The Insecurity of Today

Everyone, at one point in their life, has been (or is) insecure.

It's sad, yes, but it's true.
Ever since I was little, these verses have been instilled in me:
For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very 4 well.
- Psalm 139:13-14 -
I am made in God's image (Genesis 1:26), and henceforth I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
But... I especially struggled with insecurity a few years back. I'm homeschooled, yeah, but it doesn't mean I've never experienced cliques. I'm a Christian, yeah, but it doesn't make me immune to the hurt of cliques. I've been 'the odd one' for a while.
There's a group, even at my church, who are definitely their own little clique. It's hard for me, because I'm different - waaaaay different. Evidently, I'm 'weird' for being a homeschooler, for being ahead in school, for paying attention during class, for playing with dolls still, for dressing modestly....
Even recently, I went home and just cried. I'm serious. I was deeply hurt by several of the girls (maybe they meant to, maybe not, but...) and it didn't help that I had already had a bad day.
Especially when I was younger, the insecurity would grip me like an iron fist. I have an extremely talented, smart, and pretty older sister, and I was always comparing myself to her. No matter what, where, when, how.... I felt as though the whole world did the same - compared me to her, and I'd never be good enough.
She played a piano solo at the orchestra concert that we were both in, and afterwards, someone came up and praised me because they though I was her. I had to tell them that it was my sister, and not me. But ever since then, I've longed for someone to say that to me and not mistake me for her (even though we're really started to look alike - it's crazy, we might be taken for twins!).
I was scared that I was a failure, a disappointment to everyone because I wasn't as good. She was 'the musician' and everyone knew it. I played the piano and violin too, but did anyone know? No. It was especially discouraging when even though I worked 10X as much as she did for the concert, I was behind everyone else and no one saw me at all. Everyone praised her, and acted like I hadn't even practiced, even though it was the other way around.
It was around there that I longed for someone to tell me, "I'm proud of you." My sister was getting that all the time, and she acted like she didn't even care - I would've given anything for that.
I was insecure.
I was relying on people to make me feel secure.
I didn't know who I was in Christ.
I knew in my head, but not in my heart, that I was fearfully and wonderfully made... but I didn't believe it.
I worried about not being pretty enough, smart enough, talented enough. I stressed over getting ahead in school, and was depressed when I got a bad grade.
But everything's different now - I definitely still get insecure at times (just keep reading, and you'll see another example), but I know that no matter what, God can still use me. It doesn't matter if I'm not as perfect or talented as someone else, He made me for a reason, and I'm the perfect fit. Not my sister, not my brother, but ME. When I realized that I was unique, and important to God and that HE could use me whether or not I was as good at playing the piano, it changed a lot of things.
I've found that it's actually pride that made me insecure. I wanted to be praised, applauded, and I wanted others to be proud of me. But you know what?
In a few years, anyone who has ever applauded or praised me, will probably forget me. Some of the people who have hurt me will forget me. Now, don't take it that I don't like being encouraged or praised, and don't take it wrongly that I want people to forget me (no, I want to leave a legacy for God! I want to be a light that shines into the darkness, and that others will never forget the light that shone through me by God)... it's just that fame is fickle.
It's true, just find a superstar or celebrity from 2000.... where are they now? Who knows, who cares, for the most part. It's sad - people work all their life to become famous, only to be forgotten a few years later. Fame is very fickle, and so is popularity. I used to long to be popular, to be part of the 'in-crowd', and to be the 'ringleader' of the clique. But now, there's a different ringleader of the current clique, and hardly anyone remembers the old one. It could be depressing if it weren't for the fact that popularity doesn't matter to me anymore. Yeah, I think it'd be cool to be on TV or star in a movie once or twice, but I'm not dying to. (seriously, though, it'd be pretty fun to act.... :) )
God made me for a reason, and the only thing that should matter to me is HIS approval, HIS applause, and doing HIS will. I'll still remember the few times that people have said, "I'm proud of you." but most of all, I'd like to hear God tell me, "I'm proud of you." Wouldn't that just be amazing? I'd love it. I want God to be proud of what I do, and I don't want Him regretting giving me talents or abilities to use for Him. What's the use if I don't use the gifts He's given me for Him?
I used to despise music and hate the piano, because I knew I'd never be as good as my sister, so I figured, 'Why even try?' I wanted to make my own mark on the world, be a gymnast, or a ballerina, or a figure skater, or a horseback rider, or a famous actress.... but pretty much all of those things were impossible.
God's given me different talents, different abilities. I might be able to do a cartwheel, and I still think it'd be pretty awesome to be able to do an aerial (seriously, that's awesome!), but I've got different ambitions and higher goals.
I want to be a missionary doctor with my pilot's license.
Some people say that's a lofty goal, or pretty ridiculous that a teen would already know exactly what she wants to do... and that it's even more ridiculous that I'd want to serve God with the rest of my life.
I always knew I wanted to be a missionary, but I thought (especially when I was 8 or 9) maybe I could do one of those other things on the side.
The sad part was that I figured, "Hey, I've got plenty of time. Why should I spend my childhood studying the Bible or spending time with God? I'll just start whenever I become a missionary. It'll be okay."
NO, it isn't okay for me to just wait until I'm 'grown-up' to start serving God. Just because I'm a kid, or a tween, or a teen, doesn't mean I get to just waste my life. That's why I want to serve God NOW, HERE, and in everything I do. I have to admit, I fail a LOT at that goal.
One of the most impacting things that my brother yelled at me when we were arguing was,
"You call yourself a light for the Lord, but I don't see it! You might call yourself that, and be a light online, but what about in your real life? You're always on the computer, and you're not being a light for the Lord in your real life, off the computer."
Boy, did that hit hard. He was right. I wasn't trying very hard to be a light in the world that I'm living in. I thought that if I was light online, it'd be pretty impacting. Sure, maybe I'll reach a lot of people, but there are people spiritually dying all around me, and I need to be a light in the world around me.
What he said scared me, really... even more, it motivated me to move, to start living a life for God in the world around me. I thought I was already 'good enough', that I was already 'memorizing Bible verses and knowing the Bible from cover to cover'... maybe I looked perfect, like a light, but I can do better. I might be doing enough for the world, but I can never do enough to thank God for what He's done for me.
I'm easily encouraged - my love language is words and time. If someone actually takes time out of their busy schedule to spend time with me, it means a lot to me. And if someone sincerely encourages me with words, it means more than you know.
A few Sundays ago, the same Sunday that I was deeply hurt, the church was having a lunch afterwards. Now, let me explain - the church I go to has an absolutely incredible, amazing, wonderful grand piano that I love playing but hardly ever get to because my sister gets there first. :)
I skipped lunch, because our church pianist generously lets me play whenever I'd like (though I still get a little shy). I loved it. It was absolutely incredible.
Right before she left, she told me something that I don't think I'll ever forget.
"You have a gift," she said. "Don't ever stop using it. I'm proud of you."
That meant the world to me - and God has given me a gift that I don't ever want to stop using. It wasn't the first one that I would've chosen, but I've come to love it.
I was actually really surprised, because I didn't realize someone was in the sound booth, and then they complimented me and I really needed it, especially after what had happened that morning. And then of course, my best friend who happened to sneak in and scare me half to death when she started clapping. Ahem. :)
I also found my niche - the niche that no one else in my family has, the niche that makes me feel special: writing. Yeah, others write, but that's my thing. It just is. That's why I could spend all day writing these, and I just love it.
I thought I had finally escaped my sister's shadow (haha, #isabellegoty2014) in writing when I joined the writing community... and then one of the comments on my profile was, "Hey, I know this sounds weird if I'm wrong, but do you have an older sister named _______?" *facepalm*
At first it bothered me that at Bible Bee (Nationals, mostly), people would come up and say, "Oh, you must be _____'s little sister!" And I'm just like, "Uh, yeah, I'm ____'s little sister."
I've always been referred to as _____'s little sister! :D The troubles of having an older sister... :) I don't mind so much anymore. Now it's kinda a compliment to be mistaken for her! She teaches a Sunday school class to the little 2 & 3 year olds at our church, and one of her former students (he's like, 5) came up and said, "_____, _____, I need your help!" It was so cute! I did help him, by the way... :D
Blogging and writing are something I can do for God's glory that is uniquely mine (at least in my family). I'm so thankful that I'm fearfully and wonderfully made!
I wish I didn't have to go through being the 'outsider' sometimes, but it's taught me several lessons and most importantly, I can understand why some people put on a fa├žade because they're insecure about who they are - I almost did last week. I hadn't seen one of my friends in almost a year, and I was afraid she wouldn't want to be my friend anymore because we've both changed a lot (but in good ways, I just wasn't sure) and I was afraid that everyone else at the party would know her better than I did. I was overly concerned about my appearance, and I was trying to think of everything I could say that would make me feel better. I wanted to put on an outward appearance so that I wouldn't be hurt like last time. I was scared, really, and insecure of who I was. It's a long story, but I looked into the mirror and realized something. I was doing exactly what I hated seeing in others - pride and vanity.
I was so concerned about what others thought, that I had completely ignored what God thought.
But now that I've experienced it, I can reach out to others who aren't part of the in-crowd, and know exactly how they feel. I can work against letting there even be in-crowds, and I can understand those who put on an 'I-could-care-less' attitude because they don't want to be hurt again.
I don't know exactly what I want to say. It's just nice to be able to write (well, technically type) again (I was sick for several days and missed writing).
But I think my main points are that YOU are uniquely, wonderfully, and fearfully made in God's image and NEVER forget that. No matter what you're going through, God's always there, and HE is the one we should look to for praise, because it's the only lasting praise.
It doesn't matter if you're as pretty, talented, or as smart as someone else - God has made you just as He needs you to be for the plan He has for you. Even if you don't think you have anything to serve Him with, just offer your all - your everything.
~ Light4theLord
To God be the Glory!


Introducing... Charis Rae!

I'm so honored to be a part of Charis Rae's blog launch (a.k.a. Grace from The Girl Upstairs), and here it is!