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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Insecurities



Tonight I want to talk about insecurities, strong holds, mental stumbling blocks and their dominant sibling, "fear". We all have these things and they're different for everyone. Their roots stem from past relationships, life experiences and how we see ourselves or our self worth. Their nemesis is personal boundaries and growth. They seem to thrive when we feed them fear, doubt, worry, focusing on the what ifs or should've-could've-would've moments of our past and sometimes on fictitious possibilities that may or may not ever happen.

You know what these issues are in your life so all I can speak about are mine. The concept is still the same. Due to years in an abusive marriage I gained weight and I was verbally taunted about it. I was told that I was unattractive and no other man would ever want me. He would make these awful facial expressions when he would look at me and point out every flaw he found. He never showed me affection and would laugh if I tried. He didnt tell me he loved me and I had to depend on myself to God to block the mental abuse. With God's protection and prayer I managed to keep rebuild my self worth and I feel lovely and attractive. I am aware that I need to be physically fit and healthy and that is something I am working on for myself. For years I never felt unattractive and my spouse was the only man who said these things to me so I had no reason to have self esteem issues. I knew he was just trying to hurt me. Little did I know they were only seeds at this time. They were seeds that had been planted waiting to grow.  

As I got out of the marriage and later found myself in the dating scene I began to experience rejection both on the giving and receiving end. I never took it personally because I recognized the fact that I dont find every man I meet to be attractive therefore not every man will find me attractive. It was a matter of mutual attraction. Well the devil likes to take those seeds that are planted in us and cultivate them in times of weakness. Over the years of being single I would notice the things that happened more than once. Those things become profound. Single instances hold very little merit but when the same thing happens over and over you begin to try and reason or believe it. Men would try to sleep with me or treat me like Im not worth courting. They would tell me that men don't have to be attracted to a woman to sleep with her only to date her and I should just take what I can get. Well Im hard headed and stubborn. There are times when this would get me down but I knew my worth and my standards. I knew these were lies and I refused to give up on what I knew was out there and what I deserved. 

Over time it started to wear me down and it began to hurt inside. I began to wonder if any many would see my worth other than God. He planted a desire in my heart long ago and I held on to my faith that what I am looking for is out there. This was all just a test of my faith. Well men began to play on my faith and my belief in gender roles. They would try to manipulate me into believing they were everything I was looking for. I read people very well and I saw through this. I grew tired and weary of the same old ending everytime. I was tired of dating. 

It was that moment just as I was giving up that a man came along who renewed my faith. He was exactly what I was looking for in a man and praying for all these years. Instantly I started searching for deal breakers.  I wanted to know up front if there was any reason why I shouldn't drop my guard this time. He didnt have children and I did so instantly I assumed it would be an issue with my schedule or availability. Before we met I told myself he is going to see that Im a bigger girl and not be interested. It was in that moment I realized that those seeds were planted in me whether I liked it or not. I chose not to let them consume me but they were there and that bothers me. 

We have been dating for a couple months now and he has been amazing to both my boys and I. He has made me feel so beautiful and most importantly he makes me feel like I am enough. He pushes me to meet my body goals and he encourages me. He doesnt make me feel like his love is conditional. The devil tries really hard to make me believe otherwise. He has whispered "He pushes you to lose weight because he doesnt like you the way that you are".  He has whispered "He doesnt want to be in pictures on social media because he's hiding something". Late at night his phone has gone off and he's whispered "He's talking to other women". These are all lies that the devil will use to make you insecure, worry, doubt, fear and become paranoid. You see if I chose to focus on those lies then I would drive myself crazy and my boyfriend away.  

If you have read any of my other posts you will see that my go to advice is simple. You control how others treat you by what you allow and disallow. I have set clear boundaries in my life and if anyone crosses those boundaries I will walk away no matter how much I love them. The other is that your happiness depends on what you focus on. There are always amazing things and blessings to count and there are always negative things and worry to focus on. Your mental condition depends on which one you choose. I choose and will always choose positivity. It is up to you to identify your standards and self worth. Then you set clear boundaries and know that if anyone crosses those boundaries you'll walk away no matter what. With this strategy why would anyone have insecurity or fear? You cant stop someone from hurting you but you can make sure it never happens again. You can't worry about the possibility of someone breaking your heart or you'll never enjoy the moment you're in. You cant make others pay for the mistakes of people before them. It just isn't fair. 

My point is these are real issues we all face but you can't claim to be a victim of your past. Use those things as life lessons and boundaries to place so they never happen again. My boundaries are simple: I will not maintain an unequal relationship, If I feel like I want it more than the other person or Im the only one putting forth the effort then I will step away. Another boundary is honesty- If I even feel like I have to question your integrity then I will walk away. I will not play FBI or try to prove it. I will just know that theres a reason I dont feel secure and it isnt a healthy feeling. The next boundary is infidelity- If I am in a relationship then I am faithful and I dont hang out with anyone of the opposite sex or discuss my problems with them. I expect the same. Another boundary is communication- I will always communicate what I am feeling or doing so that my partner is secure. If I need alone time then I will tell them theres nothing wrong with us but I need some time to myself that way no one is overanalyzing or thinking something is wrong with the relationship. I ask the same of my partner. Last but not least is verbal abuse. I am a lady and I expect to be treated like one. If you are upset with me then speak to me calmly and lets talk about it. Dont yell or cuss at me or I will walk away.  With these boundaries in place I control how I am treated. 

Regardless of what you are dealing with right now just know that throwing yourself a pity party on the misery cruise will only amplify every negative thing in your life and push people away. Focusing on the positive and ignoring those seeds of fear and doubt will smother them and bring forth new growth. 

Dear Future Husband 8.11.16





Dear future husband,

I apologize that it has been a while since I've last written.  Any time that I have had to myself has been spent resting. These boys certainly keep a momma on her toes! Please know that I still pray for you and claim favor and blessing over you daily. Lately I have found myself day dreaming about our lives together and what that will be like.  I like to imagine waking up early to cook breakfast for you and the boys before you head off to work. I think about the mornings you seem to be in a rush and I hastily prepare your lunch and iron your clothes while you shower. I imagine you kissing me before you rush out of the door knowing you'll be greeted by the same lips when you get home. I think about the conversations we will have at night when we are relaxing on the couch or lying in bed. I ponder the plans we will make and the projects we will work on together.  I think about rubbing your back when you've had a bad day or simply just because. I think about sweet moments where you'll bring flowers home or surprise me with a lunch date at work.

There are so many things that I could dream about but none may go exactly as I have imagined. Our lives are full of possibility and memories just waiting to be made. I want to be the love you want to be in. I want to be the person you retreat to when the day is long and the world is cold. I want to be your sunny day and the one you lean on. I want to do everything in my power to be the woman you fell in love with from day one. I never want to be one of those mediocre couples living mundane lives wishing things were different. Things will always be what you make of them. The scary part is that is takes two people who both want the same thing and are willing to both put forth the effort to keep the marriage cultivated and alive. That is what I want from you someday. I want a husband who places our marriage as his top priority second only to his relationship with God.

I know what I am willing to give to you and I just pray that you are willing to give me the same. I have faith that you will be an amazing husband to me and a father to my boys. I have faith that you will be the one who protects us and leads us in love. I have faith that you will never stop courting me and making me feel special.  I have faith that you will give me the security of knowing that I am the only woman you will ever want or need. I have faith that I will be enough for you and you will be enough for me.

I pray that God will reveal you to me everyday but until that day comes I will keep praying blessings over you. I will continue to prepare my heart and my life to be the wife that you deserve and a mother to my boys. I will study God's word to be a Proverbs 31 woman and I will focus on the direction God is leading me in my life. I have faith that he is leading you and I closer to one another every day.

I love you and I hope you have sweet dreams.

Your future wife,
Ashley