So many people these days are insecure, riddled with self-doubt, and unable to positively identify themselves by decisive means. They are lost, meandering through their lives looking for validation and for acceptance! It’s really sad to watch seemingly successful, established, attractive people flailing about looking for the approval or esteem from outside that should be naturally flourishing from within!
You probably have seen these people around you every day. They may have jobs, careers, families, friends, and present themselves as well-adjusted and successful at reaching their goals in life. But, in fact, they are struggling with insecurity. This insecurity stifles their creativity, befuddles their pursuit of goals, and hinders the real progress they could make in relationships as well as personal development.
Insecurity is visible! It shows up as narcissism, jealousy, anger, envy, intolerance, excessive criticism, and in those who are always easily offended by others. Insecurity is when we don’t quite believe we’re worthy, or that we’re attractive, talented, capable, our opinions or beliefs are valid, or that we’re loveable. It is any sense of our lacking when we’re estimating the value of others in comparison! Are we as popular, pretty, slender, wealthy, successful, talented, smart, (or whatever measurement we’re using to compare and contrast our life with the lives of those around us)?!
We’re meant to get our value and worth from the knowledge and assurance that we’re beloved children of God! He’s our Creator, so He made us as we are with inherent human value and worth to achieve the purposes He has designed just for us! But many of us don’t believe in God’s dominion over our lives, and so we don’t know that our value is derived from knowing who we are through Him! We instead get our value from other places then, from other people, from the things we’ve collected and boasted of routinely, from the position we hold, from the level of our personal or professional achievements, from how attractive others think we are, from our ability to do certain things, or to hold particular positions. Without having that relationship with God, as Father, we are always going to live our life comparing and contrasting, competing and defeating, dwelling and then repelling all the subjectivity of flawed and irrational human thinking, our own and that of others! We spend a lot of energy and time dealing with insecurity as a result, which takes us from our life pursuits, the purposes God has in mind for us. And when we’re insecure, we spend a lot of time finding fault with others in an effort to raise our own self-perception!
When we know that we matter, we’re loved, we’re loveable, and that we were created as we were meant to be by the Lord, we don’t need to feel insecure about our appearance, our thoughts, our beliefs, our talents, our bodies, or our level of achievement in any area of living! We can go into anything certain that He goes with us, He has prepared us or will for whatever we face, and that we needn’t doubt our ability or any other facet of our being. He leads us, He goes with us, He is our strength, and He is our guide. Now, it’s true that those who don’t believe won’t grasp this difference! That is obvious. But they also don’t see the nature of issues with insecurity rising in this nation as we push God further from our personal lives! Such rampant insecurity is a clear indication of lives lived without the sense of God’s value known for certainty within them! Even believers struggle at times with thoughts that can erode our confidence and our assurances! When you know you matter as you are though, then someone else’s wealth, acclaim, position, race, sexual identity, possessions, and beliefs won’t seem threatening at all! And our own struggles to achieve the success we think we should attain won’t become such an overwhelming weight upon our souls! Knowing God is our designer sets us free from the embattled sense of entitlement, jealousy, envy, narcissism, greed, self-doubt, self-obsession, constant self-promotion, and any other eroding measure! Struggling is part of life, but to wrangle with insecurity, lacking confidence in ourselves as God’s invaluable creation, is to struggle needlessly even more so!
Sometimes as kids, we got caught up in the wrong things or got headed in directions which our parents knew were not good for us. We didn’t know the peril we faced, or we just risked it anyway to have our fun or gain our rewards. But our parents realized or feared that we would suffer in the end if we continued on that course. Perhaps we had already gone a significant amount of time in that misdirection before they intervened or before they were aware of how dangerous our future would be if we continued. But like all parents who accept their responsibility as guardians and caretakers, they stepped in when they spotted trouble ahead for their children. It is their duty as parents to watch over and protect those who they believe are vulnerable, in need of more maturity, unable to yet make the right choices, or are not yet fully aware of many of life’s realities. Surely we don’t always agree that we need their intervention in our lives, after all, don’t we all like to think we know best for ourselves what is best for us? But even as we mature into adulthood, our parents or others who are more aware of what is happening, often come to our rescue by way of an intervention if and when we falter in our choices. It is the role of family, community, and the inherent support structure of human beings. We are all closely intertwined and connected because sometimes our actions affect others whether we think it, know it or believe it!
When many of us unite in dangerous behavior because we make bad choices collectively, whether purposefully or through our own ignorance of the inherent dangers to ourselves or others, we put others at risk too. So often, what we’ve done, even for a significant time, might now require a sudden or emergency intervention. And so it is in our nation right now. For too long, those who either don’t know the best direction for America or are making flawed choices on purpose, have been enacting policies which are taking us all down a harmful course. Through their elected roles as the fiduciary for the people, they have spent us into significant risk and a dangerous debt in the trillions of dollars, among other missteps. And so, someone has to step in and intervene. Someone or some “body” has to be more disciplined about the choices America has been making through our elected officials. We are dangerously close to a tipping point of no return! Unfortunately, many haven’t yet caught on, but fortunately, many have! Our federal government is broken as a system right now. It has become far too corrupt and those serving the people – often for decades at a time – have become a part of the corruption, feeding and self-prospering off the people rather than making decisions which serve to prosper all the nation. So the part of this interwoven, reliant community we call America, which is on heightened alert to the dangers ahead on this continued course, now are responding to the group of citizens which aren’t yet awake to the perils, are willing participants, or are complacent about the possible dangers we might all collectively face if we don’t right ourselves from this course we are now on. It’s a corrective response we now must make and take for the sake of our beloved America, much like a parent intervening on their child’s behalf, rather than continuing with the status quo! We cannot continue imperiled by such corruption and such abuse of power at so many levels of government, even if all of us have yet to understand that as our condition.
With such freedom as this country espouses, there is great personal responsibility required to maintain it! We must all do our part to see that we enjoy prosperity, but that we also understand that along with it, there is a need for self-discipline, self-control, and a self-impetus to create our share of the prosperity. Now not everyone will believe that others know better at this juncture. But this righting of America’s course is an imperative many are willing to endure for the betterment of all and for our future generations, just like the 3% of the colonial America population who stood up to face the oppressive British imperialism which sought to prevent our becoming a free nation. We should all willingly stand vigil over our freed nation to ensure that it remains exactly that! I believe we’re about to have an intervention for our own good in November 2016! And I pray that God will continue to bless this nation by enabling the willing among us to make America one great nation again, and to make America America again!
Our nation was built on inherent rights which serve as the backbone of human freedom, but those become meaningless when citizens no longer hold themselves to the standards of behavior necessary to maintain such freedom! It is indisputable, people simply cannot do whatever they want without regard for the consequences. There is freedom, as we know it from the day we are born, but with maturity, we have to learn to be lawful and civil to dwell with one another sans chaos. Self-discipline and self-control are essential counter-balancing measures for people to live lives which shun the additional restraints other men seek to place upon them. Someone or some other entity (like a government or a law-enforcing body) always step in to take up the slack for our lack of self-control and self-discipline. And every time that is necessary, a bit of our freedom is eroded!
Thanks to the eroding behaviors of the lawless, a free society like ours can no longer maintain the same state of freedom which feels comfortable for the entirety. No man is able to decide for another how he should live his life, but that is exactly what happens in a society in which morality and civility decline! With fewer of us caring to self-regulate our behaviors and accepting personal responsibility for those errant choices we make, external control by some other entity becomes a dire consequence we all must then endure. We all must endure more laws, more regulations, more restrictions and more controls upon our freedom and choices, even though the chaos still grows more noticeable from the burgeoning lawless portion of our society. What is obvious is that the lawless already not obeying laws or self-controlling their behaviors will not respond to even more controls and laws!
The answer to our societal problems is always found within each individual, making them responsible for their own actions and behaviors is essential. No one else has the right to say for another how their life is to be lived, unless and until that person has ceded their own self-control and self-discipline by a choice or a series of choices. Otherwise, what we have, as a result, is a national “prison” of laws, restrictions, regulations, and rules which bind the law-abiding right along with the lawless. That is why “we” should stop asking for more laws and controls to be placed upon society as a whole from a faceless, growing government of gigantic bureaucratic agencies unable to keep themselves in check. “We” should start calling for enforcement of the laws already on the books and accountability for those who are truly at fault when laws are broken. If you consistently enforce the value and necessity of morality, ethics, civility, and insist upon lawfulness by insisting that people are held accountable and pay their debt or recompense to society, a society stands strong against the chaos of freedom left unchecked and unbalanced! And this standard must be set from the top down at a universal Federal level all the way down to our communities and households! Each and every single one of us must be a responsible participant and each one of us must be accountable for our choices. Only those who are unable to self-regulate and self-discipline, such as children prior to maturity, are excusable for not exercising self-control. Such freedom as is inherent in us is hard to restore once bound and restricted! And if we lose our freedom here, God help us and the world!
Waiting is often the hardest thing to do! As Tom Petty has warbled in the song, The Waiting: “The waiting is the hardest part . . Every day you see one more card . . You take it on faith, you take it to the heart . . The waiting is the hardest part . . “. We’re usually waiting for promises to be kept, waiting for dreams to come to fruition, waiting for word, waiting for action, waiting for life to reach a desirable state so that we might act, or waiting to hear some news! All the ways we wait remind us to be patient, enduring and persistent. We may have no choice but to wait, we may realize we have plenty of ways to take baby steps in the direction towards that which we await. We may just have to call upon our inner stores of strength and summon every ounce of faith and patience we have, but we shall wait over and over! And for those things worthy of waiting, the wait must prove worthy in return!
Expect what you may, endeavor what you might, make patient your rest when that is what you must, but in all regards know that the waiting itself brings us the gift of strength and stamina by just occurring! We build our inner selves in great part working towards and waiting for things, events, goals, and developments. We mature a lot by waiting while we keep on going! Know that whatever you faithfully await in life today, it comes only by way of your patient resolve and persistent fortitude, enduring until you no longer need wait. And then the cycle repeats, in some new way, in regards to some other matter, but such is life! In fact, often the cycle of waiting for things overlaps other matters in which we are doing the same thing – waiting some outcome, development or desired conclusion.
Just because of how often and how much we wait in life, learning to self-discipline and self-control our emotions, reactions, and perceived endurance might come in handy! Develop fully the fruit of your Spirit that is patience, for it gives you the sustenance you need when you are waiting!
When you are walking stridently down a particular path, often there are obstacles and barriers, detours and distractions, impatient people and those who try to convince you that your chosen route is erroneous. But if you are on that path purposefully, by choice, and the path itself brings you immeasurable rewards, then why take another course?
It is often the case that what is put before us in our footsteps is meant to test our resolve, to try our patience or to see how easily or readily we’ll give in to some manner of temptation; and in that temptation, we’re promised ease, comfort, happiness, pleasure, and all manner of things we surely won’t find on our chosen way. Temptation is often the lure which takes us from our desired goal. It lures us by promising us a momentary satisfaction, or a pleasure we might be missing. It steals our self-control and takes from us our discipline to remain committed to things, to people, to efforts and to the way we’ve chosen. But temptation is a trick played on a tired, restless, uncertain, tested mind and heart. It often doesn’t bring us anything lasting; and can actually take from us more that would be satisfying, such as the sense of accomplishment after a long, hard trial or effort! How many of us succumb to temptation in a moment of weakness, when we don’t have the strength of resolve to stand in discipline and self-control against it? But we can learn to overcome all the ways in which we might be drawn from a path which promises us success, rewards and hope. We can learn how to be so self-controlled, that no matter who might be tempting us, trying our patience or convincing us that we’re wrong, all will be proven unconvincing against the willful power and determination of our steadfast spirit and disciplined mind!
We are truly not as weak as we might seem. We just need to stand strong a few times against the very things which serve to weaken us to prove that point and to develop those endurance muscles! If you stand against the forces which threaten to weaken your resolve, to break your spirit or to defeat you in your journey towards reaching goals, then you will develop stronger backbone and more enduring discipline! It’s inevitable! Stay the course if what is promised at the finish line means enough to you. And it should when you’ve set your entire life in step with its accomplishment and achievement. Why do we give up when we have already come so far? Why do we quit when others come along with their failed histories, promising us they know better than we what is good for us? Why do we let anything keep us from the rewards we know wait for hard work, effort and endurance? Even if we spend an entire lifetime and still don’t realize a goal, isn’t there much to be gained in the effort which we wouldn’t know within us were we to quit? All too often we let the voices outside of us tell us where we are in our journeys, why we’ve sidestepped in our successes and how we might fix it all according to their limited awareness of our lives! But in actuality, we are most appraised and aware of why we are on that particular road, headed in that certain way, towards those goals waiting to be reached.
Stay the course, learn to adapt to handle the distractions, the interference and the alterations necessary; but don’t give way to temptation or to taking a road promised as easier. Only you can be anointed to live your life and to do what you are called to do by your abilities, talents and experiences. Don’t let others talk you out of the life you’re meant to live just because they seem to think your choices and your direction seem flawed. Remember that their view and vantage point is limited, especially when it comes to the perspective they have of your life so far and the vision of what might lie ahead of you on the pathway you’ve taken! Believe that you are anointed, confident and assured; ask for advice if you need it occasionally, but rely upon the muscles you’re developing from within just by living and venturing onward!
A quick mind is not always a blessing, in that the mouth has often spoken before the soul has had time to gauge the temperature of the message. It’s not just for the sake of others that we should learn to use constraint in our thoughts, words and deeds. We have a lot to gain from self-control and discipline, especially when it comes to the emotional reactions we have or might have while our buttons are being pushed! Often times, we react before we have had time to assess the value, venom or vile in our own words! And our words can be even more harmful within us than they are powerful or life-altering to others.
It’s not entirely unacceptable or ill-advised to criticize, to reproach or to correct others in their behaviors and speech; but when we do, we expose ourselves to all of that in return, all while exposing at heart our motive in doing so. Unless we are doing so to help the other person, to rectify a misjudgment or to correct the circumstances within a particular situation, we’re possibly lashing out just to be right. And that is often not as advisable a seat from which to launch an attack on someone! We all have our right to opinion, belief and freedom of expression. So when another shares an opinion in which we have a momentary negative reaction, perhaps it provokes in us some anger, then we owe it to all concerned to examine why we feel as we do. Perhaps we’ve jumped to our reaction. Maybe we’re not open to a new point of view. And just maybe it is something we know for a fact is wrong or ill-advised. The best response is always a thoughtful one! If we know there is a price within us for our words, thoughts, deeds and the way we behave towards others, then we will temper and measure from within first. We should share with others our opinions, beliefs and thoughts. We should act in accordance with those. But we shouldn’t assume that our way is the only way, that we are always right or that it is up to us to change others to suit us!
Too many people nowadays react and respond without thinking through the cost of such a step to those involved and more importantly even, to themselves. We must learn to mature in our ability to control our emotions, such that when we feel the need to react, we are first able to control and discipline ourselves enough to examine our own reaction prior to responding. Maturity is not about having the need to be right all the time or the requirement to vindicate one’s own beliefs, thoughts, words or actions. Maturity requires a more disciplined and controlled approach to life; it requires going beyond the seconds involved in a reaction and response, to consider what might happen next. Maturity looks ahead at the cost of reactions and responses, it weighs the virtue or detriment to every thought, word and deed. It measures the soul’s weight before and after an emotion, considering the potential for baggage which comes from reacting in error! Maturity teaches us the invaluable lesson of responsibility, consequence and lightening our soul’s load. Maturity within gives us confidence and supports our self-esteem, so that we don’t have to prove our ego’s cries for vindication, rightness or acclaim! And when we learn those lessons, we are more civil in society; we aren’t as concerned with our ego’s own need to be right, we’re less fragile and insecure, we’ve less need to put others down for the sake of building ourselves up. We truly are more tolerant and accepting, no matter the opinions, words, beliefs, thoughts and deeds of others! Inner peace is the badge of honor we get to possess when we master a level of maturity which self-controls and self-disciplines emotions, reactions, and responses.
When I was little, my mother told me that it was much more important to be myself than to seek the acceptance or permission of others, altering my behavior and beliefs accordingly. She assured me that I would always be alright and loved as long as I first maintained my own integrity by being genuine, self-accepting and self-loving. And so it is with life, (another “Mom” point I have had to give her), we are supposed to develop who we are from within; assessing our thoughts, words and actions in accordance with what we know, learn and process.
We’re meant to determine for ourselves what it is that we believe and live within the confines of those beliefs. We’re supposed to discover our own talents and abilities based on what it is we can do, regardless what others have as gifts and natural talents. We’re meant to learn and to develop our minds, our bodies and our spirits as we’re able to, as we’re all unique and individual. We aren’t meant to listen to the prevailing dialogue, or be swayed by the winds of the times as though what we know or believe has no weight. We are not all supposed to think alike, dress alike, walk alike or talk alike! We might change our beliefs and adapt our skills according to our experiences and by what we’ve learned over time. We might even have significant shifts in what we hold to be true based on just growing up or having lived through certain life-changing moments. But we’re to be true to ourselves, regardless the influences of others or the pressure they can exert. If we aren’t true to ourselves, not only will others find us unappealing, but we won’t even have the comfort of liking ourselves!
So the surest way to be in life is 100% okay with who we are as people. If we act in ways that we cannot accept or which compromise our integrity, we’ll note within a sense of unbalance or ill-rhythm. It is inevitable, as my mother promised . . we must first develop the core of who and what we are from within; building a solid foundation on which to create our lives. Then we are to live our life in the manner in which we’ve set our beliefs, established our boundaries and determined our abilities. Let no one dictate to you their moral sense or lack thereof. Let no other person make you feel bad for having a varied set of beliefs or for making mistakes. Accept the responsibility for choosing to live in accordance with your own values, beliefs and abilities; as well as the consequences for faulty choices in the process. Let no one tell you how to live your life! It is yours to live, even with mistakes, chances and mishaps. Own it all and live it with a determined will to be faithful to who and what you are!
Many these days are involved in censoring and even condemning others for values, beliefs and lifestyles which differ from their own; yet in their censorship or condemnation, they still cannot take on the weight of the responsibility for success, failures or consequences outside of their own. Learning to live with confidence and self-assurance, as well as self-acceptance, enables us to better mind our own business; as our security with our own life choices makes us better able to give others the same level of respect in theirs!
The daily challenge is to not lose yourself in the process of living your life. We are facing trying times, hardened hearts and even actions, deliberate and accidental, in which we might be pushed to our supposed limits. People can try our patience, tempt us into their path and/or test our resolve; but we mustn’t lose our center of beliefs, values, character and the heart of love which keeps us grounded through our thoughts, words, actions and reactions. The worse thing we can do is to become so full of the world that we are no longer filled with ourselves!
We’re made in our unique form, with our individual beliefs, values and character formed over a lifetime of living in this world. So when we intersect with others, we must always do our best to maintain our integrity. Losing ourselves for the sake of the world makes us first weaken the connection we have with ourselves! Living authentically means that we establish first a foundation on which we build our lives, which we endeavor to preserve for all time for our own preservation. We might amend who we are as we go, we might alter our beliefs; but we always establish for ourselves a parameter and foundation first built on values, self-worth and our character traits, by which we then both view the rest of the world and interact with it.
Don’t let others in their random ignorance or in their purposeful endeavors, take from you your inherent value by eroding your integrity in that process. Determine what it is that you believe, what it is you value and what your character will be. Stand strong in that foundation of discipline and self-control; and be determined to not let the world erode what you are within! When we do that, our self-worth, love and integrity help to keep us from being damaged by the world.
Sometimes we’re so close to things, we can almost reach out and touch them, taste them, experience the glorious rewards of our efforts! But we’re still not quite there yet. We know that our proximity to achievement and accomplishment, as well as all the time we’ve spent, calls out to us like a siren’s call; but in our eagerness for success and our anticipation to be finished, we shouldn’t give up on our efforts or relax in our pursuits just yet. The finish line awaits! Who wants to run almost the entire race but fail to cross the finish line?
The reason that success is so rewarding is the uplift and positivity that it brings to our souls. It feels good to accomplish and to achieve, to reach our goals and to finish our pursuits. And it feels even better to have that success after putting in more time and more effort, before we just give up or throw in the towel part way there. We gain a lot more when we hold ourselves to the test at hand with patience and fortitude, by our own will, for our own sake through discipline! We gain a far greater measure of success for the greater expenditure of effort, time and perseverance with which we invest ourselves into our own goals and dreams. But even more so, we gain an intangible boost to our integrity for having kept the promises we make to ourselves! And that is the reward which does the most in feeding our sense of self and our confidence in self!
Reaching for the stars may seem more difficult and costly than reaching for less. Holding ourselves to account for the state of our lives gives us pause, when we realize that by our own fear, apathy, or lack of commitment, we accepted much less in life than what we were capable of achieving and accomplishing. If you are on your way towards something, having set a goal based on a desire or dream, don’t quit when those sirens call out to you! Stay the course and see your dreams through! Nothing worth having is going to be easy, or we wouldn’t then give it such infinite value in our lives! Ease isn’t a good enough reason to not reach higher, take extra steps or to go the distance. And your integrity should remind you that discipline, effort and time invested in yourself is a prize worth holding onto regardless!