Lies We’ve Believed | An AMH Blog Series
INSPIRED BY THE BOOK LIES YOUNG WOMEN BELIEVE
For as long as I can remember, my biggest insecurity has been my quiet personality. I’m not overly talkative, I’m not super outgoing, and I’m not the life of the party by any stretch of the imagination. Don’t get me wrong – I love to have fun. And the friends who know me well have plenty of stories. But I remember coming away from so many parties and get togethers beating myself up for not saying enough. I felt like I had nothing to offer in group situations and wondered if people really wanted me there.
Everyone has something that they wish they could change about themselves. Discontentment with who we are can badger our minds and preoccupy our thoughts. It makes us think, “If only my (insert insecurity) was different, then people would like me better.” I’m willing to bet that you have bought into this lie or one similar to it that leaves you feeling dissatisfied with yourself. I know I have.
True Friendship Is Not About You
I bought into the lie that since I’ve never been very talkative and outgoing, people didn’t want to talk to me. I thought that if I only was more outgoing, then people would really like me and then I would be satisfied. However accurate this lie felt, it was full of destructive power.
This particular lie can have a negative effect on relationships. Whenever I started to think about how quiet I was and how badly I wished that I had a different personality, I drew back. I pulled away from interactions with the people I was sure didn’t like me because I assumed that they didn’t want to talk to me. Disengaging from certain social situations by my own choice seemed like an easier option than opening up with others and facing the potential of rejection. But this only made my situation worse!
In the book, Lies Young Women Believe, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and Dannah Gresh say, “If your focus is on who likes you, you are not pursuing true friendship. If your focus is on who is asking you to hang with them, it’s all wrong. That’s not a spiritual mindset. Ask the Lord to help you be more concerned about who needs you rather than who likes you.”
Being focused on the lie that others didn’t want to talk to me made me so self-absorbed that I didn’t think about how I could serve others and glorify God in the way I interacted with them. Looking back on my growing up years, I can now see that I missed out on potential relationships because I was afraid of being rejected. I was reluctant to put myself out there. Being so sure that few people actually wanted to be friends with a quiet person, I waited for others to approach me first.
The Selfishness of Low Self-Esteem
The advice the world have given me would go something like this: you just need to love and accept yourself for who you are. Remind yourself how special and important you are. At first glance, this seems like great advice. How else are you supposed to be comfortable in your own skin?
But the truth is, we don’t have to work at loving ourselves. We’re self-preserving creatures. When we experience pain, either physical or emotional, we do whatever we can to stop it. We’re born with the natural tendency to love ourselves. In all of those social situations when I pulled back, I was already selfishly loving myself. I was trying to save myself from being rejected. So if the answer to low self-esteem isn’t learning how to love ourselves, what is?
Focusing on our own love for ourselves can only bring emptiness. But receiving God’s love brings life. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” God doesn’t just accept us for who we are – He created us to be who we are. He rejoices over us. And He quiets us with His love. He quenches our longing to be accepted. He overcomes our insecurities with the security of His love.
Once we begin to catch a glimpse of the depth of the love of God, a right response is to pour that same kind of love out on others. In John 13:34 Jesus told His disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” This is a massive calling. We caught a sneak peek into the greatness of God’s love in Zephaniah 3:17 and in John 13:34, we’re called to follow this example of love. We’re called to imitate Jesus by denying ourselves and putting aside our self love as we serve others.
The lie we can so easily dwell on is, “I’m not outgoing (or fill in your own adjective) enough and people probably don’t like me because of it. I need to learn how to love myself better.” The truth is that God created us and rejoices over us. His love is what quiets the longings of our hearts and sets us free from our captivity to the lies of the enemy!!