By Jennifer Smith
Insecurities have been rooted in my heart since I was a child. My parent’s divorce when I was four was a huge contributor to the insecurities I wrestled with, although I never recognized the impact of their choices on my life until I was an adult.
I feared rejection, I was terrified of people I love leaving me, I struggled to embrace a positive view of myself and my body, and I had a difficult time investing into relationships because I overanalyzed way too much. In my new book,The Unveiled Wife, I mention:
“Doubt challenged every relationship I had, whether it was with stepparents, other family members, or friends. I consistently feared that these relationships would tragically end. I overanalyzed every word and action, convinced that I was unattractive, unwanted, and unlovable. The thought of being alone and unloved scared me more than anything else.
The insecurities I faced throughout my childhood only intensified as I grew up and embraced the lies that fed my feelings of unworthiness and the fear that I would be alone. I told myself daily, I’m too shy, too fat, too clumsy, too stupid, too gross to ever truly be loved. As the number of ugly thoughts increased and became more descriptive, I became depressed. I struggled to form close relationships because it was difficult to emotionally invest in them. I spent most of my time at home, hiding from the world.”
I don’t blame my parents for the insecurities that grew in my heart, but I do acknowledge the truth that divorce affects the entire family, and it has no bearing on the age of the children who are directly affected.
When I became a wife, many of my insecurities came to the surface of my heart, but were laced throughout my body language and expressed through my interactions with my husband. Although I desired our love to be one that lasts a lifetime, I feared him changing his mind and leaving me. The reason my insecurities flared up immediately following the wedding was because we were unable to fully consummate our marriage. Every time we initiated physical intimacy, pain inflamed my body. I felt inadequate and embarrassed that I could not fulfill my husband’s needs.
Our intimacy struggles lasted more than three years. In my book, I share how our issues in the bedroom amplified other marital stressors. For example, my insecurity as a wife led me to be jealous of my husband. During the times he was hanging out with friends or staying late at work, I convinced myself that it was because he was frustrated with me and did not want to be near me. The doubt swirled in my mind until he would come home.
Allowing insecurities to run rampant in my heart was destructive to my marriage, encouraging me to believe things about my husband that were just not true. When my husband did come home, my attitude would reflect the pain in my heart. I was cold toward him, ultimately pushing him further away.
Eventually, my insecurities and fear became a catalyst in my desire for a divorce. However, God had different plans!
Instead of feeding my insecurities, I began to feed my faith. The more I embraced intimacy in my relationship with God, I began to understand how my insecurities were damaging my marital relationship. God helped me grow in confidence and grow in love, rescuing me from the threat of ruin and redeeming my marriage. God transformed my heart completely.
Each time insecurity threatened to overtake me or my relationship, God walked with me and assured me the issues we were facing in marriage would refine me, if I allowed them to. This was not an easy process. How could suffering and pain refine my character? I often wondered. I may not have understood the trials I was enduring, but God was faithful in showing me how He could use a difficult situation to make me a better person.
I want to encourage those of you who wrestle with insecurities. Please take time to evaluate and identify the root cause of your insecurities and what triggers your insecurities to flare up in your heart. One by one hand them over to God in prayer and ask Him to replace them with confidence and strength. Feed your faith by embracing a more intimate relationship with God and you will be amazed at how your life and marriage will be positively impacted!
Jennifer Smith created Unveiled Wife, a web-based ministry for wives, in March 2011, where she publishes weekly marriage articles and encouragements all geared toward empowering and discipling wives. She shares more of her story in her new book, The Unveiled Wife. Jennifer and her husband have been married for seven years and currently live in central Oregon with their young son.