One of my favorite motherhood memories is of me and my then two-year-old son strolling through Wal-mart on a Saturday morning. In a rare moment of scheduling mercy, I’d been given an entire morning in which I wasn’t rushed.
It was one of those great mom days. The kind where you feel like, “Yes. I am doing a great job. I mean, look at my kid. He’s happy. He’s behaving. All is right with my mothering world.” Plus, my boy was super cute. I mean, even the other shoppers let me know so.
As we rolled our cart through the aisles, we took our time going down each and every aisle, talking about the things we saw. My son twisted his little body as much as the seat belt would allow so that we were both facing the same direction. As we walked and talked, each person we passed smiled widely at my son, then at me. And, I mean each and every person. Young girls, older men, young boys, elderly women. He was obviously the most adorable little boy they’d ever seen.
I’ll never forget as we rounded the bakery section, to a smiling woman working behind the counter, my son turned back around to face me with two forefingers shoved knuckle deep into each of his nostrils. Oh yes. It was a sight to behold.
I was suddenly deflated. My momentary bliss of motherhood-gone-right sunk to a new low of parenting-failure-extraordinaire. I rushed him to the bathroom to clean his hands. And honestly, only because I knew the entire store had been, and might still be, watching my oblivious little self.
This scene (minus the nostrils) played out in a multitude of ways in my early years as a mother. I was plagued with insecurity. I couldn’t catch a break. Two weeks of potty training success would be met with an accident on my neighbor’s couch. A month of eating veggies without complaint would culminate with the throwing of chicken nuggets at my mother-in-law. I bounced weekly, ok, hourly—ok, by the second—between thinking I was doing a good job and accepting my children’s fate as psychological experiments later in life.
The enemy knew my weakness, and took every opportunity to use it against me.
It wasn’t until my kids were a little older that I finally had the breathing room—and let’s face it, a moment of quiet thinking—in which I realized how easily I could be swayed by my own insecurity. It was embarrassing to admit that the smallest things could result in my accepting complete failure as a mother. It was then that I began to realize what an effective tool insecurity can be for the enemy. We are easy targets, and he knows it.
In Beth Moore’s book So Long Insecurity, she says, “The enemy of our souls has more to gain by our setbacks than by our succumbing to an initial assault. The former is infinitely more demoralizing. Far more liable to make us feel hopeless and tempt us to quit. We can rationalize—even truthfully—that an initial assault caught us by surprise. Setbacks, on the other hand, just make us feel weak and stupid: I should have conquered this by now.”
Insecurity causes us to live in constant fear of losing something: respect, our looks, our financial security, our friendships, our marriages, etc. The list could go on forever.
So how do we overcome?
We are given free will for more than one reason, sister. Not only to have the opportunity to follow God, but to continue to choose to mature through him. You can choose to dwell on the positive or the negative. We will all go through problems. Things that set us back. The difference is our thought life and how we choose to take those things in.
When we allow these doubts to grow into insecurity, we allow the enemy to rewrite the intended story of our lives. By listening to him, we’ve given him permission to sabotage what God is trying to do in our lives instead.
In order to keep those initial negative thoughts from leading to insecurity, we have to take them captive as soon as they come to us.
2 Corinthians 10:3 says:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
Did you get that? The war we fight is not a physical one, sisters. It is a war that goes against what God says to be true. And we win a war like that by bringing those thoughts into obedience to God. By capturing them before they get too far, and handing them over for him to take captive.
By not doing so, we are giving our thought life over to the obedience of the enemy. Man, does he love it when we do that. He can destroy entire lives with an opportunity like that. It’s as if we allow the enemy to hypnotize us with the negative suggestions and thoughts he plants in our minds.
And though the initial thought in and of itself is not bad, we will all have negative thoughts that flutter through our minds, it’s what we do with those thoughts that determine whose side we are giving power to.
It’s a choice we make as children of God. As a thought enters your mind, do you let it pass through and leave you unscathed, maybe even pushing it from behind to get away from you? That is putting it under the obedience of God. Choosing to believe His truths.
Or, do you mull the thought over. Give it legs to walk around for a while. Encourage it to make its point? That is putting it under the obedience of the enemy. Choosing to believe his truths.
God makes it clear what He wants us to dwell on: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Phil 4:8). And when the fight to do so is too much for us, we can call on the Holy Spirit within us to help us overcome. But, we have to make an effort to gain control of the things that keep us from fulfilling what God is doing in our lives sister.
And it starts with a single thought.