Thursday, May 03, 2007

I feel compelled to share...

God reminded me of a 'scene' from my life when I was 16, living in Grand Rapids, Michigan. At the time I did not learn the lesson. It wasn't until years later, in my later years of college and from then on, that I truly started walking in what God showed me that day...

You see, I used to be extremely insecure. It was mainly about my weight and body image, and anything that had to do with speaking in public. I thought I looked like the whale above though I was a pretty active person playing basketball in high school and swimming competitively for 12 years. I constantly compared myself to other people, worried about how I looked and was pretty much on some sort of diet or eating obsession from 5th grade until I was 20. I seriously thought people were staring at me in public. I even had an intense fear/insecurity of speaking in public which God delivered me from my freshman year in college. So, anyway, here's the 'scene'...

I was a sophomore in high school. I had to go to the mall to get something, what, I have no recollection. I went with my mom but the plan was to split up and meet after we were done with our own errands. She headed off and I started walking toward the store, needing to cross through the center of the mall where there were planters and many people sitting, waiting, and others on their way to their destinations. All of a sudden, I was paralyzed with such deep insecurity that I thought everyone was staring at me. I could not move and I never did run whatever errand it was I had set out to accomplish. I sat down and waited for my mom, trying to look like I meant to sit down. I remember not being able to breathe very well and wanting to cry but then everyone really would have been staring at me. I don't think I ever told my mom...

It wasn't until later that God showed me how my insecurity and low self-esteem was actually chronic self-absorption. I was totally selfish and self-centered. I was thinking so much about not wanting others to think about me, that I was spending all of my time thinking about ME. I was so concerned about what others thought, that I hadn't left room in my life to know what God thought about me. I actually cared more about others opinions of me or the opinions of the world in general, that my worth was measured by the created and not the Creator. No one was staring at me. No one cared what I looked like...

Each time I had to step out of my comfort zone and walk into a normally insecure situation, I gained more and more confidence in the freedom of knowing who I was in Christ. My speech class my freshman year was pivotal in this. I used to dread speaking in front of anyone. My knees used to knock and my lips would start quivering awkwardly. That day my speech was being video-taped and 30 seconds after I began, I stopped, froze and started crying. I asked the prof if I could start over. She politely said no, that I was doing great, and to proceed. I couldn't believe it! I could not believe she wouldn't let me start over! A friend was sitting in the front row and the look on her face shouted, 'Oh, you poor thing! I feel so sorry for you!' So, I did the speech, and as I began to speak, I gained more confidence. Later that week when I received an 'A', I could not believe my eyes!

Anyway, this is getting exceptionally long, but God brought it to my heart the other day. Perhaps it was to encourage my spirit from where I once was to where I live freely today. My name, 'Adrienne', means 'Confident, Bold, Rich'. A girl asked my friend the other day if I was always so bold in my walk with God. My friend answered that I definitely am more so than I was before Noah came into my life, and she's only known me for 4 years. She asked if I ever felt funny being so bold about talking to people. I'll tell you all, the more I'm vulnerable and real, the more I do what the Holy Spirit tells me to do (that's that deep gut feeling you get sometimes), it's not that it becomes 'easier' necessarily, it's that it feels right. A sense of peace, even if it's weird...

Honestly, what do I have to lose? People may be looking at me, but it's not about me...that's the freedom. I hope this encourages some of you or someone you know to break out of your shells of insecurity and walk in freedom. I pray that you will also walk with confidence in the name God has given you, which is 'child, beautiful, and beloved.'

19 comments:

  1. Jenny Jeon10:33 PM

    Hi this is a student from CCS . I would like it if you come to my blog.. I would love it if Noah's mom or the GRAVES FAMILY would come to my blog . Thanks!

    Love,
    Jenny Jeon 4th grade CCS

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  2. Jenny Jeon10:34 PM

    Oh my blog is www.sevenleavesclover77.blogspot.com

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  3. Amen!

    God has been revealing a lot of that to me, recently, as well. That I tend to be more concerned with what others think than what the God of the Universe thinks! And even more, I actually KNOW what He thinks of me. The others....its all in my imagination anyway.

    Thanks once again for your honesty and insight.

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  4. Oh that we might all become all HE see's in each and every one of us.

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  5. Amen sister, I too struggle with that sometimes but I am super aware of it now. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Anonymous7:53 AM

    thanks for sharing that. I have wounds and things I remember from teenage years, but to know that FREEDOM in God's love is unbelievable. You're HIS FAVORITE. I'm HIS favorite. He is an awesome, awesome, awesome GOD.

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  7. Wow, what a great lesson to learn! This really helped me today... and I really appreciate it. :) Thank you!

    On a side note: It's so neat that you lived in Grand Rapids before... I live in Holland, MI (only about 30 miles from there) but I have family in Colorado (in Denver, Colorado Springs and Buena Vista) that I visit as often as possible. I would move out there in a heartbeat if I could... but I have a lot of close family and friends here. :) But it is beautiful here too. I love Lake Michigan!

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  8. Thanks for sharing that. I have been realizing that more and more as I get older and have moved away to a place where we knew no one, God has shown me more and more how self centered I am. I also use it to my benefit, I have been jogging lately and I tell myself that the cars passing are watching and that is the reason I can't stop. Now, as I type that it sounds silly and I should be thinking that God is watching and I want to do my best for him and that is why I can't stop.

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  9. Anonymous12:14 PM

    WOW! Adrienne, I never did know that you had that moment back in high school. You never, once, came across as insecure...always easily meeting new friends and seeming to fit in, no matter what the circumstances. Everywhere we traveled, it seemed as if people knew you! I even remember living in AZ and vacationing in Northern Michigan, going to the cherry festival and having someone yell, "Hey, Adrienne!" from the top of a ferris wheel! The enemy of your soul was really lying to you back then. Thank God that He uncovered the lie to you, and you now walk in God's truth about who you really are. I love that you are you. Mom

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  10. Anonymous6:41 PM

    Adrienne,
    I went to high school with you in Caledonia and I can't believe you ever felt that way. I was always drawn to you because of how pretty you were and funny. You always had a smile on your face and it seemed to reflect the inside too. It is funny how we all have our insecurities. I too. It is wonderful that God has truly spoken to you. I have felt it also in my life. Our God is an AWESOME God!!

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  11. Anonymous7:41 PM

    Adrienne,
    I have been reading your blog for a few months now. Your testimony of faith throughout your trial with losing Noah has touched my heart, and caused me to appreciate every moment I have with my little ones. However, today, you really touched where I am -insecure with myself. I am focusing more on myself and what other people think rather than what God thinks. Thank you so much for pointing this out to me through sharing your story. It has truly encouraged and touched me.
    Aimee

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  12. erika7:53 PM

    Thanks for sharing that Adrienne. You always seem like the picture of confidence. . .and certainly boldness (for the brief time I've "known" you). How cool to know what God has brought you through.

    I've been convicted lately of just being generally self-conscious. Not in a shy kind of way. . .but why, when I'm sitting in church or hanging out somewhere, do I spend ANY time thinking about what my hair looks like or if my tummy is pooching out. It's exactly what you said: self absorption. I need to be thinking about how I can minister to other people. There's only one way: "Less of me, more of Him."

    . . .Thought provoking, as always. :)

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  13. I think this insight of yours has provoked a lot of self-reflection and not in the "how's my hair and make-up" kind of way. I read your blog faithfully and have been reluctant to comment but I do want to say that I think it is brave of you to put your life (joy and pain) out there for everyone. If that is not letting go of selfishness and insecurity, I don't know what is!! Also, I struggle with introducing my three little ones to Jesus and I appreciate the interactions you share between you and your daughter.

    Lastly, I love how supportive and true the people are who comment on your site. They too are an inspiration!

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  14. Anonymous9:00 AM

    Adrienne,
    I love how God uses you and speaks through you!! My daddy, a retired Baptist Preacher in Michigan, preached a sermon once about what happens when we get our eyes on ourselves and off God. We recently studied this again in our Breaking Free study.

    In Isaiah 6, (I love the whole chapter) but, in verse 1, it talks about the year that King Uzziah died, then Isaiah saw the Lord. When our eyes are on ourselves and our self image, WE are on the throne and others around us can't see God's Glory through us. Not that it gives us an excuse to disregard taking care of ourselves--that, we do need to do! BUT...If you read down the other verses in the chapter, as you always say, your mission is to tell, and to not stop telling...vs 8 says "Here am I, send me..." How can that happen if we have our eyes on us and not on Him?? I know, this is so much easier said than done, but I am so thankful that we have a God that doesn't respond to us how we respond to others. I'm thankful that we have a God that IS beyond our comprehension because if I understand Him on the level I do understand and measure Him against the yardstick of man....I'd have given up a long time ago!! Praise God He never gives up, He loves us in spite of our "warts" and other shotcomings and His desire is to draw close to us so we can be used of Him to bring honor and glory to His Kingdom--not our own agendas!!

    You're amazing Adrienne...He is SO using you--thanks for sharing this with us...it's always a great reminder to know that those we look up to, are also human, have feelings, struggles and are overcomers thanks to our God that is the Ultimate Overcomer!!
    Kristi--CO

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  15. Anonymous6:38 AM

    Mirim Yoon

    Dear Noah's family,
    I love you! Praise Jesus. When it's going to be my birthday, I'm going to find a good verse and type it on what I am going to write.Soon I am going to have a blog and write scriptures. I loved Noah and never will forget him. He and Evanas (I forgot how to spell her name) but they could be friends. They would look like friends,good friends.I still wish to see Noah and Em,Noah's father and mother. I miss you even though I never got to see you. But please just this once can you put Noah's picture in the blog,please.



    I love you,
    Mirim Yoon/4th grade/CCS/Miss Morton's student.

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  16. I find it amazing at times, what God does with us when He gets a 'grip on our thoughts' and tells us the TRUTH about us! Thanks for sharing this with so many who need to hear it. I've written some similar sentiments on my blog. By the way, if you stop by my NItty.Gritty., please follow the link and read the story of the Coble family. I can't imagine...and I know in my own grief, sometimes reading the hardships of others helped to put mine into perspective, it allowed me to share my pain...and to see that I wasn't all alone in my grief. I know you will pray for this couple. They are going to need people to bear their burden with them...even those of us whom they don't know. I am praying that they will somehow find peace in this "storm", that they will cling to one another and run to Christ as the Only One who can give them comfort, hope and security that there is Joy to be found in their life again.
    So glad you had a great 'memorable trip' to Florida. I think it's awesome that Noah is still the 'reason' behind so much of your happiness and blessing in this life. He was and always will be a gift in your life. A perfect little gift!

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  17. It wasn't until later that God showed me how my insecurity and low self-esteem was actually chronic self-absorption. I was totally selfish and self-centered. I was thinking so much about not wanting others to think about me, that I was spending all of my time thinking about ME. I was so concerned about what others thought, that I hadn't left room in my life to know what God thought about me. I actually cared more about others opinions of me or the opinions of the world in general, that my worth was measured by the created and not the Creator. No one was staring at me. No one cared what I looked like...


    Wow, this was SO DARN GOOD! Thank you for posting it and may God deliver me from this the way He has you!!

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  18. BTW, I wanted to share this little exerpt from a book hubby and I are reading together. It reminded me so much of what you have shared regarding letting Noah go. It was something the man's daughter said after she "let go" of a boy that her father nixed.

    "I can't believe how you hold onto something that seems so important and you think you will die if you lose it. Then when you finally surrender, and let it go there is such joy. You can't understand why you held on so tightly. I feel so free!"

    I thought immediately of you when we read it. God bless you Adrienne, you help me so much.

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  19. Anonymous10:23 AM

    Adrienne,
    The Lord has really been doing a work in my heart on this issue. The chronic self-absorption is so hard to face - I hate how ugly I am on the inside, when all I have to do is live free in the TRUTH of who I am IN CHRIST!!! He has been working on me, and I am awaiting the turnaround when I can finally rest secure in the light of His Truth. When I can truly fix my eyes on Him so much that I forget I am even there! Thanks for these words...the evil one loves us to be self-centered, and especially when we don't realize it. I appreciate your sharing - God brought me to your page to remind me that I'm not the only one with this battle... Praise Him, liberty can be ours in His grace!!!

    Love and prayers,
    Jodie Richter

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