Helping hurting women

Using Philippians 4:8 as her starting point, Paula Masters helps women navigate beyond clouds of spiritual darkness into the brilliant light of truth, peace, and healthy thinking.

Insecurity has the meaning of being unsure, unstable, shaky, apprehensive, or lacking in self-confidence. There are many environments that can create and cultivate these types of feelings. It can come from a difficult up-bringing, unsettling circumstances, mistreatments, to individual fears. Sometimes these feelings are steady, and other times they wash over in a wave of emotion. They often cause exaggerated fears and misunderstandings. Sometimes they propel a woman to act in a self-protective manner shutting others out; rejecting before being rejected. Other times they have the opposite effect, causing a woman to work too hard for acceptance.

Women who struggle with insecurity find themselves vulnerable to all types of unhealthy situations. This makes it all the more important to quickly identify the characteristics of insecurity and take great strides to seek change. 

People who are familiar with this struggle can generally look back on their lives and see the path of destruction (whether mild or severe). The journey will often include making poor choices in friendships, as well as, making poor decisions within those friendships. Women who battle with insecurity often create flimsy boundaries, and have trouble communicating with those closest to them.

When a person who struggles with insecurity feels threatened, that threat can often turn into a wrongly perceived reality. Though it may not be true reality in the actual sense, to them it is reality--only wrongly perceived. For example, if something happens where a women feels threatened or is suspicious of a possible threat, she may perceive the matter erroneously. This will subsequently set in motion a natural defense mechanism in the heart that is hardly even recognized by the woman herself. Poor choices automatically flow forth because they are birthed out of insecurity and the wrongly perceived reality that accompanies it. 

Insecurity can manifest itself in many ways. For instance, if "Sally" feels threatened because another woman is talking with her boyfriend. She may become suspicious and jump to a wrong conclusion based on her insecurities. Then Sally may make the choice to voice the suspicion without knowing the motivation of the other woman or boyfriend, or the circumstances involved. This, of course, sets into motion a flurry of negative repercussions. The other woman's reputation is called into question, and Sally's boyfriend may back off. Sally has caused turmoil due to her incorrect perception of reality, which is based on her insecurities. She may even ask, "How did this all happen?" 

Or using the same scenario an insecure woman may be compelled to take an opposite course of action. Although Sally sees a woman talking frequently with her boyfriend, she does not ask him who the woman is, but chooses instead to ignore the situation. She believes that the fault is hers -- that she simply needs to try harder to win her boyfriend's affections and that regardless of how much she hurts, this may be the best relationship she can ever hope to have. However, he continues to be in relationship with this other women and even receives phone calls from her while out with Sally. Two years after Sally has married this man, he tells Sally he's leaving her. Can you guess why? That's right, for the other woman. In this scenario, Sally's wrongly perceive reality (based on insecurity) caused her to put the blinders on, ignore red flags, and remain in an unhealthy relationship.

In the same way insecurity affects the way a woman sees others, it also affects the way she sees herself. She may feel as though she is worthless, even to extreme degrees. In her mind nothing about herself is appealing. Oftentimes this will manifest itself in choices such as lack of personal hygiene, wearing ill-fitted or unclean clothing, not taking care of her home, or engaging in unhealthy activities. 

On the other hand, it go to the other extreme and cause a woman to focus too much on herself, her appearance, her home, and her social life. This woman builds a facade of success, masking her deep fear of being found deficient.

Is there a way out of this vicious cycle? By the grace of God, a woman cannot only be freed from insecurity's destructive influences but can emerge as a woman of great spiritual strength and grace. Only Christ can do this work in the heart. The first step in the healing process is a recognition of emotional and spiritual poverty as well as the inability to overcome in her own strength. Daily looking to the Lord for a renewed heart and mind is a great place to start. ~Paula Masters


Understanding Insecurity