When Insecurities Strike

“Words can build you up. Words can break you down. Start a fire in your heart or put it out.” –Hawk Nelson

Recently, a friend said something to me that crushed my heart. That friend didn’t mean to do so, but because the words triggered my past struggle with insecurity, it affected me so much this week. Even though I knew that it was just a joke, I started to believe in the lies in my head and the thoughts distorted my view of God.

During the week, I spent a lot of time pouring my heart out to God and I kept reminding myself of the truth: that God loves me and that my hope and security can only be found in Him. However, despite this, I still felt a huge burden on my heart even while I was asleep. There were times when I would wake up in the wee hours of the morning and feel my heart break again.

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But, by God’s grace, He spoke to me one night while I was writing on my journal. I shared to Him that I think my top love language is “Words”. It fills me whenever people encourage me with words (e.g. in person, through social media or letters, etc.). On the other hand, whenever hurtful words are said to me, my heart cringes.

While I was sharing my feelings and struggle to God, He revealed to me the pride that was lingering in my heart. Why was I so affected by what my friend said? Why do I dwell on what others tell me? Why do I easily get hurt when people intentionally or unintentionally magnify my flaws and weaknesses or compare me to others through their words?

And then, it hit me. My thoughts and feelings were all about me. ME!! Immediately, God humbled me and I confessed the pride in my heart. I also asked God to help me honor Him with my heart and mind. That night, I was reminded that at the end of each day, it doesn’t matter how I compare to the people around me. It doesn’t matter how well I did or didn’t do at work or in my personal activities. It’s not even about how much I’m doing for Christ in ministry. It’s about what Jesus has already done for us. Because of God’s love, Jesus died and rose again to pay for the penalty of our sins, so we could spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

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“Did you hear what I said? Did you read the words I wrote down in red? I was broken once for you and no one loves you like I do.” –‘All the Broken Pieces’ by Matthew West

Nothing should concern me more than my relationship with God. Nothing.

Instead of being affected by what others say to me, God encouraged me to focus on His words and truths found in the Bible. His voice is the only thing we need to hear. Every now and then, I know that I will be tempted to feel insecure. But, I am encouraged by God to keep on remembering who He is in my life. The same God who created the universe and everything in it is the same sovereign and powerful God who can make beautiful things out of ordinary people like you and me. The same God who gave and sacrificed His Son for us is the same loving and gracious God who will continue to love us in spite of our imperfections, struggles, and mistakes.

Whew.

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After going through an emotional roller coaster ride this week, I woke up this morning with a grateful heart because of the hope that I have in Jesus. By His grace, He made today an extra special day for me because my friends from church (the ladies I’m growing with in a discipleship group) surprised me with a pot of flowers and verses to encourage me. They knew that I was struggling this week, so they made a simple but very encouraging effort to help me focus on Jesus again. I loved it so much because it affirmed my decision last night to dwell on God’s truth and His words in the Bible. Aaaaahhhh. You are amazing, God!

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It is my prayer that I may not only seek Him and His words this week, but, that He may also help me say words to the people around me that will edify and encourage them to remember and pursue God as well.

Psalm 19:14 “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

Breathe In, Breathe Out

I went out for a walk after dinner tonight because I needed some fresh air. I brought my camera with me and tried to take photos of the trees nearby and the stars that were twinkling up in the dark blue sky. After numerous attempts to take photos of the stars, I ended up with mediocre ones. In the photos, the stars were blurry and the sky was gray. I felt discouraged because I couldn’t adjust the settings correctly. Moreover, since I didn’t have a tripod, I had a difficult time making sure it was positioned still for 5 to 30 seconds.

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However, despite not having successful photos of the stars tonight, I had a refreshing walk outside. While I was taking photos and experimenting on the settings of the camera, I discovered a few more features that I forgot it had. It had various creative filters that display the ff. effects: soft focus, fish-eye, art bold, watercolor, toy camera, and miniature. Also, it was my first time to notice a simple feature: the camera’s panel illumination button, which lights up the panel’s screen when needed. After three months of using the camera, I only found out about these things tonight. It’s embarrassing, I know. -__- Because I didn’t intentionally spend time learning more about the camera in the last three months, I missed out on maximizing its settings and features. It was as if simply taking photos and adjusting the lens were enough. Aaaahhh!

fish-eye effect
fish-eye effect

Tonight, I was reminded of the hundreds or even thousands of opportunities that I can do with the camera considering its nice features. But, this won’t be possible if I don’t discipline myself in developing my knowledge about the equipment and practice applying the techniques. If the inventor of this particular model saw me using the camera right now, he’d be pretty disappointed. He knows the camera’s potential. He designed and made it the way it is to help photographers experience the best when it comes to documenting moments, sceneries, portraits, and many more. It would be a waste to take it for granted. On my way back home, I was motivated to finally pursue knowing and maximizing the camera this year. So, I am keeping myself accountable to you.

Trying out one of the creative filters.
Trying out one of the creative filters.

I really appreciate the short walk that I had outside because it also helped me see the importance of understanding and living out my purpose by knowing my Creator first. Just like my experience with the camera, I know that God created me the way I am for a special reason. He knows my “features” and limitations and He knows how to maximize them for my good and for His glory. I can go on everyday doing what I usually do or what I know, but if I don’t spend time knowing God and His plans through His Word, I will certainly miss out on experiencing Him and His best for me.

 

A simple daily exercise: Take a walk outside and breathe.

Breathe in God’s Word. Breathe out prayers.

 

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”-Jeremiah 33:3

Photo taken in Baguio last Dec. 27, 2015
Photo taken in Baguio last Dec. 27, 2015

Beautiful Strawberries in Baguio

I saw a bunch of deformed strawberries on our way home from Baguio. Without any hesitation, I bought them even though they were more expensive than the “normal” ones. One of the strawberries resembled a heart, while another one looked like a small teapot. They were amazing!

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Despite their unusual appearance, I thought that they were very beautiful. I was also reminded of the verse in the Bible where it says: “…The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7

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Most of the time, it’s difficult for us to see our true worth especially when we focus on our flaws and mistakes and view ourselves through the eyes of the world. But, one of the things that I am praying for as I welcome another year is to constantly have the strength to resist these kinds of thoughts and to remember that my true worth and beauty are found in Christ alone. He died for me. He rose again. He loves me more than I can comprehend.

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I also want to encourage you with this song. It’s one of the songs I’ve loved since I was in highschool. May it bless your heart today. :)

 

“Well, you can doubt your worth
And search for who you are and where you stand
But God made you in His image
When He formed you in His hands

And He looks at you with mercy
And He sees you through His love
You’re His child and that will always be enough

Oh, I say the measure of a man
Is not how tall you stand
How wealthy or intelligent you are
‘Cause I found out the measure of a man

God knows and understands
For He looks inside to the bottom of your heart
And what’s in the heart defines
The measure of a man”

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