Freedom from controlling insecurity
Despite growing up with the absence of a healthy male role model I still longed for romance and the big adventure. As a little girl I found it in my childish games with my dolls or by acting out movies in the back garden, where I was the gorgeous leading lady in a romantic, adventurous soap opera. As a teenager I searched for love in boys, hoping that one of them would notice me for who I really was and that he would treat me like a princess. Many boyfriends came and went and I realised that this fairy tale was never going to be a reality. Slowly I gave up, and submitted to the harsh reality that I was not a princess but perhaps merely a prostitute. Harsh? Yes, perhaps that is a very strong word to use but it was definitely how I felt most of the time. I would trade sex for just a drop of love, I would use my body to fill the deep, dark void in my heart. I would lay there and take it in the hope that at the end I might get a cuddle.
Sure, I wasn’t paid any hard cash, but my hope was always for some form of reward. The more I searched for love, the more I collected hurts, and the more I tried to fill the emptiness inside of me, the more I realised how deep the emptiness went. Even marriage didn’t take that emptiness away; it only forced me to face the things I didn’t want to face. Synonyms for darling are sweetheart, wonderful, gorgeous and lovely. With every fibre of my being, I longed to be all those things to some charming man, believing that he would make me complete.
Two halves don’t make a whole
A broken young seventeen year old girl from a messed up background cannot be made complete by an equally broken messed up nineteen year old boy! Two halves don’t make a whole. Two broken people don’t make one complete person. What they do make is a mess.
With all my heart I firmly believe that you attract who you are. Messed up people don’t attract healthy people who have got it all together. No matter how much you try to fake it, the real person hidden underneath all the layers attracts another real person hidden underneath all the layers. Your façade won’t fool nature!
Layers of insecurity
Marriage has a funny way of bringing out things that perhaps could have remained covered up as a single person. My brokenness reared its ugly head in many ways during the years of marriage in many colourful shapes and sizes. The most significant of these was the underlying root of insecurity. Insecurity was the heart of many other issues in my life and it took a good twenty years to discover this. Insecurity can suck the life out of you and if you are not careful, can actually kill you.
My precious baby girl was getting to the age where she enjoyed bedtime stories and her daddy was at the stage where he enjoyed reading them. Lorah and her daddy sat in bed together having a nice cuddle while enjoying an Enid Blyton book. A healthy, loving bond was forming between a daddy and a daughter.
Outside the bedroom was where I sat. I was sitting in the hallway outside the closed bedroom door crying my eyes out. Why on earth was I crying? I was crying because I was riddled with fear and insecurity. Fear that my baby girl was being molested by her daddy. Trapped in this insecurity, I was too afraid to go into the bedroom for fear of what I might find. Too paralysed to move away from the door and too scared to go into the room.
Was Lorah being molested? No, of course not, her dad would never dream of doing such a thing. So why did I have such an unreasonable fear? My foundation was set on the wrong things, my view of men was based on my past experiences and my view of daddies was based on my past experience with my daddy and step daddy.
Thankfully I met Jesus before Lorah was born and although I had a long road of healing ahead of me at least the process had started. This incident with me sitting outside Lorah’s bedroom door was a part of the healing process. It was essential that my perception of men was undone, that my expectation of men was changed and that my foundation was re-laid so that God could rebuild me into a healthy whole woman. As time went by, I was able to change my mind about Lorah’s dad and see that all men don’t abuse their daughters.
Next came the layer of insecurity in the area of intimacy. How was it possible to be married and do the intimate things that married people do whilst all the while feeling like a dirty prostitute? For me sex either felt like rape or prostitution or on occasion reminded me of my dad’s hand on my body. How could this possibly be God’s plan, why did God come up with this horrible thing that we have to do for the rest of our lives? It’s so dirty and so horrible. As the years went by I was able to totally destroy this horrible perception and fully understand the beauty of two flesh becoming one .
For me it was a given that my husband would be attracted to his female co-workers or bosses. There was no way in my mind that a man could go to work and be alongside women and not want to be with them sexually. At one point it was so ridiculous that I even thought my husband was having an affair with his homosexual colleague! If he was five minutes late home from work I started to panic, instantly thinking that there was another woman involved. This caused me to cause such a scene when he ever came home late so my poor husband was left with no choice but to be home on time or else.
Over the years I had understood who my real daddy was; I loved God and knew He loved me too. In my mind I was safe in His arms, I was His little princess and I felt Him close to me most of the time. This helped me feel secure in many ways but not in every way. I had a long way to go in trusting men. I saw God as a daddy and was secure in this but I didn’t see Him as a husband or lover and was not at all secure in this side of things. My foundation was still based on earthly romantic love and not heavenly romance, which left me very insecure.
Facing the Truth
Lying in our bed, enjoying the warmth of Eric’s embrace, I pondered on the truth that was becoming very obvious to me. It was a gorgeous summer’s morning and we had a full day ahead of us so we felt justified in a little lay in before we braved the day. Meetings, band practice, community outreach and our weekly team meeting were ahead of us and we knew that we would be dashing from one thing to the next until we were able to flop back down in our bed later that evening.
Taking full advantage of this rare and precious moment I simply lay enjoying a nice cuddle with my wonderful husband. We had covered a lot of ground and come a long way in the six years that we had been together. It was not yet our sixth wedding anniversary and already we had two new beautiful children in addition to our daughters from my first marriage, we had a mortgage and a nearly new car, we had planted a Church from scratch and were one week away from recording our first music CD.
Those are just a few big things, in addition to those biggies we had also covered a lot of ground as a couple, overcoming baggage from the past and helping each other reach our full potential. It was beautiful what God had done in our lives but I knew that I had to face the truth. Even though I had experienced a great deal of freedom, I was not yet totally free. There was one giant I still had to face... and it was big, fat and ugly. Everything inside of me didn’t want to admit that I still had to face this. I had spent years having a measure of success in this area and had already overcome a large amount of it, but the ugly truth was that I was not free from it yet.
I lay in the comfort of Eric’s arms, feeling completely safe and peaceful, remembering the lovely date night we had the night before. I knew we would never have the best possible marriage if I didn’t kill this giant. Our Church would never be the best it could be if I didn’t kill this giant. My children would inherit the giant and they would have to face it and kill it if I didn’t. Continuing to deny it and avoid it was now becoming very selfish. I had to face the truth. I was insecure, that was the ugly truth!
I turned from my comfortable position in Eric’s embrace and faced him.
“Darling, I have to tell you something.” I said
“There is something I have to deal with and it’s going to be very painful and I really need your support without any judgement.”
Eric listened intently trying to understand where I was going.
“You know in the past I have struggled with insecurity? You can clearly see how much I am struggling with it right now, with this whole CD recording thing? I really don’t feel good enough as a singer to be recording this CD with the band and I really don’t want to let the team down.”
He offered some loving, comforting, encouraging words which felt nice but I knew I had to push through and be completely honest. Stopping here would achieve nothing. I really wanted to linger in his kind words and leave it at that but I knew that would keep me in hiding from the whole truth. Yes I did feel insecure about my ability as a singer but that was not the root and the heart of my insecurity, which was just a little fruit of it! So I continued...
“Facing this season of singing and being on stage and recording our album is a great opportunity for me to press into God and for me to find my confidence in Him. It is a great opportunity for me to work on my insecurity but once the CD recording is over I should be fine in this area. The pressure of it all is just causing me to face some things I have buried.
I believe that after the CD recording I will have to face the real giant. I am still insecure. You know how I have struggled and worked at it, but it is still here and I haven’t fully faced it and overcome it. In all my struggles I think I have managed it or even suppressed it but I have never overcome it and been able to live in freedom from it.
I believe God has called me to lead women as I understand so much of the struggles and constraints that we have as women. But... I don’t believe He will be able to fully use me as He wishes while I am still bound in insecurity. I need you to understand what is coming so you will not judge me, but support me. When insecurity comes, it consumes me. It is like some evil spirit takes over and I lose my ability to be rational. I know you love me darling, I really do and I have no doubts that you will always be faithful to me. I know that in my head but my heart doesn’t always hear my head when the insecurity comes. Sometimes I feel so insecure I actually get physically nauseous.
Please don’t judge me; I am so scared that you will judge me. It’s not my fault, I have a broken foundation. The way I see things is that a father should be affirming his little girl from a young age telling her how beautiful and how clever she is. He should be showing her the father heart of God and lavishing her in his ‘daddy love’. This sets the foundation for her entire life and this is partly where she will draw her security from, from her father’s love.
I don’t have that. From a young age my father showed me that women are for sex and to hit when they felt angry. I never really had a good foundation set by my father and when he abused me as a young woman it shattered any bit of foundation that I had. I built relationship after relationship with boys on that foundation and each hurt and each breakup caused an even bigger crack in the foundation of my life. I have really tried to be free from this but it is a foundational thing that needs major repair and only God can do this.
I see now that God has been merciful and has given me a nice long break from feeling insecure so that I can gain some strength. I also know that it was just that, a break from dealing with it. It is still there which you will soon see when the giant comes back to taunt me. I know I have to face it and I feel God is preparing me for battle. He has been so kind and merciful to me and given me a good long rest from it but I do feel Him calling me to battle. I do feel Him saying that if I am ready, He is ready to begin His work in me.”
Eric nodded as he listened, trying desperately to understand what I was talking about. Finally he spoke:
“So what will this attack look like, what am I looking out for? How will I know how to support you?”
This was the moment of truth! Either I spoke the brutal truth or I continued to hide behind how it really worked. So I just said it as I saw it.
“The attack will probably come in the form of a woman. She will come into our life, probably into Church and she will have all the things that I feel I don’t have. She will be confident in the areas that I don’t feel confident in and she will be all the things I feel I am not. She will be totally lovely and I will take an instant disliking to her. None of it will be her fault, it will all be my foundation of insecurity.
This is my battle - you can’t fight it for me. I have to face this and I have to win once and for all. Have you noticed how few women we have in Church? It’s because of me, it’s because I am not a healthy leader and I would damage healthy women. Please don’t judge me, I don’t want to be this way but I can see that this is the truth now. Our marriage, family and church will never flourish until I kill this giant. You can’t do anything for me except pray and most of all, when you see me struggling and being totally unreasonable, please don’t say anything. Don’t judge me, just understand that I am fully aware of what is going on and am in a battle. This is most likely how it will happen but of course I can’t say for sure.”
As always Eric had the perfect response, he always knows what to say and how to help me. Oh how amazing it is to have someone to confide in, someone to trust with this heavy burden. He gently responded:
“Darling I will cover you in prayer and do whatever you need me to do. I don’t blame you; it’s not your fault that you are struggling with this. You were never given a solid, healthy foundation and I don’t blame you, I won’t judge you.”
It was a done deal. I had confessed the whole truth to Eric and now I was accountable. I desperately wanted to be free and healed. Confessing the whole truth was a very important first step. As it says in the book of James in the Bible, this will bring about healing .
The next step was to get ready for battle. I wasn’t going to sit around being ignorantly and unsuspectingly pounced on by the devil. Not this time, too many times had he caught me out and won the battle. This time I was going to be prepared and then I was going to pick a fight with him. Thankfully I have an example of someone who did the same, He was much younger than me but He too picked a fight with the intention of winning. The result: the giant died and an entire nation was freed from oppression. Perhaps I could do the same thing, perhaps in conquering my giant I too could win a battle for all the girls in England or perhaps even the world. Why not, I serve a big God so may as well think big!
The journey began; I decided to study 1 Samuel 17, the story of David and Goliath, to see if I could find any tips on giant killing. Why not, there could be no harm in learning from one who had done exactly what I intended to do.
This is a snippet of the second chapter from my new book 'Secure on the Rock' which will be released in paperback on 1 March 2011. Chapter 3 of Secure on the Rock will follow soon, more info available here.