While cleaning out our garage, I unearthed a tattered shoebox containing my childhood relics: journals, pictures and actual hand written letters with stamps! There was also a little pink "My Melody" diary that I wrote in at nine years old. The first entry in it is straight out of "Saved by the Bell." I think in order to really do the story justice, I am going to have to quote my child self exactly. So here goes:
February 4, 1983
Dear Diary, I love Jeff. Today was my birthday. I invited Jeff to my birthday and told a friend Jeff was my boy friend. She told everyone else about it and Jeff found out I liked him!
This really happened to me! Talk about a lesson in NEVER opening up to a friend! At least the story does have a happy ending: Jeff did become my "boyfriend" for a little while after that (you know the kind where you ride bikes to each other's houses, play tennis in the park, share some pop rocks and starburst from the gas station, and break up a few weeks later with another little handwritten note.) Okay, so at nine years old, this really was just a cute story of "puppy" love. But in order to overcome insecurity, we have to grow in to full grow dogs! (What?)
Step 1: Learn to Love Well
Shortly after becoming a mother, I remember cradling my newborn daughter in my arms as she slept, feeling completely overwhelmed with love for her. At the moment, I thought about the scary possibility that she might one day reject me and walk away or even worse, reject the God I loved and so hoped to teach her about. Right then, I decided that I would love this child no matter what. She was mine and nothing would stop or change my love for her. I didn't really have to decide it though. I just knew it because I felt it. As the years have gone by and my daughter has grown into a teenager who seems to "know more than I do", I still love her, but the love is also now a decision I make, and it is not based on how she feels about me.
In order to overcome insecurity, we must learn to love well and unconditionally. We cannot become so so consumed by our own insecurity, that we can fail to love anyone else well. Our love can't be based on other's responses to us. Sometimes, rather than truly caring about someone, we like them for the way they make us feel about ourselves. Insecurity is loving self, rather than others. When we lose our focus on self, and honestly focus on the needs of others around us, we tend to forget our own insecurity for a while. Learn to love the people in your life unconditionally.
Step 2: Use Your Gifts to Serve Others
Mr. Larry was a towering, tale spinning, war veteran. After he became too old and frail to cook in the camp kitchen, he held the door open and high-fived everyone who entered. I remember him fondly because he served so consistently. Try using your gifts to serve others. I mean really serving. Like, too tired to take off your make-up before falling into bed at night serving. (That's bad!) For one thing, when you are busy serving, you don't even have time to think about your self and your insecurity. But also, finding things you are good at and using them for the benefit of others actually really can help you feel a sense of purpose and value to your life. You become precious and beautiful in the sight of others because they see your heart of service. Maybe you don't know what your gifts are? Anything can be used. My own lack of fashion when viewed as a gift led me to start this amazing fashion blog! (Eh...What have I done?)
Step 3: View the Endgame
I want to be remembered as someone who loved well, who served well, who embraced life, who accepted challenges, and tried new things. We're traveling across the globe to Africa in a few weeks, and because of my tiny little fear of flying, I've thought about this a lot lately. If something happens to me, what will I have left behind for the world to see? (Besides 27 pairs of shoes, and a half finished scrapbook for my second born.) What will I be remembered for? Would it be a love for Jesus that radiates to everyone around me? A solid commitment to my family and service to them? Hopefully I will be remembered for those things, and not my insecurity. There are so much more fun things in life to be doing than worrying about what people think. Start running. Start a ministry to the homeless. Adopt. Write. Offer to help someone. Redecorate. Learn to speak Swahili. Kick a ball around with a kid. Collect cats.
Step 4: Update your wardrobe
I mean, this did start out as a fashion blog right? And who doesn't feel a little bit better in a new skirt or sparkly pair of shoes. These are bound to help....at least for a few wears.
Well, that's all folks. I'm done writing about insecurity. Going to move on to talking about something less painfully transparent...like striped pant suits or Miley Cyrus. Thanks for taking the trip with me. And I wish you all the best. (You too Miley) Go with Jesus.
Oh Puppy Love!