Let's be honest, we all have that one person in our lives that we look to and immediately start to feel less than. Or maybe it's not one person. Maybe it's any time you see someone in public that has nicer hair, a bigger smile, or a slimmer body. I know that it sometimes makes me want to run away and hide under a rock. Especially when I'm with other people. Do you ever feel that way too?
You see... We don't feel that way because those people are intentionally trying to make us feel that way, but it's because of their worldly beauty, since it causes us to automatically doubt our own.
The hard truth is that our flesh will always jump to the conclusion that we don't measure up when we encounter a beautiful and successful individual. Take it from a recovering perfectionist that struggles daily with insecurities, the enemy of our souls wants us to believe that we cannot overcome it. But I am here to tell you that the Creator of the Universe tells us we can. Keep reading to find out three ways that we can combat this fleshly feeling of envy and insecurity.
Feed Your Soul
There have been many seasons of my life where I have felt full of doubt and insecurity due to the beauty and success of others. I am a victim of getting stuck in the trap of feeling like I have to live up to this perfect standard. A standard that I will never reach. As I have gotten older I have realized that every single time I get bogged down with this doubt and insecurity, I am not feeding my soul with the nutrients it needs to thrive.
Think about this idea in the terms of our bodies and health. Whenever we are eating unhealthy foods and not staying active, our bodies begin to feel heavy and bogged down. We don't feel ourselves and have a weight of darkness that we carry with us. On the flip side, whenever we are properly nourishing our bodies with healthy foods and consistent exercise, we begin to feel the fruits of it. We may lose weight, gain energy, and feel more positive about ourselves and our lives. The same is true for our souls and our spiritual lives.
If we are constantly letting our eyes and ears consume secular things, then we are bound to be in big trouble.
The key nutrient our soul needs in order to thrive is the everlasting truths found in scripture.
The word of God contains all the nutrients we need to feed our souls well. When we are constantly feeding ourselves with the bread of life (John 6:35) our hearts begin to shift. We learn that we are His precious sons and daughters, created on purpose for a purpose. We no longer stand in a place of insecurity and instability, but quickly become planted in the firm ground of knowing who holds our identity.
Fix Your Eyes on Jesus
When our eyes are fixed on Jesus, we begin to see people through His lens. The enemy loves to distract us with materialistic, temporary objects that take our attention away from Jesus and fog up our sight from the truth. We get so caught up in the titles and achievements of others that we allow them to define who we are. I challenge you to take a few minutes and think of a title or achievement that you long for. That one thing that you think about constantly. That one thing that if you see someone else with, you immediately shrink. The jealousy and doubt eats you alive because you want it so badly. Once you have that title, characteristic, or achievement in mind, imagine if it never happened. Would you be okay with that?
Would you be okay with not obtaining that one thing you long for and only having Jesus?
I know I am convicted when I ask myself this question in moments of insecurity. There are certain dreams and achievements that I have such a strong desire for and I tend to let them overtake my focus. For example, I have a career goal to be in the Christian industry as a well known author and speaker (I know, I am really dreaming big here). I desire this goal so badly that I begin to obsess over every detail of my life so that I can live up to this expectation for myself. Once I see others who have "made it" in the Christian Industry, I immediately look at every factor that they excel over me. I let it eat me up. One day I finally had to ask myself the question of, if I never make it will I be okay? Is Jesus truly enough for me or do I just say that? He really is.
Spoiler alert, Jesus IS enough.
Jesus is all we need. And because of His character, He already has our plan and purpose beautifully etched out. It is not our job to look around at people and judge where we stand in comparison. It is our job to keep our eyes up. Shift your eyes up to Jesus. When we are constantly looking up instead of around, we are able to see our lives through an eternal lens. A lens that allows us to appreciate and learn from those around us without getting stuck on the areas that we lack.
Focus on Celebration
I have learned through my own struggles with insecurities that when I am doubting myself, I am actually doubting God. God has created both me and you with His very own hands. He puts such detail into every inch of our beings. Isaiah 45:9 asks, "Will the clay say to the potter, 'What are you doing?' or the thing you are making say, 'He has no hands?'" We are a masterpiece, a creation that was knitted together by the Creator of the Universe. What makes us think that we could question Him and the way He has formed us? God's creation's deserve celebration. YOU deserve celebration. You deserve to look at yourself and be proud that the maker of the Heavens and the Earth has formed you. The more we understand this incredible truth, the more we will be able to celebrate ourselves. The more we celebrate ourselves, the more we will be able to freely celebrate others.
My wise counselor just gave me a challenge a few weeks ago. Every day, I am to look into the mirror and start speaking God's beautiful promises over myself. I have been consistently doing it, and I think I may actually believe them when I say them now.
And guess what friends!? Just as much we deserve to be celebrated, so does everyone else around us.
It is not always easy to instantly celebrate others for their successes because what we instantly see is our failures. It comes with practice. We have to train ourselves to see the good in others the way that God does, and truly be glad in it. I will tell you first hand that there have been many times where I have had to "fake it till I make it" just in order to be joyful and celebratory for someone else. However, the more that I trained myself to do so, the easier it became. Once I was able to consistently celebrate others I learned a very interesting lesson.
Being truly happy and joyful for other people brings an untouchable peace that surpasses all understanding.
It is almost as if our culture has it twisted around. Society makes us believe that when we are feeling insecure we need to put more attention and love towards ourselves. And while yes this is true to an extent, I believe the gospel tells us the opposite. The gospel tells us that we rise by lifting others up. We grow by loving on others. We feel the presence of God when we are giving our hearts to His people. The more I give my heart to other people and celebrate all that God is doing in their life, the more I feel the Lord move in my own heart. Train your minds to focus on celebration, friends. I promise you, it is the key to silencing our insecurities and enjoying the success of others, as well as our own.
I am not going to sit here and tell you this is easy. It isn't. It takes time. It takes dedication. It takes practice. It takes focus. It takes discipline. It takes prayer. The society around us is constantly telling us to compare and to compete. But friends, I am here to tell you that true joy comes when we know our identity in the Lord and can look to others and encourage them to find theirs. Let us start a movement of less competition and more celebration. Let's work together and lift each other up. In the end, we are all just walking each other home.