This list of insecurities that keep us from doing God’s work was compiled and revised from a message I gave to a youth group a couple of years ago. We are on week two and number two on the list this week. If you haven’t read about the first insecurity, you can find it here.
This one is number one in my life. I deal with it daily. It’s easier now than it was before and at times it is still unbearable but I just have to press forward. I hope that as you read and find that you relate to one or more on this list, and some days they are unbearable for you, that you continue to push forward with love. I pray you choose to stay on the path with God and seek a positive response. Remember that the outcome of your situation right now does not determine the course of your life. Meaning, if you have to step back from a situation, if you lose in your situation, it does not make you a loser. If the situation does not turn out favorably, it does not define the final course of your life. How you respond to the situation is what creates/shows your character and it is what God will be looking for.
Without further ado, here is the next insecurity:
Coming from a broken home, dysfunctional family, or the death of a loved one
It is hard to come from a broken home, a dysfunctional family, and be alright. It’s hard to lose a loved one and continue each day as though it was normal. You’ve endured so much you’re probably thinking you’re the one who needs help; you couldn’t possibly have enough strength to try to deal with someone else’s issues, or simply take any more on your plate. Some of the things you feel are probably:
a. You want to hide away from the shame of a broken home and dysfunctional family. Other families seem to have it together. Christians are supposed to have it together. You’re embarrassed your background will emerge and speak untruly of who you really are.
Honestly, Christians are probably one of the first ones that are not alright and would say “My life is a mess. I need help.” That is why we go to Christ. We know we are not alright and we know we can be better. We lay out all that is wrong with our lives, we cry out our misery, and we begin to heal as God works in us. (I am constantly seeking God for healing for old wounds. I still have a dysfunctional family, broken and scattered, and I am still seeking God’s peace for all the things I cannot control). It is okay to come from a broken home, a dysfunctional family, have a broken heart/life because you lost someone important to you. God still loves you, welcomes you, and can still use you to do marvelous things.
There is no shame for the environment you grew up in. It is not your fault, but you get to choose how you want to move forward. Will you not use your upbringing as an excuse but rather a challenge to succeed? Will you use your story of rising up out of that situation and coming to Christ to help others?
b. You’re not good enough because you have bad habits.
I had a really bad habit when I was a teen. I had a habit of hitting and beating my siblings when I was unhappy with their responses to my demands. Growing up my siblings and I were beaten for misbehaving or for reasons unknown to us. I became violent because I thought it was normal to act out that way when my demands weren’t met. And yet, I also knew that I couldn’t make it public (that should have already been a red light telling me that if I had to hide it, it’s wrong). I didn’t know any better.
And when I knew better? It was hard to change when my anger comes out, it was hard to control it. I was shameful and I hid that side of me from the public very well. But it pained me because I was fake and I wasn’t the person I wanted to be. That was the hardest part, feeling fake.
It wasn’t until I was saved through Christ that my anger went away. Vanished like I never had it. It was instantaneous. Christ saved my suffering soul from the damages I was causing. It took me a while to tell the people closest to me, my friends, that I was an abusive person and through Christ, I was able to control my anger and my body from reacting in such an abusive manner. It was hard for them to believe I had a side to me like that and I think they still hesitate to believe I was such a mean person. I was such a person. My siblings will attest to it without hesitation.
Yes, my bad habits are shameful, but the person I’ve become is not. I can no longer hide my past in the dark because God is calling me out to testify. I hope you will not hide because you’ve had a shameful habit(s). You are not alone. Your transformation from that behavior is the greatest testimony to bring God glory, don’t hide. You are a changed human being through Christ, you are his disciple now, so live in that truth, know the truth “and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). What does that mean? When you realize that you are no longer the person you used to be and you speak about it, you’ll be liberated from having come out and saying, “yes, I was that, I am no longer that” and that thing you’ve been hiding will no longer have power over you.
I no longer hide who I was. Whenever people hear that I was abusive they usually tell me “you’re so mellow, calm, and peaceful. You don’t seem like that type of person.” I never seem like that type of person. I was mellow. I was calm. I was peaceful. I was also destructive. Until I received Christ into my heart and let God govern me. That was how I got rid of the side that destroys not just everyone around me, but also my soul.
I cannot express to you enough that you must not hide from an unpleasant past, you must not let it stop you. Rather, come out and tell it to all and show everyone how great God has been to you. Look how far you’ve come. You should be proud of your journey so far. And it’s not over yet.
c. Loneliness and wanting to just be left alone
Whether you’ve lost someone special to you or have gone through a rough time at home, the last thing you want to do is be around people and pretend to be ok (or you want to be around people and pretend you’re okay so you can forget). Either way, you feel even more lonely with other people because they don’t understand you, what you’ve gone through or are going through. And you don’t want to talk about it.
I haven’t lost anyone special to me so I can’t speak to that fully. I’ve only witnessed the people I love losing their loved ones. I can, however, tell you that I hardly ever talk to people who come from perfect homes, who speak wonderfully about their supportive family, because they wouldn’t understand what it means to be so beaten, physically, emotionally, and mentally that your life almost becomes meaningless to yourself. They wouldn’t understand until they see it. I don’t go to them when I need support; I tell them when I testify.
When you are lonely, don’t seek to be alone. God did not create us to be alone: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). Find a friend who knows what you’re going through, may even experience something similar, and be a pillar of support for each other through the hard times. When you are down she/he will lift you up and you do the same for when she/he is down. Why do you think therapists have a therapist? Everyone needs a pick-me-up, even Pastors. Do not let this be the one reason that keeps you from God.
I didn’t have friends that went through abuse, at least none that I know of in my hometown. When my mom, siblings, and I left the safe house, we moved to another town and joined a new church. There I found God. There I found peace. There I found a friend that understood what it means to have everything on your shoulder at a young age and have your voice silenced. There I found a friend with whom I could cry on the phone with in my closet in the middle of the night. There, God called me; there, He gave me a supporter. There He builds me up so I can do His work.
If you don’t have anyone as your supporter, I know a lot of churches have support groups. Seek them out, find a person who can be your supporter and make that connection. You don’t have to approach them with your whole story right off the bat. Pray and asked God to reveal to you who that person is. When you see that person, you’ll know.
Make connections because loneliness is an unhealthy choice that will affect your health and will affect your mindset towards the work God has called you to do. He needs you healthy, my friend.
d. You’re not 100 percent sure God is with you. Maybe He’s abandoned you to this situation.
God has not abandoned you. God gives people choices and the choices people chose are not the best. The brokenness of your house was from bad decisions and you received the rough end of it. God has not abandoned you because of it. He’s waiting for the time when you are ready and He can heal you and use your brokenness for His glory. He will lift you up and out of your broken home.
From the very beginning, in Genesis, God has promised: “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (Genesis 28:15). He has promised to always be close by, and this promise never disappeared because God stated it over and over throughout the Bible:
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
– Isaiah 41:10
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
– Deuteronomy 31:6
And then the ultimate sacrifice of Christ. When no one knew God, He sent His only beloved son to die for our sins so that we may know Him again. What is that but an everlasting promise to be with us forever? John 3:17 states it best: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
He never abandoned you nor will He ever, that is why He fought so hard to bring you to Him. He will continue to be next to you even when you do not feel Him.
I never really thought God abandoned me because I didn’t know Him when I was struggling with the abuse at home. I found Him in my time of need and He’s been an anchor in all the trials of my life thus far. I do have moments when I asked “why, God, why?!” when the pain in my heart becomes unbearable. It is through this pain that I evaluate the situations I am in with intent and focus and I gain insight into what God reveals. It is also when He gives me a heart to love others because now I know the pain.
e. How can you teach about God when you have not experienced the environment God promotes?
All you know is pain, so how can you possibly do God’s work of promoting positivity, love, growth, and healing? Because, my dear friend, God has healed you, love you, and through it, you have grown to become a person not lacking anything. Yes, the environment you grew up in was not the best, but you are no longer there. Now, you speak of the new environment God brought you into. You speak of what He has done for you, your heart and soul, and peace of mind. Mmmm, God is good.
f. Unaccepted (this one goes right back to the first insecurity on the list (read it here if you haven’t already)).
Coming from a broken home, a dysfunctional family, we oftentimes feel like we don’t belong and are unaccepted by people that should care for us the most, but they don’t. If the people that should care for us the most, don’t, how will others even care for or accept us? My dear friend, broken people break other people (remember my life story earlier about how I was beaten and in turn beat my siblings?). Your family may not know how to love you the way you deserve, but God certainly does love you and He loves you in the most beautiful way. Heal through Him, and with His love, you can show your family how to love. You are sincerely accepted.
(Read more about this section of feeling unaccepted here, if you haven’t already).
I am often downcast when I talk about the abusive environment I grew up in. It breaks my heart, I feel helpless, unloved, abandoned, and totally alone. My heart aches and I’m left with a throbbing throat, no words to express the misery I feel. I couldn’t even begin to voice the help I need. It is when I turned to God that, without words, He understood me and comforted me, embraced me in my ugliness. It is then that I truly knew I didn’t need anything else. It didn’t matter whether I came from a broken home or a loving home, I can do God’s work. He has a purpose for me. He reminds me that I am just what he needs. I just have to gather my strength and courage to do it.
Friends, I hope that you won’t let a negative history, or event, impact your future. Instead, take control of what you could do for God’s kingdom. Take that control back with God and show the world your light.
I love hearing about the impact God has been in your life. If you have a testimony you would like to share, I am all ears. If you are going through a rough time, I am here to pray with you, just let me know.
Until next week, stay strong in the work you do for God’s glory. Others may not notice it, but you’re making a huge impact on their lives. See you next week.
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