Freshman Year of College- It’s weird to say I’m done with the first year of college. It seems like a few months ago I was moving into my dorm. I think I learned more in this one year than my four years in high school.
Yeah that’s right, insecurity I’m so over you. done with you. you have been the worst type of friend. one of those “friends” who encourages me to think, say and do what you know isn’t good for me in hopes to make me feel good for a little while. Yes, insecurity you have encouraged the worst of me and it’s time for you to go.
It has taken me a long time to realize the CONTROL insecurity has had over my life and fear it has caused..
It’s what drives me to stay quiet. Quiet because of the fear I will be ignored. Fear of being embarrassed if someone notices I was ignored. I have been ignored so many times in the past so why would my words be important now? The fear shuts my mouth even though my heart is screaming to say what’s on my mind, to add my part to the conversation, to be brave and talk to that person. It’s insecurity whispering in my ear that I won’t sound smart. that my words will get mixed up. that I will stumble to say what’s on my mind. so don’t say anything at all.
It’s what drives me to hate change or the unknown. I’m in a huge season of change. Going to college, living on my own, making new friends, finding a new church. It’s all a huge change that rocked my world almost making me want to give up and go home because home was safe and familiar. There was no fear of the unknown until I stepped into this new season. Suddenly, as fear began to increase so did the insecurity. Insecurity started acting as my friend telling me to stay home. It told me I was too young, not mature enough, not strong enough to be on my own.
It’s what keeps me from opening up to people. Insecurity causes my fear of rejection. my worst nightmare. rejection screams don’t be weird, people won’t like you. people will judge you. Insecurity says that I am not enough, that I need to be more. It’s what makes me feel as if I need to be someone else. Someone more outgoing or not as serious. It’s insecurity telling me I’m too shy and stopping me from doing what I want to do. It’s telling me I’m too boring. I’m too awkward.
It’s what makes me insanely competitive in things that aren’t a competition. Thinking that if I am perfect I will never feel less than others. (Never feeling less than others = secure, right?) It has made me become a perfectionist. Perfectionism has been my favorite way to hide the pain of rejection and insecurity. Perfectionism is a way we try to cover our flaws. Making it appear to others as if we are perfect and we don’t have to deal with flaws like they do. We try to put the focus on our strong points and highlight the amazing parts of our lives. Making it appear as if we are better than other’s. It’s the thinking that “if I just look perfect then I will be secure, if I just perform perfectly I will be secure, if I just get perfect grades I will be secure.” But perfectionism leaves us feeling less than because it is humanly impossible for any of us to achieve perfection. It’s a constant battle of pressure and stress to do everything right. It’s a cycle of insecurity triggering perfectionism and perfectionism triggering insecurity.
It’s what makes women think they have to look a certain way. Too tall? don’t wear heels because you’ll be taller than most guys. Too short? wear heels so you look important. Too big? you can only eat salad. Too skinny? you need to eat more. This is what insecurity does to us!! It controls everything we do even if we intend to ignore it.
I knew I had insecurities, I think we all know to some extent the insecurities that follow us. but I did not realize the control or power they had over my life. I also didn’t realize that I had legitimate reasons for insecurity until I opened So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore. This should be a mandatory book that every woman reads, I definitely would recommend reading it.
So what is the real definition of insecurity?
“Insecurity refers to a profound sense of self doubt-a deep feeling of uncertainty about our basic worth and our place in the world. Insecurity is associated with chronic self consciousness, along with a chronic lack of confidence in ourselves and anxiety about our relationships. The insecure man or woman lives in constant fear of rejection and a deep uncertainty about whether his or her own feelings and desires are legitimate.” -Joseph Nowinski
As I read through the book I thought ‘this is you Alyssa, you do that because of your insecurity’ and ‘why do you continue to let insecurity rule your life? isn’t it painful?’
It is like we are all on the hunt for whatever will make us secure in the moment. Searching and searching to the point of exhaustion..
We search for our worth from other’s because insecurity tells us that approval will make us secure. One of the main prayers I pray when it comes to my future husband is that God would protect me from others who aren’t meant to be my husband. that others won’t be interested in me while I wait for him. However, some days when there are guys around my insecurity hopes they will be interested or notice me. like WHAT??? didn’t I just pray they wouldn’t notice me? what is wrong with me? My insecurity gets the best of me, hoping to find worth and confidence in the approval of others. The problem is we look for our worth to come from others instead of the very one who gave us our worth when He created us. This is giving people the power to take our security away from us. One word of criticism and your hanging on to your security for dear life.
Insecurity is letting other’s words and actions towards me define who I am and my worth. It’s letting them make me feel less than I am. It’s allowing them to speak lies into my heart. It’s allowing their words to tear me down and destroy the way I see myself. and all insecurity leaves me with is a broken description of myself listing flaw after flaw. It begs me to believe that everyone is looking for my flaws. it does not tell me that other’s see how amazing I am.
We don’t have to give people power to take away our security. Their words can hurt us and be painful but at the end of the day we can stand up secure in who we are. I refuse to let insecurity control the way I live my life. I refuse to believe the lies that tear me down. I refuse to let anyone have the power to make me feel insecure in who I am so that I can have the deep relationships I want with other’s. Once we realize we can be open in a relationship and let people in without giving them power to take/control our security, the fear of letting someone in is very little and we are able to love fully without holding back. This heart has been longing to be free. to run and love other’s with such a passion. This is freedom! Freedom from all the lies holding me back.
When I turned the last page of the book I was a little disappointed. not that the book was over but that I wasn’t radically different. I thought reading this book would turn me into a secure woman. Then I realized this book couldn’t change me but it could change the way I respond when insecurity tries to control me. I have words of truth hidden in my heart. Powerful words from my heavenly Father that bring freedom.
This battle with insecurity might be a long one but it won’t be a battle I lose. So insecurity you can come knocking but the power and freedom I have in Christ will slam the door right back in your face. I’m so over you and your lies. Take your baggage and go because this heart is not your home anymore.
It’s funny how the Holy Spirit works through our lives day to day: through our relationships, the Word & our pastors.
This month my church did a series called Uncommon. God obviously knew I needed this series this month!
I didn’t realize how broken my views of relationships were until this series. My view was a lot like the world’s view instead of God’s view. Uncommon was so powerful for me that I wanted to share some of my thoughts & notes.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” -Romans 12:2
Even though people in your past may not have treated you the best, shown commitment, or hurt you Jesus is committed to us.
He’s committed to prioritize you. He’s not going to make you feel like you are last on His list. He’s not going to forget about you like other’s may have.
He’s committed to pursue you. He wants your heart. He wants you. He isn’t idle when it comes to your heart. Maybe others have given up on you because it’s too much work. He never will. Maybe others have given up on you because of your mistakes. He never will. He will never stop pursuing and wanting you.
He’s committed to protect you. He will watch over your life. He’s not going to hurt you like other’s may have in the past. He wants to protect your heart. A place to run to in times of struggle and hurt.
He’s committed to meeting you in your need. If you need boldness, he has it for you. If you need Him to show you love, He has plenty of that. His whole story is based on love for us.
There are many barriers of communication, but one that really stuck with me was negative interpretation & false beliefs. This is the part where I give past relationships power to control my present relationships. & why do I do this? I am terrified of the hurt that comes with all relationships. I don’t want to feel hurt again, over and over. When we have broken relationships they become the standard we compare all of our relationships to. I have known selfish relationships, broken relationships, and hurtful relationships. I tend to judge everyone’s heart and motives based on those broken relationships.
“My judgments of everyone’s actions are never true, but I have trained myself to have this filter that tells me they have a secret agenda. They just want something from me. They’re just using me.” -Pastor Scott
There are also many types of effective communication. Affection, or loving and being loved by others, is one.
“If you can’t freely express love, you’re not free.” -Pastor Scott
These words are true in so many ways. You can’t say you’re free but turn around and run into the walls you put up.
For so long I have thought I am free in Jesus & have complete joy in Him. When I heard those words, I realized how high the walls around my heart have been. My joy was little compared to the joy I could have. Joy of living in love, not fearing love because of broken relationships. Joy of not worrying about being hurt & enjoying friendships.
“On the worst day you need to know deep in your heart you are loved, even when you feel like you don’t deserve it.” -Pastor Scott
I have been focusing on scripture that talks about God’s love lately. I can now say, confidently on my worst day, I know I am loved by my faithful Creator. I hope everyone can know this truth for themselves.
Conflict comes when we have expectations of others that can’t be met.
“We expect something from other people that can only come from God.” -Pastor Scott
How many times have you expected others to be perfect or to fix you? There are so many things we try to get from others that can only come from God. Something women tend to look for from others is worth & love. However, if we base our worth off of relationships with people it will fail. You can’t let others determine your worth. Eventually you will be exhausted from trying to be perfect & trying to not disappoint people.
We’re all broken and messy people. Relationships have conflict. Relationships have unavoidable hurt. But relationships were created for good. To lift each other up, to do life together, to share and laugh with friends.
“Relationships are dangerous but worth it.” -Pastor Scott
(Is it possible to do two MIC DROPS in one service?) Pastor Scott was talking straight to my heart.
Alyssa, isn’t the joy and love from relationships worth the possibility of getting hurt? Isn’t it time to step out and let people in without fear? Isn’t it your time to stop letting the brokenness control everything?! What if you step out and make lifelong friends who will help you succeed & follow your passion?
Pastor Richard preached for the ending of this series on influence in our relationships.
“God’s grace and healing helps us make the choice to influence people even though we have been hurt in the past.” -Pastor Richard
People might disappoint you, make mistakes, act selfishly, or betray you. But Jesus never gives up on you.
To have influence in this world, we need to have relationships. We need others encouraging us & helping us succeed. We also need to be encouraging others & pushing them to succeed. Our influence can be so powerful if we let God use us.
If I want to have influence, I need to tear down the walls guarding my heart. If I want to be an influence, I need to show others even though broken relationships hurt, they aren’t the end. We can find uncommon relationships, we can build uncommon relationships & we can be the uncommon person amidst all of the brokenness.
My heart is changed after this series & I pray I never forget the truth that has been spoken into my life. I am so thankful Jesus’s love is perfect, even though other people’s love isn’t. Jesus’s love makes me so joyful & unafraid of people’s brokenness. Knowing His love is: walking fearlessly into relationships with a heart ready to love others. It’s forgetting all the wrongs done against you because what He has for you now is so much better. It’s worth taking a bulldozer to the walls around your heart. It’s worth trusting He will protect your heart in your relationships.
If you want to hear the full message, check out the awesome podcasts for uncommon here!!
For a long time I feared love. I feared people seeing the brokenness, the imperfect, the failing, the ugly and the scars. I feared the rejection that would by far be the worst pain. Surly, there could never be anything worse than that. I feared if people saw me for who I truly was they would reject me and leave. But that all changed when Jesus showed me His love. It’s something I have never experienced..
He takes the brokenness, the hurt, the fear. He loves me more than I could ever love Him. His love is better than any person’s love. God’s word says love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres and never fails.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
I have had this twisted version of what I thought love was because of other’s love shown to me. I have thought you have to “earn” love and to do that you have to be perfect. So if I am not perfect I don’t deserve love. I have known a “love” of selfishness, deceit, conditions, and reciprocation.
Jesus says you don’t have to work to earn love, you don’t have to be perfect, and you don’t have to fear love. Why? Because His love never fails. Because Jesus loves. not how the world loves. not the broken type of love. not the conditional love. but the ultimate love. this love won’t be broken and hurtful. this love won’t bring down the person that I am. instead it will uplift me and make me stronger. this perfect love drives out fear.
16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. ~ 1 John 4:16-18
God makes me a priority, he pursues me, protects me and meets me in my need. God has completely wrecked my view of love and completely transformed it into something so unfathomable. The greatest of loves. This is the love I will forever celebrate on Valentines Day.
February is #lovemonth. Like a lot of girls I am single and during February that can be difficult. If your single like me this post is for you!!
This week God has been teaching me that instead of sitting around and wishing for someone to spend the rest of my life with I should be treating this part of my life being single with joy. It seems everywhere I went this week I have been challenged to focus on becoming who I need to be in God for my future husband. What God has spoken in my life this week through my Wednesday night group, my Pastor and through His Word is how important it is to not only pray for my future husband but to also become the person I am praying for.
I pray my husband would be searching for more of God. I pray protection over him. I pray that he would be patient and kind. I pray he would know how to love like Jesus. I pray that he will make me a better person and that I make him better. I pray he is familiar with grace and forgiveness. I pray for his wisdom and guidance when it comes to pursuing me. I pray for a lot of things. Mostly, I pray for the kind of person he will be.
Think of all the prayers you pray for you future husband, especially the one’s about his character. He’s probably praying for the kind of person you will be too. So while you are waiting patiently (or trying to be patient) for your future husband I challenge you to focus on becoming who you need to be. Focusing on becoming the person you are supposed to be in Christ.
I am thankful this year for this stage of singleness because I can grow in my faith and grow to be a better person for my future husband. My prayer right now is God will help me become who I need to be in Him for my husband.
Why would you want to change?
Yes, I see her with perfect hair or perfect skin. I see him with his perfect car. I see them with their perfect clothes and bodies to wear the clothes. The list goes on. But what do you see when you look at yourself?
And don’t you dare give me an answer full of your “flaws”. It isn’t fair to compare your “worst parts” to their “perfect life”. If you’re going to see everyone’s “perfect” qualities I want you to see your amazing qualities too.
First of all God created you. Just like He created all of the galaxies in space. Just like He created the smallest creatures with the most intricate designs. He created you.
God didn’t have to make us different but He did. He made each of us uniquely to please Him. It would be boring if we all looked the same or had the same qualities. I feel so loved knowing He took the time to design me differently. It doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with comparison because trust me I do. It just gives me contentment knowing I was made differently because my purpose is different than theirs.
I have spent too much time in the comparison cycle. All throughout middle school and high school I struggled. I think a lot of us struggle with this more than ever now. Social media has become a platform for comparison. Everyone wants to put their best self out there and all day long we scroll through feeds of “perfection”. My biggest challenge is seeing women my age or younger doing amazing things. Things I could only dream of doing. But if we spend all of our time comparing we aren’t really focusing on our own identity. Yes, they are doing amazing things because it is a part of their identity. Just like you are doing amazing things as a part of your identity.
We ask God, “Why can’t I have that or be like that?”
He answers with the simple statement, “you don’t need that for the purpose I have given you.”
Look at your life and the people you are impacting. You are being used to do great things. We are all equipped with something different that allows us to reach people other’s wouldn’t be able to reach. We are made differently with a purpose.
What is it like to have endurance?
Recently, I took a road trip to go snowboarding and skiing with one of my best friends, Katya. We had a lot of laughs and great conversations but what really stuck with me was our conversation about “What is the purpose in this life?”
We sat in the Tim Hortons drive thru talking about what it’s like to have a purpose in life. As we talked I realized how truly scared I used to be of living. Not living in general but of living with absolutely no purpose. Because what is the point of going to school and getting a job and then dying? That’s what life is, except that statement is missing a few details. We all have a God given purpose. The purpose given to us is what we live for. It’s what we endure for. I can tell you that each of us have specific purposes but we all have a common purpose. We are all called to love people, be kind, have relationships and spread Christ’s glory to all people. But how do we find our specific purpose?
The exact definition of endurance is ‘the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.’
Endurance to find our purpose is a lot like my ski trip with Katya. I have been snowboarding but never been downhill skiing before this trip. We started off snowboarding but we both decided to switch to skiing. I thought it would be easy because everyone says skiing is easier than snowboarding. Wrong. After maybe 5ft down the mountain I wiped out and my ski came off. Katya came to help me up and I tried again. After falling about four more times I was ready to give up and walk down the mountain. I was bruised from falling and honestly scared of going down the rest of the way. A man skiing offered to give me a short lesson a quarter of the way down and I was feeling more confident after. With endurance I faced the rest of the way down by myself. When I got to the bottom I was relieved I made it down alive and without serious injuries. At least we laughed all the way down the mountain because I was so horrible at skiing. But this trip did teach me something valuable.
I have learned that finding our purpose is a lot like that trip down the mountain. It takes endurance. We’re excited at first to finally have a hint of what our purpose is but once we have to start the journey it gets scary. There are so many fears that come to mind. Mine include stepping into the unknown. So many things could go wrong. So many times we are knocked down and don’t want to get up. God may ask us to step out and try something new or face a fear. We need to have the endurance to keep going no matter what is thrown at us. No matter the difficulty of getting over a fear or obstacle. Don’t be discouraged if you fail. Try again. There will always be people willing to help you up and guide you through the journey. The journey isn’t always failing and falling down. There are fun and exciting parts to the trip. There will be many times of laughter and great relationships formed. But we endure to get past the unpleasant and difficult process of getting beyond our fears to find our purpose. Trust me, when you get to the bottom of the mountain or the end of that step in finding your purpose you will be stronger, a little more fearless and braver than ever before. You will experience what it’s like to live with a purpose. And that is one of the greatest satisfactions in life.
Don’t be afraid to step out into the unknown. You will get over the fear because it is so small compared to the power of finding a purpose.
It’s already January 15th and I haven’t set any New Year Resolutions. Typical. I have never really set resolutions because I don’t see the point. I want to be the best version of myself all the time. I don’t want to let a start of a new year determine if I’m going to make a change. However, today I decided I am going to have a verse for the year.
“I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”
I want to know Christ. I want to consider everything a loss without Him. I don’t want to ever be comfortable being “godly enough.” I don’t want to just be satisfied because I’m a good person or a “better” person than others. I want to be continually searching and following. Taking up the cross and following because that is what I am called to do.
He gave up everything for us. He gave up His life on the cross. How could someone love me that much that they would die on the cross tortured and beaten for me. Just let that sink in because it amazes me. He gave up everything so that I may know Him and have a personal relationship with Him. He gave up everything so that I may make Him known to others. So that I may forget everything and just follow Him.
That is what 2017 is about for me.
To follow with my whole being.
To follow no matter what.
To follow Him even though I might take a loss or two.
To follow despite what others tell me.
To follow to know the power of the resurrection.
To follow to know HIM.
Lately I have been extremely forgetful.
As humans it is easy for us to forget. Each of us are consumed with our lives and different activities and events going on. Our world is so focused on quick results and fast pace lives. We pack our schedules and leave little time to relax and enjoy life, causing us to forget.
On an average day I forget. I forget what I was going to do next, what I was supposed to buy at the grocery store, where I placed my phone, or to grab my coffee on the way out the door. I even forget to love my Creator and spend time with Him.
But I don’t want to forget…
I want this crazy love for my Creator so great that it consumes my everyday. I want to love so tremendously that I can’t forget. I don’t want to forget God. I want to wake up and my first thoughts be about how I am going to glorify His name throughout the day. I don’t want to go through a day not thinking about God.
You see I have learned the ultimate lesson the past two months. Reading scripture and spending time with God is not something I should have to feel guilty about not doing. When you love God it’s something you want to do all the time. You want to consume yourself in His Word. You want to learn everything you can about Him and how much He loves you. I was spending everyday loving and spending time with God and then one day it just stopped. For no particular reason. I just didn’t feel like loving God. Maybe it has to do with my health and how I am feeling. I have spent a lot of time saying “why God? why me? why did you have to make me go through this?” And you know what.. I still don’t understand but that’s okay. I have just decided that He is the only one who can get me through this. He loves me so great that He is not going to leave. God’s love for us is described in two words. agapao and agape.
agapao: unconditional love, love by choice and by an act of the will
agape: the highest for of love, charity; the love of God for man and of man for God
My goal for this life is to have agape for God.
This crazy love that I have experienced is too great that I can’t spend anymore time not loving God or questioning His goodness.
This crazy love is addictive. It’s consuming, wonderful, amazing, and most of all powerful. This is the love I want in my everyday life. Not the forgetful love that comes once in a while.
Check out the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan!! It will change your life!
You know the hours. weeks. months. the ones that leave you feeling hopeless. One morning you wake up and it hits you. Your alarm is going off and you hit snooze and roll over. The sense of Hopelessness sits on the corner of your bed urging you to stay under the covers. Reluctantly you get out of bed at the last possible minute and go through the motions of the day. Your Bible, filled with great truths and glorious words, sits on the night stand unopened. The book you normally love to wake up early to read and enjoy your coffee with remains shut. and why?
You can’t bring yourself to open the book.
You can’t bring yourself to pray.
You wonder ‘God, why am I feeling like this? Why is all of my motivation suddenly gone?’
Everything feels out of place.
Welcome to my world. The ups and downs of life. The times the Word of God is alive and speaking to me and the times I am not listening or pursuing the Word. Like you I am human. I have feelings, thoughts and dreams. Most of the time my life is good and I am able to find joy in the smallest of things. However, there are times that Hopelessness sits on my bed with me and speaks to me. Hopelessness tells me there is no point in getting up this morning, what is your purpose because I don’t see one, opening your bible won’t help you feel better, you will never be healed, and on and on it goes…
After letting Hopelessness sit with me for three weeks I opened my bible. And let me tell you I should’ve opened it the minute Hopelessness came to join me. But I didn’t and that in itself was a lesson God was teaching me.
So what did I learn when I opened that powerful book?
The Lord Jesus Christ gave us HOPE. Hope that in our sufferings and hard times we are made stronger. Our character is built along with our Hope in Jesus Christ. He does not disappoint us. For this reason we can put our total Hope in Him.
I love Isaiah 40:28-31 because it says…
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
We put our total trust in the Lord our everlasting God because He gives us strength and power. When we are feeling down and discouraged we can have Hope that He is using us. His plans are so great and mighty. Don’t lose Hope. Don’t let Hopelessness sit with you.