Friday, August 30, 2013

Overcoming Insecurity Part 3

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?)

Overcoming Insecurity
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 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 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!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

INSECURITY PART 2: We all need to be loved

After my last post on insecurity, I've had a difficult time deciding what to say next. Though I am not done defining insecurity, I wanted to jump right in to the solutions. But I've decided that in order to really overcome something, we have to understand its roots first. So here goes:

Insecurity is a battlefield of the mind.
We also are constantly speaking to ourselves, and the things we say are often negative. “I’m a terrible writer.” “I’ll probably never write that book I used to dream of writing as a teenager.” “Nobody thinks about me or cares.” “I’m worthless.” “I don’t have any special skills or talents.” “I am not pretty.” “I am a bad mother, housekeeper, and wife.” “I’m getting old.” Blah blah blah blah blah. On it goes, until I beat myself down into an insecure mess. It’s a broken record of negativity that we keep saying to ourselves and we have to stop! But we can’t just take those thoughts and shove them down into a deep hole somewhere, they come right back. We have to replace them with truth. These negative thoughts are lies. And they are not you. When we find ourselves talking negatively, we just need to stop it! Easier said than done. Sometimes when I am beating myself up with negativity, I just have to remember this person’s advice and laugh: Go watch it, but don’t forget to come back and read the rest of my article!

Insecurity is about needing love.
The times in my life when I’ve struggled the most with insecurity are also the times I have felt the least loved. Every human being needs love. We were created this way for a purpose. And I believe the reason we all need love so much, is because we need God. God is love! When we really come to know this with every fiber of our being, we are radically transformed! The greatest example of love is to give one’s life for another. And that is exactly what Jesus did for us right? His death on the cross was for us. He paid for our sins so that we could have a relationship with Him. His great love reaches out to us every single day we are given breath and life, and beauty and relationships! Jesus said, “love one another as I have loved you.” He intends for us to love each other with the same radical, unconditional self-sacrificing love he modeled for us. But as imperfect beings, we often fall short of this great love. And we hurt each other. And we cause insecurity in each other. We have to keep working at it. But we also need to understand that in our lives the only completely one hundred percent reliable chance we have of receiving unconditional love comes from God. And He is the perfect love! I know this in my head, so why do I still struggle sometimes? I think it is because I fail to put flesh and feet to my relationship to God. I can’t see God, so the people with flesh and bones and feet that I can see become more significant for me to earn their love and approval. The best way I know of to put flesh and feet to God is to pursue an intimate, personal relationship with him. The most significant thing I think you can do is to keep a journal and read the Bible every day, talking to Him and recording the things you learn from Him. I also recommend getting involved in a Bible teaching church and getting to know some other believers in Christ. Through a relationship with Christ , instead of trying to earn love, we learn it is freely given to us. 

Abiding in the love of Christ is the foundation of a secure heart. There are some practical tools to overcoming insecurity that I will be talking about later, but without this foundation of a relationship with Jesus, your security will be based on self. And I am afraid that it just may not last.

Up next: overcoming insecurity

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Few people know that I sleep with one eye wide open. It’s true! As a child, a surgery to repair my lazy eyelid left me with a weak muscle in my left eye, so that it doesn’t shut when I am relaxed, like sleeping, or when I blink too softly. If you walk past me when I am asleep, my eyeball will actually follow you across the room! And also, if you happen to think I winked at you at the grocery store, you should probably let that one go. I was just trying to blink! You’d think this little quirk might cause some insecurity for me. It doesn’t. I rarely think about it because I don’t see it in action. It has virtually no effect on my security. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with insecurity. I do, quite a lot sometimes. As difficult as it is to admit, I’d like to talk about it for a while, especially because I don’t think I am alone in this struggle, and maybe some of the things I’ve learned about it could help someone else.

In my early twenties, a friend asked me what would be the worst thing that someone could say to me? No, my answer wasn’t, “I’m having an affair” (I was married by this point) or “you’re dying of cancer” or even the news that someone I loved had died. It’s hard for me to believe, but instead of any of these awful things to hear, my mind went straight to “I think you are boring.” Looking back on that, it seems so superficial. I would like to say I was just very young and had not experienced much of life yet, but I also believe it pinpoints what has been a lifelong struggle with insecurity for me-the nagging question in the back of my mind, “What do people think of me?” 

So here goes. Trying to keep the blog’s goal of shorter posts, I will address some of these issues in little chunks over the next week or so. What is insecurity? What defines it and why do we struggle so much with it? How do we overcome insecurity and get on with real living and loving?

Insecurity is a genuine response to hurts in our lives 
I would like to start out by saying that insecurity can and often is a genuine response to hurts in our lives. Looking back, I can’t really pinpoint one instance when my struggle with insecurity began. I was blessed to have parents who loved and cared for me. I do remember early in elementary school facing some of the common hurts kids experience of being left out. I wasn’t allowed to join the “Kappa Club” because I didn’t own a pair of these popular shoes. One day a boy in my class systematically asked every girl in the class to “go” with him, except me. I was forced to eat my cottage cheese in the lunch room. (Okay, this has nothing to do with insecurity, it is just gross). These little jabs start young, but as we go through life many more serious assaults on our security present themselves. I remember the hurt of my first break-up with a boyfriend. I lost friendships. I didn’t get accepted to a certain college. There are other hurts people experience that assault security that I was spared from experiencing. How about parents who are emotionally or physically unavailable or worse yet, abusive? Divorce, loss of a job, serious illnesses are all examples. With these and other legitimate hurts in our lives, is it any wonder that we struggle so much with insecurity? The problem is finding a way to move beyond these hurts and find the healing we so desperately need.

Insecurity can be a result of idolatry
Besides a genuine response to hurts, another thing that can cause us insecurity is what I would call “Idolatry.” An idol is something we worship. And the kind of worship I am thinking of is worship that consumes your thought life and determines most of your actions. With insecurity, we can idolize two things: Ourselves or others. When we idolize ourselves, we are constantly thinking about what we look like, how we sound, how we dress, how we are perceived by others. The focus is on self and it is not very pretty, though we desperately hope that we are. When we idolize others, we put people on a pedestal. We can fill that pedestal with virtually every person we know, a certain group of people, or even go so far as to elevate one single person in our lives into an idol. Beware! Once you put a person up on that pedestal, you have given them the control, the power, and the right to assign your worth to you. Having just one person up on that pedestal, in my opinion, is the most dangerous of all, because when they fail to affirm your worth for you, it can virtually destroy your life. Insecurity digs it claws deeper and deeper into the heart. We have to take control of our own security back and I will discuss how to attempt that in further post. 

To be continued….

Thursday, August 8, 2013

What about a mini skirt?

I used to never wear mini skirts. That is, until one day I was walking around freezing in the Walmart air conditioning in my running shorts and all of a sudden realized that a mini skirt could actually be LONGER than my Nike shorts! As long as it is not a super short barely cover your you-know-what kind of mini skirt, it can be quite cute, casual, and comfortable to wear. You must, however, be sure that you know how to sit modestly, and I suggest wearing boy short style you-know-what's underneath so it is less "breezy." And as far as mini skirts being in style or not, I'll be honest. I have no idea. Here's my favorite mini skirt: 

Wonder how we can get this grass to grow?
Also, after my friend Beth Ann came to visit, I realized not only do I not own a pair of shoes with flowers on them, I also don't own any wedges. But I remedied that today with a gift card I had. That combined with a 30% off sale at a store that rhymes with map means these cost me only $11.58. They don't have flowers, but they do have cute orange straps, which I am pretty sure I need to find some nail polish to match. I'll let you know if they really are as comfortable as my friend says after I wear them this weekend to two weddings I am attending.  

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Flowers on her shoes

Lately I've noticed a lot of women's sandals have flowers on them. I don't know if this is a new trend or not because honestly I'm not the first to usually know about trends! I've seen black flip fops and white sandals all with flowers on them. But the pair that wins the prize for the cutest flowers are these:  
Amazingly cute flower sandals from Spain! 
Here Beth Ann and I are about to go on a double date with our husbands. As you can see, even though the shoes are at the bottom of the photo, they really are the focal point drawing your attention. Beth Ann's choice of a blouse with muted roses on the shoulders ties the outfit together. I'm convinced women should wear flowers on their shoes at all times if possible this season! (which means I need to find some ;) 

The most important fashion advice gleaned this evening: When you are with great friends, it really doesn't matter what you are wearing! 

In closing, speaking of beautiful sandals and feet, I want to share a little good news with you that I read this morning. "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." --Jesus of Nazareth in John 8:12.