This post was originally published on firstname.lastname@example.org on April 15, 2016. It’s one of my personal favorites to go back and read.
We live in a culture that is screaming at us to change and be better. It’s a society of comparisons and messages of self-improvement. We spend so much time buying into the lies of the media; but how can we avoid them when they surround us? People – even those who truly care about us – can also make us feel inferior sometimes. It’s so sad, and it can feel like we’re never good enough. I know I have felt that way for years. Insecure and incomplete…
When we’re told on tv and media to “buy this!” and “eat this!” and when we’re seeing ads about dieting and exercise equipment, it’s hard not to feel like we’re missing something that could make us happier. Or when we simply view someone else’s life from afar, it can make us feel like less. Their body, their job, their apparent happiness, or their ideal relationship must be the key to happiness, right?
I finally discovered the solution to this battle with insecurity, and it’s not something we can buy or change. It’s something we have to believe and choose to live out. (It really only applies to followers of Jesus Christ; but if you don’t have a relationship with Him, I hope this makes you want what I have!) The solution is in Ephesians 2:8. It may not seem relevant to what I’m talking about, but I promise it is. Bear with me! It says:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”
Let me dissect this verse for you:
By grace: We can never meet God’s requirements for righteousness; and even though he knows that, he still sent his son to pay the price for our sins. Righteousness and salvation is not something we can earn. That’s why grace is so important here. (Keep reading please. It’s gonna get even better.)
We have been saved: What have we been saved from? We, as Christians, know that we’re saved from hell. Yes, that’s obvious. But he didn’t just send his son in order to keep us out of hell. No, there’s something deeper that I discovered here. The word “saved” comes from the Greek word “sozo,” Which literally means…(are you ready for this?) “To be made whole in our body, soul, and spirit.”
Jesus died to make us whole: Whole means complete!
And the last part of the verse, “through faith,” simply means to believe. So, putting the verse all together means: When you can truly believe that righteousness in Christ is a gift from God, you will be made whole in your body soul and spirit!
When I learned this, I felt like I had found the cure to an ongoing sickness that I’ve carried for years! Because the Holy Spirit fills my heart, I am made whole. And that dispels all reason for me to feel insecure.
Walking in this truth is slowly changing me into a more joyful, confident version of myself; and I’m finding my temptations have less of a hold on me, too.
So now I understand this truth. But it’s still impossible to feel that way every second of the day! I’ve had to make conscious decisions to combat all the negativity causing me to feel insecure. Here are a few of them that are helping me.
- The first thing I’ve done is write “I am made whole” in a spot in my room that I see every day. The statement helps me to remember my identity in Christ.
- I’ve also decided I will not spend time with people who repeatedly make me feel like less than I am. I’ve had to find a balance here. But to the people who make me feel insecure and leave me with a feeling of emptiness rather than joy – I just have to say no.
- I’ve decided to be done with Snapchat…This is a very personal decision, and I don’t condemn the app. But I do know that it was making me sad to see everyone else’s fun. And more importantly, I was getting a false sense of security by deceiving others into thinking my life is more exciting than it really is. I also know that I often put my “best face” in front of the camera in order to feel good about the image I was putting out there. All of this was causing me to rely on something other than God to feel good, so I got rid of it.
- I’ve decided to embrace the things I love, whether people will judge me or not. Deciding to be okay with who I am has given me so much freedom.
- I’ve decided that what’s “inside” me is more important than the external. I used to think that being skinny would make me good enough. People’s affirmation of my image was really important to me. But now that I know that I’m made whole in my body, I don’t need to believe that lie anymore. And boy is that freeing…I love it so much more when people encourage my character rather than my beauty! Hearing that I’m wise, kind, helpful, godly, or anything like that makes me feel 100 times more worthy!
I can’t really prevent myself from being surrounded by media, but all the other steps I’ve taken have been immensely helpful. I’m not relying on people, possessions, and image to fill the voids in my heart. It’s a constant struggle and effort every day, but I’m trying! I want to encourage you to evaluate yourself too, and ask yourself this: Do I truly believe I’ve been made whole? Where am I getting my security?