aware that there was a chance His sacrifice would go unnoticed, that some people will choose to follow the world instead of Him.

However, he thought that the possibility of us having freedom in His perfect love, just the possibility to choose life, was worth it. Too often we fall beneath the lies of satan and this world, I know I did. But God loves you so much and He wants you to believe His truth, that you are beautiful and were created with a divine purpose. Psalm 45:11 says to "Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord." Believe that you are beautiful, because it's true. Believe that you have immense purpose, because your life is significant and you have the ability to be a world changer!

Before God delivered me, I had to stand up with my chains on. Any insecurities, fears and doubts you may be dealing with are chains. I encourage you to stand up with your chains on and find truth and freedom in Jesus! You are beautiful! You are the apple of God's eye. You are a princess because you are a daughter of the King Most High. Let God shower you with His love because Jesus literally died so that you could experience the love and presence of God fully.

It's time to say goodbye to insecurities. Stand up with your chains on and find freedom.

 

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His Side: Q&A with Dylan

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His Side: Q&A with Dylan

Let me start by saying that I am not an expert and my advice is by no means perfect or even universal. My thoughts come from making mistakes, listening to mentors, thoughtful prayer and careful study of scripture. While I have learned a lot about life through these experiences, my journey has just begun. Some of these answers may fill you with joy and be exactly what you were looking for while others may offend you and leave you with more questions. Whatever your interpretation, you may always reach out to me on my twitter or the contact form on my personal web page and I will always take time to respond. Now that all of that is out of the way, here are the questions!

I'm really into this guy, but I think he's into someone else and he's a valuable friend to me. What should I do?

If he’s really a valuable friend to you, you should tell him how you feel. If he shares the same feelings you do, you’ve just made life a lot easier for both of you. If he doesn’t, you can move on with your friendship and be mature enough to not let things be awkward between you.

Guys say, "you look beautiful without makeup." but I think it's always just because they want you to feel better. Honestly, how do you feel about makeup?

I can’t speak for all guys, but I can honestly say that I believe girls don’t need makeup to be beautiful. I think any real man would agree. God made you in His image, and while I think makeup can enhance beauty, it can’t replace your natural beauty. There will come a day when your husband will see you without makeup and he will still love you because you are you, flaws and all.

I am 20 years old and really want to find someone and settle down. Is that too early?

The short answer is no. I have several friends who have been married at 19 and 20 and were mature and ready for that step in their lives. However, I will give you a few words of caution. 1. Don’t get so focused on trying to find someone that you settle for less than what you deserve. 2. Don’t get so focused on trying to find someone that you romanticize all of your relationships with the opposite gender. 3. Live in the now. You’re young and now is the perfect time to have fun without having to worry about balancing your job, your marriag

e, your kid

s, and other commitments. Remember Romans 12:2.

Do guys really struggle with the way girls dress? If I dress too modest no guy will ever notice me.

While not all guys struggle with the ways girls dress, there are many that do. It is scientifically proven that guys are more visually stimulated than girls (although recent studies have shown that our culture is literally rewiring girls’ brains to be more visually stimulated). You’ve probably heard this statement but it really is true. “Modest is hottest.” When you pick your outfit in the morning your goal should never be to make a guy notice you. This isn’t just coming from me, this is a principle we can see all over the Bible (1 Timothy 2:9). When the right man comes along, it won’t take a revealing outfit to get him to notice you.

Where do you draw the line between "accepting" yourself and striving for the person God made you to be... i.e. being overweight. Do I strive to be in shape? Is being overweight a sin?

Let’s start with the first part. I think there is a difference between accepting yourself and striving for the person God made you to be.  We can accept and be secure in the fact that we are a child of God, made perfect in His image, while still

recognizing that we are continually on a journey to be more like Christ each day. Now let’s address your second question. While I do not believe being overweight is inherently sinful, I do believe that it can be an outward evidence of sin. For example, the Bible tells us that laziness is sinful, gluttony is sinful, selfish indulgence is sinful, and deliberate misuse of God’s temple is sinful. These are all lifestyle choices that can inherently lead to being overweight, being unhealthy, or being emotionally distressed. That being said, there are also health conditions and other factors that can lead to these conditions and if you are experiencing this I believe God understands your situation and will meet you where you are.

How do I

combat the fact that I am not sexually attracted to men? What does this mean, and is it Biblically wrong to be attracted to other women?

I believe the question you are trying to ask is whether or not homosexuality is sinful. My answer is yes. The Bible defines marriage as the sexual union between a man and a woman and prohibits extramarital union, including homosexual ones. Aside from marriage or sexual unions, the Bible implicitly includes homosexuality in its prohibition of sexual immorality. This is not only referenced in the Old Testament under the old covenant but also in the New Testament under the new covenant that was established through Christ (Genesis 1:26, 27; 2:18, 22, 24, 25; Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:25−27; and 1 Corinthians 6:9−11). The best way to walk in the Perfect Will of God is by spending time studying scripture and also spending time in prayerful conversation with God.

Be Blessed,

Dylan Nieman

 

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Megan Hallmark: Appearances won't make you beautiful

Megan Growing up I never felt beautiful. I had many insecurities. I have three older sisters, who are all gorgeous. I always wanted to look like them.

In the 4th grade, my teeth were horrible. I had fangs that stuck out. In hopes of straightening my teeth, I had some of them pulled. So, at this point, I pretty much had my four front teeth, with two of them fangs. I had kids ask me why my teeth were the way they were and I would never smile in fear that they would show.

In addition to that problem, I was born with keratosis pilaris, or as I would always call it “chicken skin.” It's a condition that gives you dry bumps on your cheeks, backs of the arms, and thighs. I was always red.

To make it worse, when I was in middle school I was already 5 foot 5 and weighed 108 pounds. I was bigger than all of my classmates and none of the other girls were even close to being 100 pounds! I felt fat all the time even though I was proportional for my size. I would compare myself to models or older women whom I thought were very pretty, but I didn’t have the soft clear skin, the hourglass figure or the perfect, non-frizzy hair. I did not have the beautiful smile that they had. I felt ugly and insecure, so I searched for my securities in guys. I wore skimpy outfits and would do anything for attention.

In 8th grade I started to gain confidence in my appearance. I learned how to control my crazy curly hair and started to feel like someone who could be beautiful. Finally, in my sophomore year of high school, I was able to get braces. My teeth slowly straightened out and I felt more and more beautiful. I actually started to smile with my teeth for the first time. By senior year, I had my braces off, I had figured out how to clear up my skin, and I felt beautiful. I had grown so much in my walk with the Lord because of a depression that I went through that it didn’t matter anymore what guys thought of me. I was content and happy with whom I was and my husband was going to love me for me. Now, I am not saying that all of my insecurities are gone. I still have people that point out the fact that I'm pretty flat, but I just say that God made me beautiful and I can accept who I am. It has taken me a long time to finally get to this point. I still joke about it with my friends, but it is a part of who I am and I don’t need the hourglass figure to feel beautiful.

The thing is, what's really important is not that I felt beautiful. After all of that, I realized that none of that appearance ever mattered. I had the same worth with my ugly teeth, weird skin, and awkward body as I did with my fresh braces-free face and better hair. Sadly, that's the thing that happens so many times. You don't realize how worthy you are until you've found the worth in something else.

Do not gain your confidence or your beauty from what the media says or by how many guys you have dated or like you. It will lead you to despair and destruction of yourself. Just remember that God made you beautiful. He is going to bring you the desires of your heart.

You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. Song of Solomon 4:7

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Inspiration of the Week: Paige White

paigePaige is featured as Insecurely Movement's "Inspiration of the Week." She is a sophomore bio/pre-med major at Cedarville University and plans on taking medicine overseas to use for medical missions. She absolutely loves Insecurely Movement because of the awareness that it’s giving young women of their God-given beauty and seeing the confidence and hope it's restoring in their lives so they can take on the world while staying secure in His love.  Ladies, the assault on our hearts as women is growing intensely harsh in today’s society. Whether its music, movies, magazine photos, high school hallways, teammates, classmates, or Heaven forbid our own friends, we are constantly rained upon with attacks from the enemy. It takes very little for us to believe that we are inadequate, worthless, and in no possession of a beautiful and captivating personality. We are told that everything we should be has to be made up with make-up and false character. We are emptied by lies until we have barely the strength to make ourselves into what we are told is “worth pursuing”, and even then we are still left feeling incomplete and…dead.

Anything that tells you that you are worthless is a lie. Anything that tells you that you lack beauty is a lie. Anything that tells you that you are powerless is a lie.

“Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention:   Forget your people and your father’s house.  Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord.” Psalm 45:10-11

Think about that for a second…The King of all Kings is absolutely captivated by your beauty. He designed you and crafted you with an intentionality and purpose unlike anything else in creation.  You have a unique beauty all to yourself that God desires for you to share with the world. Don’t get rid of that! Your beauty is utterly powerful. We women are warriors in an ongoing spiritual battle and our greatest weapon is our beauty. Our beauty reflects God’s beauty; it is something that brings rest, diminishes doubt, and gives life. The enemy knows that; he is keenly aware of our insecurities and that is why he will stop at nothing to ensure that we believe the lie that we have no beauty to offer. Our beauty must be cultivated and cared for. It takes time, fellowship, prayer, vulnerability, and lots of our attention and effort. The only weapon the enemy has against us is the one we lay in his hands. Let’s try our hardest not to let him get to our hearts. Guard your hearts ladies; everything you do, everything about your life flows from your heart.

To my brothers, hey there! This might sound harsh, but can you do all of us girls a favor and not mess with our hearts. If you’ve received the green light from Dad saying that you can pursue us because you have a purpose and intention in doing so, then go get her. But if you haven’t received the green, back off with the flirting. There is a way to be a loving, caring, strong and protective brother of Christ without sending the wrong message. Nothing is more refreshing to me than for one of my brothers to encourage me in my faith, congratulate me in my success, or challenge me in my struggles. Just please remember that our hearts are precious and tender, and I’m asking that you treat them as such. I love all you guys. Keep fighting your insecurities as well. We appreciate you and your strength and leadership. Don’t let the enemy lie to you either, and let us know if there’s anything we can do to help you guys.

For my ladies, remember this: "There is a radiance hidden in your heart that the world desperately needs.” -Stasi Eldredge, Captivating

Now go show the world what you’ve got, beautiful.

 

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His Side: A Love Letter to You

 

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Nii Abrahams

A Love Letter to You

 

Dear Jen, Ashley, Rachel, Whoever You Are,

I know this is a little weird. You probably weren’t expecting a letter from me, and I myself didn’t have any plans of writing a letter to you, my future wife. In fact, this is kind of out of my comfort zone right now. I feel like a middle school boy in one of those awkward Sunday school classes where the only reason you go is because of the free donuts.

Regardless, I’m writing this for you, dear, because you have been on my mind lately. I don’t know who you are, what hobbies you have, how you like your eggs, or even how bad your breath smells in the morning. But, I do know that you’re out there, and things aren’t easy for you — especially in today’s society. There’s so much pressure on you to act a certain way, to be a certain size, to go even farther with the next guy. I’m writing this letter to you to remind and encourage you that despite all the junk around you, I’m here — praying and patiently waiting for you — and waiting to know that you actually hate scrambled eggs, and your breath really is terrible in the morning…

I’m not going to lie. It stinks not knowing where you are. I know God has a plan and his timing is perfect, but it doesn’t make it any easier. There are so many expectations for a guy like me. I should be drinking more, partying more, and hooking up with girls more. But, the reality is, I don’t want or need any of that. Just as much as you are preparing yourself spiritually, be secure and know that I am doing the same. Just know that I’m not perfect. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes and I can still act like a 3-year-old when I don’t get what I want (and not in a cute way). Be secure that with all of my struggles and trials, I am becoming a stronger man to lead our marriage, our kids, and our family. Even though I don’t know you, I pray for you every night. I pray that your love for God grows daily, you are an example for girls around you, and that you are secure in his love.

One of my favorite verses is Philippians 1:6, "Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." I love this verse so much because it’s a constant reminder that God is always growing and developing me into a man after his own heart. Be secure that God’s ways are greater than anything we can comprehend. You just have to trust that he is molding me as well!

So, here is what I need from you. I need you to keep this letter on your heart. Know that when things get tough, I’m here waiting for you. I can’t even imagine the pressure you have to constantly impress guys around you. I know you are constantly being approached and asked out (because you’re gorgeous, duh!), and I want you to enjoy and learn from those dates, but just remember you don’t have to change the way you talk, the way you laugh, or the way you ferociously eat a double cheeseburger.

If you find yourself sitting alone in your room thinking about changing all those things for a guy, then that guy probably isn’t me. If he has something to change about you now, imagine the things he’ll have to change about you 10 years from now! Before you know it, you’ve lost the original beauty of who you are. God has called us both to be secure in who we are because our identity is in Him. I want a girl who is confident in her awkward dancing, obnoxious laughing, and obsessive thrifter ways! He created you to be who you are and that’s never going to change! I’m not going to change the way I laugh at my corny jokes (because quite frankly, I think I am hilarious). I know that whoever you are, you’ll think I’m funny too!

Don’t you see? You have a heavenly father who created you so intricately and delicately that it is not possible He could have made a mistake. What you may see as quirks, I see as the little things that make me a better man. You may not like your feet, but I already love them!

Be secure and steadfast in your prayers. Just as I pray for you, I hope that you pray for me. Pray that I have the strength to lead us with integrity. Pray that I don’t let the things of the world like lust, greed, and pride bring me down. Pray that above all else, God is and always will be the center of our relationship.

For the sake of not writing a novel, I’m going to end this. I don’t want you to think I’m this overly emotional dude. I still have every intention of stealing the remote, leaving my socks on the floor, and snoring. Sorry in advance!

Just remember that above all else, be secure in your relationship with God. Let him fill you every day with his incredible grace and peace that passes all understanding. And when you feel down and alone (even when your stubborn self doesn’t want to admit it), just know that I’m here patiently waiting for you!

You are LOVED. You are VALUED. You are BEAUTIFUL.

 

Love,

Your protector, knight in shining armor, boo-thang, schnookums, and most importantly - your best friend.

 

 

2013-08-20 18.17.16Nii Abrahams is a Senior communication major/sociology minor at Missouri State University. He is a student leader and extremely involved in Chi Alpha Campus Ministries. He has a passion for college students and quickly fell in love with the Insecurely Movement because of its incredible impact on future families. To connect with Nii, follow him on Twitter.

 

 

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His Side: Objectify This

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His Side: Objectify This

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Objectify This

Dylan Nieman

Each and every one of us was created with a unique and important role in bringing God’s glory to a world filled with darkness. But our culture is constantly attempting to define who we are. We are told how to dress, how to style our hair, how to carry ourselves, how to speak, how to fit in, how to be successful, how to find meaning. The list goes on and on.

My hope is that after you read this blog, the first of many I plan to write, that you will be encouraged on your journey to find the purpose that God has for you. Maybe you’ve come across this blog but you have no idea who this “God” is that I’ve been talking so much about. My hope for you is that this blog will spark the beginning of a new relationship between you and a Divine Creator in Heaven.

Let me start by saying that I am not an expert on this subject. I’m just a normal guy who deals with normal problems and insecurities much like everyone else. My thoughts and advice come from making mistakes and overcoming some of the stumbling blocks of life. And while I have learned a lot about life through these experiences, my journey has just begun.

Our culture tells men that objectifying women, watching pornography, sleeping around, playing sports, acting arrogant, and being childish are normal and actually encouraged. Magazines, billboards, TV shows, movies, newspapers, tweets and websites that objectify women almost constantly surround us. It’s easy to understand why women feel insecure. It’s easy to understand why women feel unvalued. It’s easy to understand why women feel unloved.

But it’s also easy to understand why men feel insecure. It’s easy to understand why men lack integrity. It’s easy to understand why men believe nice guys finish last. And it breaks my heart.

If you’re not careful, you will spend so much time trying to become who the world tells you to be that you’ll miss out on becoming who God wants you to be. Luckily, you don’t have to settle for being another statistic. Will it be easy? No. Will it be popular? No. Will it be glamorous? No. But I can promise you this: It will be rewarding.

Understand that you were created with a purpose and that gives you value. Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” You may not know or understand the purpose that God has for your life but you can find comfort and confidence in knowing that God has gone before you and prepared a path for you.

Know that God has prepared you. Psalm 18:39 says “For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me.” From the moment you were created, God began equipping you with the tools you need to face the world. There was a time in my life when I carried this verse everywhere I went and if I found myself struggling I would read it aloud, sometimes multiple times.

Be confident in your beauty. There’s a Hebrew phrase I came across recently: Tov Meod. It simply means “very good” or “something that can’t be added to”. And yet this small, simple phrase carries incredible weight. It’s found in Genesis 1:31. “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” Here’s the best part: He was talking about YOU! You are formed in the perfect image of God. You are the best of the best of the best of His creation.

I know that I’ve only scratched the surface of some these issues but hopefully you have been encouraged and inspired. Until next time, I’ll leave you with a this:

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” (Matthew 6:25-34)

You are loved. You are valued. You are beautiful.

Be blessed,

Dylan

Dylan NiemanDylan Nieman is a Senior at Evangel University. While at Evangel he serves as the Assistant Director of Public Relations and Media for Crosswalk Student Ministries and leads worship at James River Assembly. His passion is to see lives transformed by the power of Jesus Christ. Dylan is excited to be a part of the Insecurely Movement because he believes it is empowering a generation to redefine cultural standards and help both men and women see that they are loved and valued by a Divine Creator. Dylan is joining us a His Side blogger and web designer/videographer. To connect with Dylan, follow him on Twitter, or visit his website.

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Alyssa Moore: The Crooked Life

alyssaWhen given the challenge to write about my insecurity, I didn’t have a clue what I was going to write about. For sure, I’ve had times where I didn’t have the healthiest self-esteem, but I got over that in junior high amazingly enough. I had this incredible youth leader who told me how beautiful I was every week. She told me how I was a warrior princess bride of the creator of the universe, so I felt pretty much invincible despite my braces, chubby cheeks and awkwardly curly hair (it randomly decided to turn from straight to curly…So, that was cool). I went through that time of my life feeling great, and confident of who I was in Christ. Shout out to Nicole for investing in me for those three and a half years. You rock.

When I was thirteen I was diagnosed with scoliosis. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a condition where you have a curvature in your spine. We found out that I had a double curve. It looks like a backwards ‘S.’ Super cute stuff. Well, I wore a brace for the next three years of my life, and that was horrible. Strapping plastic around my back and into my sides was a pain (metaphorically and physically).

My family and I gave the whole situation over to God. He can make a crooked path straight. Why couldn’t He straighten my spine, right? Well, after following what the Bible commands and going before the elders of my church and being anointed with oil, I still wasn’t healed. It was extremely confusing to me that I hadn’t received my healing. What else did God want from me? I had all the faith in the world, I trusted Him, and still I was left with daily pain that I’ve learned to ignore and deal with.

You really can’t tell that I have scoliosis unless you’re looking for it. I’ve gotten so used to it that I only realize it when somebody points it out, and when I lay down at night and my back muscles scream a cry of relief.

Any way, I picked out a super adorable royal blue dress for Christmas last year, and I begged my mom to let me have it early so that I could wear it to church. I wanted to impress this super attractive guy who had recently started coming to my church (who is now my boyfriend! Holla!). I tried it on the night before and went to show my brother just to make sure he approved and thought it was modest. He told me I looked great, and I was feeling awesome until his fiancé told me that you could really see my scoliosis in it. Now, I’m not much of a crier at all. Unless there’s a move of God or something in my eye. Guys, I totally lost it. I stinking cried right in front of the mirror staring at how my hips are off-center and my shoulders aren’t straight. I feel like I could cry right now just thinking about it. Although, I thought I had fully given it to God, I was still holding on to a very big piece. My brother said to me, “Wipe that insecurity off your face. You are beautiful.” I love my brother so much. He speaks an incredible amount of life into me, is always there to protect me, and remind me of my main focus, Jesus.

Honestly, I don’t really care that I have two curves in my spine. My insecurity blossomed in my relationship with Jesus. Scoliosis started to drive a wedge in between God and myself. That’s a frightening place to be. Getting over that is a daily decision. I know God will heal me, and I claim His blood and healing over myself daily. Anytime my mind starts to doubt or wonder about what’s wrong with me, I lift it up before Jesus. I find my security in Him. I find my healing in Him. He is the one who is teaching me perseverance. I feel like I’ve learned it by now, but apparently God has more for me to learn. I’m thankful for this lesson, and I’m excited about everything else God is going to teach me through this.

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Sarah Buford: I love you for your heart

SARAH“I love you for your heart, not your face.”  That’s what Jesus said to me on a long painful drive home from youth group a couple of months ago.  We all feel ugly at one point in our life.  In my case, I had horrible acne, and a freshman 15 I couldn’t seem to get rid of.  I remember crying out to God, “Lord I just want to feel beautiful and loved!!!  I’m sick and tired of being lonely, and doing new things.” After about 10 minutes of complaining, He simply quieted me and said, “I love you for your heart, and not your face.”  I immediately started laughing.  I had always known He loved me, but it was un-attainable to me that He loved me despite my ugly cry, mascara running down my face, without anything to offer, broken and miserable. He still loved me.  I had nothing to offer Him and He loved me.  There was nothing I could do to deserve that love, and yet He felt that way about me.  Little old me.

Even from the young age of 15 I remember my Mom coming in and telling me how pretty I was.  At one point, after asking me to put on some more mascara or foundation, I remember her asking, “You don’t think you are beautiful do you?”

I didn’t.

In High School a boy told me the reason he wouldn’t date me was specifically because I was not pretty.  I spent the remaining part of that time trying to prove I was. It wasn’t until this year that I can serve others and think un-selfishly about myself.  Because I thrive on verbal affirmation, compliments mean the most to me.  God knows that.

In fact when I am ugliest, late at night, or early in the morning, those are the moments I feel the most beautiful.  Why in the world would I say that?  This is simply because it is during those times I am most consecrated to Christ.

Leslie Ludy, states it this way:

“A young woman who is deeply, passionately, intimately in love Jesus Christ glows with a radiance that overpowers even the most noticeable of flaws. I’ve seen many a godly woman light up an entire room with her presence. To study her closely, you would not think of her as beautiful; in fact she might even have major physical blemishes that would normally be distracting. But when a woman’s passion for Jesus Christ is so deep that it is the focal point of her existence, it effervesces from every corner of her being – and she glows with heavenly beauty. No matter what her physical flaws might be, they go unnoticed when Jesus Christ is center stage in her life.

Insecurity is simply an unhealthy focus on yourself, rather than a healthy focus on Jesus Christ. It’s something the enemy can easily use to keep us turned inward rather than outward. Just like the temptation toward any sin, we must nip thoughts of insecurity in the bud the moment they begin to arise.

As soon as the enemy comes in with whispers of, “Everyone is noticing your physical shortcomings. There is nothing attractive about you – no one wants to be around you,” your response must be immediate. Instead of entertaining those thoughts and meditating upon them, fight back with truth, scripture, and prayer!

If you begin to ignore thoughts of insecurity and deliberately choose to smile, reach out to others, and focus on being an example of Christ, you will soon realize that insecurity has no soil in which to grow. It may take some time before this principle becomes a habit in your life, but if you lean on the grace and strength of God, He will give you all that you need to triumph in this area.”

"I love you for your heart, not your face."

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Tori McMunn: Dark Made Light

Tori McMunn  

Growing up, I always thought insecurities meant weaknesses. They were just silly things that we couldn't handle and that we covered up to hide from everyone else. My weakness was worry.

Coming from a long line of what I thought was very strong, independent, Christian men and women, turned out that once I got older I found out my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles all had their own weaknesses. They hid secrets and lies that no one talked about very much. I figured I shouldn't talk about what worried me either so I bottled it up inside. I thought for far too long many nights.  I would lose sleep and have sudden fears during the day because I was worried of whatever was on my mind. Sometimes it would come out in tears or anger. It was a constant battle in my mind. The fact that my parents fought made me scared to tell them what was wrong. I figured it would make their problems worse. I was able to share minor details with friends and I allowed my grandparents in on my struggles with communicating with my parents. But it still never solved anything completely.

Finally, the summer after I graduated High School, my family went through the darkest time of our lives. Many secrets were made clear, lies then turned to truths,  and everything that had been bottled up trickled - actually gushed - out. All cards were on the table! It was my worst nightmare come to life. It wasn't until I had been at Evangel for nearly 6 months until hope started arising inside of me. A guest speaker was leading an alternate chapel one night. Although I don't remember what he spoke on, I remember a pulling inside of my heart to turn to Isaiah 46:8-9. I didn't even know if there was that many chapters in this book. I finally turned to what seemed like a random passage but this is what I read, "Remember this, keep it in mind, take it to heart. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I Am God, and there is no other; I Am God, and there is none like me." I cried in amazement of what I just took in. God had told me to not forget but to let it go and give my insecurity to him. He is God!

After that night, it was like the battle in my mind had grown smaller. The things I felt I had to bottle up no longer made me weak. I understood that I'm not weak because my God is strong! Sure, I had to still face my insecurities but it felt more manageable because I wasn't by myself. God had been through everything with me. God continually works through our weaknesses to show us how mighty he is! He can take what we feel we can't handle on our own and actually make it manageable in his hands. I found out I couldn't do it on my own and that I didn't have to hide my worries. God had been there the whole time. And he is there for every single one of you! He doesn't want you to forget, but he does want you to let go so he can manage it. What ever the insecurity God is stronger!

My name is Tori McMunn and I am secure!

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Emily Taylor: Beauty is ________

Emily Taylor
B-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l. Beautiful. A word every girl wants to hear, yet no one seems to really know what beauty is. There is not a set of guidelines written out for us to say, "beauty is_____." Although, every girl has a cultural ideal burned into her mind telling her what is not beautiful about herself and she is most likely willing to do what it takes to try to change that. Our culture tells us from the time we are born how to get prettier--or it at least tells us that we are not pretty enough. Our culture tells us that beauty is found in the physical. I would like to take a stand and say that true beauty is a spiritual. matter.
Jewelry, hair, makeup, and of course a cute pair of shoes are all things I like. Call me a total girl, but I actually really enjoy dressing up!  I like feeling trendy and when someone compliments me on a new pair of shoes, but for years I fell into the lie that those items were what MADE me beautiful and I was not beautiful without them. Culture has always told me the physical is where beauty comes from. Since the time I could crawl I have been playing dress-up. When I got a bit older I started playing with that little girl makeup--you know, the kind that is basically colored putty that can leave your face stained bright pink for a couple of days…yeah, that kind. When I was in seventh grade I started using the real stuff; one time I mixed several different colors of eyeshadow together and wore it to school. A boy in my class asked me if I had black eyes; needless to say, I never wore that eyeshadow again! By my freshman year of high school, makeup was a part of my everyday routine. To be honest, I don't know if I can remember a single day I left the house without makeup from the time I was a freshman in high school until my freshman year of college. I so easily fell into the snare that culture throws at us; I thought my beauty was found in the physical.
A couple of weeks before the Insecurely Movement started, God began to repetitively remind me of a saying I once heard, "Don't let a day go by where you spend more time looking into a mirror than into your Bible." Those words cut me deep, because I knew I was not doing so. I was trying to keep my appearance up to the world's standard and meanwhile neglecting the inner beauty of God's standard. Several different occurrences happened in the weeks leading to the Insecurely Movement that led me to believe that I really needed a heart change. God was redefining the meaning of beauty in my mind. I began to pray that God would give me confidence in myself no matter how I look on the outside, because true beauty is found from the inside. I memorized Proverbs 31:30, "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." I said this to myself everyday until it was instilled within my brain so that I was constantly reminded that my beauty must be found in my character, not my clothes or makeup.
Don't get me wrong. There is nothing bad about doing your hair and makeup and dressing with your own unique style! The breaking point is this: when impressing the world with your image is more important to you than transforming your heart to the image of God.
The Insecurely Movement has truly challenged and changed my heart. Since the Insecurely Movement I have left my room a countless amount of times without makeup. My outward appearance no longer defines me; my God defines me. I now can leave the house without makeup and still feel beautiful, because no matter how I may look on the outside to others, my true beauty shines from within!
God has redefined the meaning of beauty in my life, let Him do so in yours.
I am Emily Taylor and I am secure.

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Katie Stanford: Secure in Christ

As a child, I always wanted to be the center of attention. If there were people near me, I wanted them to be my audience. I would put my favorite music on and pretend that they were at my concert. Everyday I would run around outside pretending to be Pocahontas with my hair blowing in the wind while singing all of the songs from the movie. Needless to say, I was one weird kid! I grew up in a very athletic family. My younger sister was the type of person who could excel at any sport she tried. My mother was always the one to coach her, and they made an excellent team. I, of course, tried my hand at sports but was never able to live up to par with Brooke. As I grew up, my Kid’s Church pastor saw some potential in me and started teaching me human videos. I had found the place where I belonged. I started to do more and more human videos, and I fell in love with acting.

Summer in between my freshman and sophomore year, my world fell apart. My Kid’s Pastor resigned after dealing with a scandal in her personal life, and my older sister stopped talking to any of my family members. I didn’t understand. I didn’t know why everything was going wrong. I then started to get the terrible “what if” thoughts. “What if I would’ve encouraged Tisha more?” “What if I let Danielle know how much her family loved her and wanted her home?” “What if I told Tisha that I wanted to grow up to be like her one day?” “What if I let Danielle know that I longed to have a great sister relationship with her?”

These questions haunted me. With each day that passed, I started to feel worthless and forgettable. On the outside, I was acting like nothing was wrong. I became so numb to anything and everything, and I finally resorted to self-harm to allow myself to feel again. With every blow of pain I felt, I could escape into a world where I could control that pain. It was easy to take care of. In the end, all I needed was a band-aid. A lot easier to mend than any mental pain, eh?

As high school went on, the wounds slowly started to heal. I had accepted what I could not change. God and His amazing redemptive power healed my mind and restored my thinking. I started to not care what people thought of me, and I found myself a much happier and carefree person.

Of course I still struggle with self-harm and self-image, but that’s the beauty of it. It’s a constant reminder of what God has brought me out of. Through His power alone, I can write this story, and I can honestly tell you that there is hope.

 

“What you say about yourself means nothing in God’s work. It’s what God says about you that makes the difference.” 2 Corinthians 10:18 MSG

 

I am Katie Claire Stanford, and I am secure in Christ. 

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Abbi Leathers: Insecurity for real

 Abbi Leathers

Insecurity: The oh-so-lovely gift from SATAN to pretty much the entire population of girls on this planet Earth (and boys too I guess, equal opportunity and stuff).

Okay but for real.. insecurity is totally straight from Satan. Want to hear about my never-ending battle with the nasty crap? (Sure Abbi, I’d love to!) Alright, sweet. Let’s just back it right on up to THE WORST YEAR OF ANYONE’S LIFE EVER: That’s right, you guessed it, sixth grade. Can I get an “amen”?! You know, that’s the year when you returned to school after summer break in your cool new jean skirt and leggings, and half the boys were still smaller than you and the other half grew about ten feet, started talking with that bass down low, and sprouted massive amounts of armpit hair that they insisted on showing off every chance they could with their jank, homemade cutoff t-shirts. You with me? Yeah, well that’s the same year when I learned all I didn’t want to know about pimples. I was only twelve years old when I went to my mom and demanded to learn about the wonderful world of makeup. I was in my last year of elementary school, and my dependence upon hiding my face had already begun.  And let me tell you, I got to be pretty good at it.

So basically, that continued all through the awkward junior high years and right on through the high school ones too. I’ve always struggled with my complexion, and I’ve literally tried every remedy known to man. And despite the fact that I’ll be twenty years old in just a few short months, my face still acts like it belongs to that twelve year-old girl in the sixth grade.

Since all that began, I can honestly say I’m not even sure if there has been a day in my life that I’ve gone without makeup completely. Over the years I grew to be embarrassed of my face and did my very best to hide it. I cut my bangs and never pulled them back in an attempt to hide half my face, and when someone would try to make eye contact with me, I’d quickly look away. I was the epitome of insecure.

Like most girls, I’ve also battled with a lack of confidence in my weight, size, hair, voice and pretty much everything else about myself too. I know what it’s like to grow up in a culture consumed by commercials with undressed Victoria’s Secret models and an obsession with sex. And I definitely know what it’s like to want to be desired. Been there. Done that. Still fighting that battle.

But I can honestly tell you that when I realized that the Creator of this entire, amazing universe desires me and is relentlessly pursuing me, well that’s when my perspective changed a little. As Christian men and women, we’re all for the idea that God is perfect in every way and Created the Earth and everything in it. But then we continue to hate ourselves and every feature we possess. But do you not realize that YOU were created by that perfect Creator? The Creator that makes no mistakes and does everything intentionally? The One who created the ocean and heartbeats, daisies and oxygen? Not only did He create those things, but he stepped back from it all in the end and said “Dang, that’s good,” (or something similar that.) THAT’S the God who created YOU. He made you on purpose. He made you for a reason. He makes no mistakes. And He’s your biggest fan. You are His most prized masterpiece.

Now do a brother a favor, and the next time you look in the mirror, try to see yourself the way your Creator sees you. Because He says you are beautiful, you are original, you were carefully made, and you are a masterpiece.

And maybe skip all the foundation. It’s actually kind of liberating once in a while.

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