Do you go around with a hidden fear of not being good enough? Many of us do. Sometimes it’s at the conscious level. Very often, it’s at the subconscious level. What does it look like and what feeds it?
There are three main elements that feed this fear of not measuring up: Things that have been said to us and/or actions that were designed to put us down and make us feel less than acceptable, comparing ourselves with others, and using the wrong measure and filters. Let’s take a look at the measure and filters we use. Take Mia and we’ll see and example of what feeds the fear and what it looks like.
Filters over fear?
Mia had great aspirations. They consumed her prayers for she’d always been taught to pray to God about all her concerns. Her prayers focused on being successful. “Dear God, let me be successful like . . . .” She never once paused to consider what God might want her to do, much less ask God about it.
Mia harbored a deep fear that in herself she was not good enough so she could only find validation through others. It never crossed her mind to define success in terms of how God want her to live out the values of God’s kingdom. Mia’s models of success were lifted from the pages of magazines and news stories without applying any filters.
What filters could Mia have used? For starters, when she saw people that she admired, she could have asked herself: Is this person seeking to live a surrendered life unto God and glorify God in all that she or he does and says? Does this person give more than a passing nod to prayer? That’s what you can do as well.
The next thing Mia could have done was to check to see if their attitudes and actions were in alignment with the greatest commandments of loving God and loving neighbors; that is loving other people who inhabit the earth, as yourself. Additionally, she could have checked to see the level of respect they show for the earth, for God’s created order. That’s what you can do as well.
When fear holds back your prayers
The thing is, though, Mia’s fear and insecurity kept her from using these filters. How? Not only was she dazzled by success as everyone defined it. Her fear of not measuring up kept her from applying her faith lens in looking at others for fear of standing out as being different. She also had not developed confidence in her faith.
The big thing though, is that Mia had not developed confidence in whom God had made her to be. If she had, she would have started by praying into her God-given uniqueness. Then she would have looked at others more as a reference using her faith filters.
It’s okay to admire people. However, if like Mia you do so from a place of fear and insecurity, defining success and who you want to be will be on their terms. This will take the place of praying from and into your uniqueness as your starting point. Moreover, the filters you use will shift you from putting a priority on living out of love for and to the glory of God. When this happens, you’ll know that fear is hurting your prayers.
From How to Pray: Live Wholly Through Honest, Surrendered, Heart Praying, now available for pre-order by How to Pray.
Experiencing the shift to clarity and peace through honest, surrendered, whole whole-hearted praying.
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