Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Boyfriend Won't Make You More Secure.

On March 19, 2014 I pressed published on the first post on this blog. To this day, it is one of my most popular posts.

That post gave you a little glimpse into my life and a struggle that I and countless other women (and men!) across the world deal with daily: insecurity.

In my first post, I detailed my personal struggle with insecurity. I talked about some things I had gone through and how those things affected me. I talked about my worries and my doubts and how all of it ties back to the I-word. I talked about my one saving grace: my hope and trust in Jesus Christ.

But even then, after I had come so far in my walk with God and my struggle with insecurity, I had bought into a HUGE LIE that the media tells women every day.

 Here's a snippet from that post last year:

"I'm at a place in my life where I am truly, almost completely content. I'm just missing one thing.
A boyfriend.
I've never had a boyfriend. When I consider this fact and the fact that almost all of my friends have been in some sort of dating relationship before, it is hard not to fall back into wondering what's wrong with me. Why don't boys like me?
I know I sound so superficial right now, but it's the truth. I long to be loved, and even though I know it isn't true, there's a part of me that feels like I will never be fully loved until I have a guy."
Even though I know it isn't true. I said that. I meant it. Yet I didn't believe it.

I bought into a lie, knowing that it was a lie. That is how powerful that this idea of "having someone to love is all you need to be happy" is. We can believe it even though we know it's not true.

Little did I know when I wrote that post that less than a year later I would have my first boyfriend.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am dating a wonderful man named Aaron. God has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams by bringing him into my life.

 Aren't we just the cutest? :)

 Having a boyfriend is a completely new experience for me, and as with any new thing there is a lot to learn. And the biggest thing I learned is that a boyfriend will not make me more secure. (Also, keep in mind, that happiness and security are two completely different things. I am very happy, but I am also very insecure).

In fact, if anything, I think having a boyfriend has made me more insecure. For me, I tend to get really insecure about the things I'm most scared to lose. I start worrying (mostly irrationally) about all the little things that could spiral and cause the thing I'm most happy with to go away.

When I valued being popular, I did anything I had to to please my "friends" so that I could continue being part of the "popular crowd." I was constantly worried about messing up, always trying to make sure my friends would approve of me, because I wanted so badly to stay part of their group. I was so aware of my shortcomings and flaws, which made me really insecure in who I was. Putting on an act and pretending to be something I wasn't only fed my insecurity further. And honestly, I wasn't even that popular, so I don't know what all that was about. #juniorhighprobz

But you get my point.

So now, I'm experiencing something very similar with my boyfriend. But one thing has become even more real to me about insecurity: it comes from me.

Throughout my life I've had a tendency to blame my insecurity on other people for not treating me right. "They made me insecure because...." I don't have that excuse anymore, because I absolutely have the best boyfriend ever. I have NO reason to be insecure in my relationship with him, but for some reason I still am. Why?

It's me. It's all in my head. I want so much to be loved and accepted and because I fear so much that I won't be, I'm hyper-sensitized to all the reasons why I shouldn't be.

I hold myself to a standard of perfection and I leave myself no room for mistakes. I allow no grace. I decide in my mind that if I am not perfect, I am not good enough and therefore deserve no good things. If I am not perfect, I will lose everything I love.

I know I am not the only one who feels that way. I also know I'm not the only one who's ever thought that dating someone would fix all my problems. It's so easy to feel like something is wrong with you when all your friends are dating, and it's just as easy to think that if you were dating, too, then everything would be perfect. It seems like such a simple solution, but when we think that way, we're missing a very important part of the equation: God.

When we turn to a boyfriend (or whatever other worldly thing you might be turning to) for security, we remove God from the equation entirely. Whether we mean to or not, we are saying that this problem is too big for God to handle. What's ironic is that the thing we're turning to, in reality, is much smaller than God, and that is why this method always fails.

Lately I have been working on two different devotionals in my quiet time: one on the Proverbs 31 woman, and one on the book of Ruth. [[I highly recommend both of these devotionals, which are from Life Lived Beautifully.]] 

These two studies have both really addressed things that I've struggled with due to my insecurities. Here are a few of my takeaways:

"...the Proverbs 31 woman is not a list of do's to be done to earn God's favor. She is not the perfect woman. She is a sinner saved by grace who lives her life from a holy, awe-inspired fear of the Lord."

This was so refreshing to hear. As a Christian woman the Proverbs 31 woman has always been held up as an example for me, and I thought that I was supposed to be exactly like her or I wasn't a good Christian. But really, being a Proverbs 31 woman is all about following God and striving to please Him. There is room for mistakes. There is grace. It is not about being perfect, it is about fear of the Lord (which is something that both of these studies dig deeply into).

Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." All have sinned. All. It doesn't say "For [insert your name here] has sinned and falls short of the glory of God, but everyone else is good." It says all. Meaning you, me, everyone. I don't know about you, but I find that extremely encouraging. I'm not alone. It's not just me, no one is perfect. And if the only One who is perfect -- God -- can still love me, then I should have nothing to worry about.

Another big takeaway I had was from the Gospel of Grace, the Ruth study.

"Delayed hope. It steals our joy. It is unexpected, and yet it is to be expected because we live in a fallen world. The beauty of delays and unexpected circumstances is that God works beautifully in them and through them.... The beauty about [an] unexpected trial is that it flings open the door for God to do a miracle and show His glory. Could it even be that trials, changes and things that don't go our way are really avenues for God to show us His glory? God's timing is perfect.... He is right on time, all the time."

While this doesn't deal specifically with insecurity, it shows that even in hard times, God works it all out for His glory in the end. Even in hard times, there is no reason to get down or start feeling insecure. God knows exactly what He's doing, and He won't rip you off.

"'My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,' says the Lord. 'And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT).

Getting rid of insecurity is a two step process. First, let go of perfect. If we strive for perfect, we will always fall short. Second, let God have complete control over your life. If we can trust that God has our back, then there's no need to be insecure.

So that's it. Let go, let God. Easy, right?

Ha! That's definitely easier said than done. But hey, we said it. That's a start!

I write all this to reinforce the main idea of last year's post -- only with even more surety, as I am now confident that the one thing I thought could change my mind never will -- that nothing on this earth can ever provide us with the security the Lord Jesus Christ offers to us.

I am dispelling any and all rumors right now that having a boyfriend will fix all your problems. I've been told that, I've believed that, and I've experienced that that is not true. Having a boyfriend is great, don't get me wrong. But my boyfriend is not God, and -- while he does a great job of pointing me to God when I'm struggling -- there are just some things he, as a human, cannot offer me. Security is one of them.

  Security can only come from God. I think this passage in Job says it all:

"If you prepare your heart, you will stretch out your hand toward him. And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take rest in your security."
Job 11:13, 18 (ESV)

1 comment :

  1. Kayla, I love this! Such a great reminder. Love love love.