They are rooted in very real hurts from my past, these insecurities of mine, so I don’t blame myself for struggling with them. Nevertheless, God has made it exceedingly evident that I need to lay them aside for my own well-being. They prevent me from forming meaningful relationships and leave me weak and alone against the schemes of the enemy.
I know what I have to do.
How do I stop comparing myself to the women around me?
How do I keep from coming up short every time I stand next to Heather, Maria, or Sarah?
How do I battle lies that are so entrenched in my thought patterns that I often don’t even recognize them for what that are?
I don’t have all the answers, ya’ll. But God has given me a little insight lately into one big weapon against my insecurity.
Prayer is a mighty weapon.
Not prayer that God help me see my own value and worth. Not prayers that I can forgive the women who’ve hurt me. Not even prayer that God quash my dangerous thought patterns. Those types of requests certainly have their place but, on their own, they have never been strong enough to win this fight.
And I’m beginning to see why. All those prayers revolve around me.
I’ve been desperately bringing those types of me-centered pleas before the throne for years. Change me. Heal me. Restore me. Create in me a clean heart and renew my mind.
It’s not that those petitions are wrong, mind you. They just weren’t getting to the real root of my insecurity.
The heart of this battle was never about my view of me, but rather about my view of them.
Long ago, I erected an idol in my mind of the Christian Woman.
The Christian Woman found the time to blow-dry her hair before church. She and her childhood sweetheart and their well behaved brood of children arrived each Sunday with their clothes right side in and their shoes on the right feet. She taught Sunday school and sipped tea at ladies’ functions. She found the time to cart casseroles to potlucks, kiddos to soccer practice, and donations to the food-bank in her mini-van.
The Christian Woman’s worst regret was not buying that blouse on sale at Penny’s last month. Her biggest struggle was getting her home baked bread to rise. Her future was scheduled three months out with play dates and monthly bunco games.
Most of all, the Christian Woman was infinitely holier than I was. She never cussed in the sanctuary, ducked out of service midway for a smoke, or struggled with sexual sin. She had this whole walkin’ with Jesus thing down.
O yes, I erected that Christian Woman image and set her right up on an ivory pedestal- the pedestal of everything I’m not and everything I should be.
Then I tried to pray my way up there.
It. Didn’t. Work.
I needed a different kind of prayer. One that focused not on me and my issues but on the women around me. One that saw them not as idols but as humans. Prayers that focused on dismantling my idols and their pedestals instead of raising me up.
Quite by accident, I found it in intercessory prayer.
According to dictionary.com, the verb “intercede” is defined as, “to act or interpose in behalf of someone in difficulty or trouble, as by pleading or petition.”
The weapon I’m currently learning to use in this battle against my insecurity is desperate prayer on behalf of the very women I have always found so threatening.
Lord, bless her, heal her, restore her, protect her. Daddy, lift her head, encourage her heart, redeem her past. Father, strengthen her marriage, grow her ministry, breath life into her. God, turn her into a woman after your own heart.
Turns out it’s nearly impossible to idolize a woman I’m interceding for.
Because the more I pray, the more God opens my eyes to the humanity of those women I tried to guild in gold and set on high.
Wounded by a childhood of abuse. Paralyzed by anxiety. Sitting under a cloud of depression. Choked by bitterness. Struggling with sin. Overwhelmed, depleted, desperate.
In need of Jesus.
No more or less than myself.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect. James 5:16, HCSB