By Jen Ramlet
It's 11:00 am and as I peer out my window admiring the beautiful Irish countryside I can't help but think: "This is what the Garden of Eden must have looked like." Everything is so green and plush. The trees, the bushes, the rolling hills... every inch from the grass all the way up to the tallest tree is perfect. In awe of the scenery set before me as the bus to Belfast presses on, I begin to think "this is how the Lord views us," beautiful, perfect, amazing. Yet how many of us can actually say we feel that way about ourselves? Many of us would admit, even if only to ourselves, that we feel insecure, unattractive, even inadequate in many ways. Whether it is our physical appearance, education level, our career choice or lack their of, our significant other or social status, we live our life in a constant state of comparison and frustration. Why don't I look like her? Why haven't I gotten that promotion at work yet? Why did she get to go to college and not me? Why does she get to have the good marriage filled with love and respect? When do I get to get out of this apartment and buy a house? When will my children see all I have done for them? The list goes on and on. And if we're honest with ourselves, asking these questions at times can feel good, while slowly destroying us a little bit at a time. I have had so many of my girlfriends ask me while over coffee questions like this. All the same question just a different context. The truth is, even though each one of those amazing women had different insecurities, the root of those insecurities came from the same place. It came from a place of not knowing their true worth and not being able to be secure in who they were as a women and as a child of God. Some of you may be saying; "Jen, my situation is deeper or more complex than that, you don't understand." And while you’re right, I don't know each and every one of your situations I can tell you that when I have challenged friends and other women that I have mentored to begin to ask themselves the "hard" questions with an honest answer, those situations, no matter how small or big, ended up changing.
I mentored a girl a number of years ago who was an adult dancer. She became a Christian only a few months before she approached me asking me to mentor her. The first few weeks I simply got to know her. Her story, her life, her family and how she got involved in dancing. Come to find out her boyfriend was a bartender there and when they began to date he not only encouraged her to continue dancing but to do more personal dances for more money. As a new Christian, she struggled with the choice she was going to have to make. Many of us may be saying, “that's simple, stop dancing and break up with the guy.” But it wasn't that simple for her. She would not only be breaking up with him, she would need to find a new place to live, find a new job, new friends. Everything she knew would be turned upside down. And for her, that wasn’t something she was quite ready for just yet.
When I first moved to Denver, I had a girlfriend who struggled with insecurity within her relationship. He had been unfaithful in prior relationships and constantly feared she would experience a similar situation. Every day she would question him. What he was doing? Who he was with? Who he was texting? The questioning never ended. When they first started dating, he was understanding. He wanted to prove his faithfulness and love for her. As the years pressed on, it began to wear on him. Would she ever trust him? He began to feel as though he could never win. After three years together, he got frustrated and left. She came to me in tears, in disbelief as to what happened. "How could he do this to me? He said he loved me? Jen, can you believe him?" Looking at my friend in pain, I wanted to be sympathetic, I wanted to be the supportive friend who said; "how dare he, you can do better! Forget him!" But the truth of the matter was that I knew this situation all too well. This had been me in every relationship I had had from high school all the way through college. While I didn't exactly pick the most faithful and honest men, I sure didn't make our relationship any easier. I was constantly questioning, constantly asking about past relationships, constantly checking in on them. And while I knew this was a crazy thing to do, I didn't know what else to do at the time. I wasn't secure enough in myself to simply trust a man nor was I secure enough to love myself despite the choices they'd end up making.
So there I sat with a girl I had been friends with for many years and simply asked her one question. "Do you love yourself?" It was the very question I had asked my dancing friend when she said she wasn’t ready to change. Both giving me the same answer, they replied; "What?" An answer many of us use when we don't want to answer the question honestly. I asked again. Both of them, in time, admitted that they did not. Both of them said they had never loved themselves. They had never told themselves they were beautiful, that they had never felt confident. That they both, in different ways, were chasing the impossible. One chasing a man’s love that was simply based on sex and money all the while praying he would change and the other for a man’s utter and complete confidence that deep down only God could provide.
As Christmas approaches in just three days, I think about the beautiful birth of Jesus. What Mary and Joseph must have been thinking around this time. What God had planned when He sent His son to save us. How He would come to shatter and transform the ways we worship and experience Him.
In Luke 19:10: it says that He came to save which was lost. Joyce Meyer said once that Jesus cares about every aspect of your life. Not just the spiritual realm. He wants you to enjoy your life. It's one thing to be a miserable sinner, it's another thing to be a miserable saint. If you’re saved but still feel empty, you’re not living the whole life God wants you to experience. In Psalm 63:5 it says: “My whole being is satisfied.” If we're honest, How many of us can say that? That every piece of our being is satisfied?
You see, Joyce made a good point when she said, "God is abiding in you so when he comes into your life it is like a seed living in you. As you water it with the word and the sun (son) shines on you, you will begin to experience complete transformation not just spiritually but emotionally, physically and mentally." How you being to change the state of insecurity in your life is by watering yourself with the word. Understanding what the truth is about your insecurity and then begin to speak biblically over your life. I’ve never felt more confident and beautiful than when I'd wake up, read the word then spend some time looking at myself in the mirror speaking those truths over my life. The truth that I was beautiful and lovely and made for a purpose. The truth that I am confidence and strong and able and worthy of love.
If you want true breakthrough from your insecurity, you have to be willing to put in the work. For me, it was understanding that no man was going to be perfect, that we all have a past and have all made mistakes, including myself, but that only I could control my actions, my words and my thoughts. That when I began to see my worth and love myself for all that I am, my insecurities began to slowly fade away and a newfound confidence arose. You can spend all day blaming other people for the reason you’re insecure or you can get off the couch and put in the work. The question I want to pose to you ladies is:
"Are you willing to stop complaining, comparing and blaming everyone else for what's wrong in your life and finally experience true breakthrough and freedom?" If your answer is yes, then let's get to work!
In the coming weeks we will take a deep dive into breaking the chains of bondage and what true freedom looks like. From physical insecurity, financial and educational insecurity as well as relationship insecurity we will begin to work through all of the struggles we have together so we can begin to transform ourselves into the women God called us to be.
Jen Ramlet is a hilarious, fun, wise woman who will have you laughing till you cry one moment and bearing your soul the next. She is a writer and speaker with a passion for mentoring women and helping them find true freedom in Christ. Jen lives in Denver, CO with her handsome husband and super cute pup. You can find more of fabulous Jen at her blog, Rustic Glory (seriously, check it out, you’ll love it).