Taken from the June 2014 Women's Brunch, Haley Thomas shares her testimony and practical advice on how God has brought her peace and confidence in the place of insecurity, anxiety, and comparison through the Word of God. The notes below are from Haley.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. - Romans 12:2
Insecurity is the number one struggle and stealer of joy for women. Not only does it affect us negatively but it affects our ability to have true community. But there is hope to change by the grace of God and renewing our minds!
I personally struggled with severe insecurity, negative thinking, comparison, and anxiety that was stealing my joy and causing depression. I became fed up with the way I was living and thought there has to be another way to live. If what God says is true then I can be changed by the renewal of my mind.
I hated when people said – hey just pray and trust God and it will all be ok. If you need to lose a lot of weight, you can’t just pray and have fat melted away. You have to work out and train and be disciplined to change. The process is not easy and it is painful, BUT living in insecurity, fear, and anxiety is so much worse! I am happy to say that through prayer, the grace of God, and a process of retraining my mind, I have found freedom and am a new woman!
INSECURITY IS SELF-FOCUSED
For me the first step was realizing that insecurity is so self-focused. I was thinking of myself alone and not anyone else – especially God.
Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. - Matthew 22:36-39
Though it is so simple, our first goal as a Christian is this verse – loving others above ourselves. This was my saving grace to finding freedom.
RETRAINING THE MIND
Another step was retraining my brain. Your brain has pathways of how you respond to situations and due to the fact that I had always thought negatively I had a lot of “negative pathways”. But you can renew these pathways by building new ones. Creating new habits. To do that I clung to, meditated, and recited biblical truths. The only thing we can put our hope in is the only thing in this universe that will last – The Lord. Here are some of my favorite verses.
Yours o Lord is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the Kingdom O Lord and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you and you rule over all. - 1 Chronicles 29:11
In my anguish I cried out to the Lord and he answered me by setting me free. The Lord is with me I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The Lord is with me he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies. - Psalm 118:5-7
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. - 1 John 4:18
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. - Philippians 4:6-9
I woke up EVERY morning and prayed the full armor of God. I prayed the word of God OUT LOUD and listened to podcasts and read many books on how to change my thinking.
TAKING THOUGHTS CAPTIVE
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. - 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
For me taking thoughts captive means recognizing them and naming them for what they are – that’s insecurity – that’s anxiety – that’s fear. This is not from the Lord and instead speaking the word of the Lord.
Along with insecurity comes comparison. Comparing ourselves with others will always make us feel like we do not measure up. There will always be someone prettier, skinnier, more funny, smarter, more successful, more creative, has nicer things, is a better mom, has better behaved kids, and is more liked than you. When thoughts like this come in your head, name it for what it is and realize that is not going to get you anywhere. Instead meditate on who you are in Christ.
When they measure themselves with themselves and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding and behave unwisely. - 2 Corinthians 10:12
FIND IDENTITY IN CHRIST
My identity was certainly not in Christ but in what others thought of me. We must not find our worth in the things of this world because it will never last. There is no hope in that and our efforts for finding freedom will be lost.
I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. - Psalm 139:14
Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. - Luke 12:6-7
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. - Galatians 2:20
Jesus made each of us unique to who we are and if we give into insecurity, anxiety, and fear it will keep us from the joy and purpose that God has for us. I still need to work on this. We are all on a journey and I will be figuring all of this out until I get to heaven! I hope this serves to encourage you to find your rest and hope in God!
Haley lives with her husband, Jackson, and their daughter, Ella in Dallas.