Monday, May 16, 2011


I was the newcomer at my job.  21 years young, and completely uncertain of myself.  I had worked in that type of environment before; but I'd never had the position that I was now holding.  I was a part of the management team,  I was on a salary....  I was scared out of my skin!

I had to "fake it so I'd make it."  That was all there was to it.  The person that hired me found something in me that told her that I was a good fit for the job.  I applied for the job because I had found something in me that said that I could not only do the job, but also love what I was doing.

The position I held was an Activities Director at an Assisted Living Facility.  My job was to come up with, initiate, and lead the senior residents at the facility in various activities.  There were some that were very mobile and cognitive, some were immobile and unaware, and there were some in between.  Easy enough.  We filled our days with Bingo, "Spa" treatments (nails painted, hand massages, etc. given by Yours Truly), we had 'lunch dates' out, we went to local Farmers Markets and picked corn and beans to shuck and snap.  We did it all.  We had a blast!!  That was the easy part.  THAT was the rewarding part.

If ever I questioned myself, if ever I felt concerned that I was failing- those sweet, loving, and oh-so-wise senior friends of mine would (unknowingly) snuff out all those insecurities by lifting me up, by thanking me for being there for them, by loving on me.  Even those that were going downhill in their dementia would somehow affirm me through their words, or smiles, or lightened up eyes when I entered their room.

Alongside that role, I also needed to be in contact with the residents' family via a monthly newsletter and calendar that I was to create and send out.

I needed to schedule doctor's appointments on the days that I had set aside to help the residents "run errands".  It made them feel more independent- to come to me and say "I want to go get my nails done; can we fit that in on Tuesday."  or "I'd like to go to Rite Aid and pick up some new makeup".

And then there were some that simply did not want to participate.  They were bitter about their circumstances.  Many were depressed.  I went 'out of the box' and chose to coddle these ones; knowing that they wouldn't participate at all in any corporate activity- I chose to go-to-them.  I knocked on their door,  I sat on the edge of their bed, or beside them on their couch, and we chatted.  That's all they needed; somebody to talk to, and somebody to listen.  And that's what I gave them, and that's what I loved the most about my job.

That "job" (and I quote job because more often that not it was more than a pleasure to be doing what I was doing) enabled me to grow in more ways than I realized it had.  

Through all the affirmations that I recieved (from residents and their family members), I found my security.
But then, there was my boss.  She didn't quite view me the way others did.  She was often unhappy with how I utilized my time.  She was often frustrated when I visited residents 'one on one' instead of pushing them to join in on our activities.  She stressed me out more than I care to recall.  And to be fair- she was right in many ways.  I didn't do 'the job' the way she would have done it, and in was her right to enforce her requirements on me.

It was rare that she affirmed me.  Rare.  And though I had my praises sung on a daily basis by the residents that I cherished so dearly-  the chastising and ridicule that she offered broke me back into insecurities shape.

Affirmation.  Oh, how I love thee.  Oh, how I need you!

Leaving my position as an Activities Director came to pass when my new role as "mommy" took over.  Talk about a 180.  Or was it?!  I suppose I found a few affirmations in the sweet slumber that my  newborn offered me right after she finished nursing.  And I may have took it as a personal compliment each-and-every-time anyone doted on how sweet and beautiful my baby girl was (and still is.... )

In the 7+ years since I last 'worked' a regular job I have found that my security is still often found in affirmation (or the lack-there-of).  Each and every time I find myself doing something 'new', I look around like a lost child for somebody to 'help' me.  Someone to tell me I'm "doing great".  Someone to rate me.  Someone to constructively criticize me.  Someone to pat me on the back, or kick me in the rear.  I suppose in all actuality, I wasn't just looking for affirmation- I simply looking for something to help me know "how I was doing".

As a mom, it's hit or miss  (mostly miss) as to whether or not I'm going to get that needed "good job! you're great! I like what you're doing.".  I've learned to look for it in different ways.  Maybe it's when my 7 year old hits a maturity-growth spurt and I see her flourishing as she interacts with her friends at school instead of pouting or whining.  It may be when my 5 year old bounces around the house like the tender-loving-goof-ball that she is singing "I love you, Mommy!  I love you!"  And at times, it's when my 3 year old is quietly playing with blocks instead of deconstructing our living room with markers and paint.

And I am so quick to shoot myself down, so quickly I find something that I lack, something that makes me less-than-decent, I find all of the wrong that I've done, and I see all the ways that I fail.

I see piles of laundry that beat me down with their odorous stench, reminding me of just how terribly I do manage my time and my resources.

I see cluttered floors that trip me up and take me further down a few notches, telling me that I should be able to keep a clean house like a 'normal' stay at home mom does.

I see a blog with empty and unfinished post and a book yet to be written half way through, helping me to realize that being a writer isn't where I'm going to find myself anytime soon.

I see chubby thighs and flabby arms that harshly encourage me to forgo my sloth and hit the gym (and stop eating so many Cheez-Its forGoodnessSAKE!).

But if YOU were to tell me all of these things about yourself, I'd knock you off your pity party and remind you of how unfair you were being to yourself.  HECK!  If YOU were to tell me all of these things about MYSELF, I'd defend my cluttered floors and chunky butt with ALL of the reasons why I shan't be made to feel less-than-what-I-am.

Isn't in interesting?!  How insecurity plays tricks and manipulates our thought!?  Isn't it interesting that, in everything a person can accomplish- it's rare to find a true sense of security in so many of us human beings!

I've never looked at a Lion and thought
"Awww.  She'd be able to kill that little baby deer if she'd just stop feeling so badly about herself."

Lord, NO!  A Lioness knows that if she's hungry, she's gotta hunt, and once she sets her eyes on her meal, she's gonna be eatin'.  And I'm willing to bet that she doesn't feel a bit of insecurity about her ability to feed her lion mate or train her babies to be great lions and lioness'.  

Perhaps that's the problem?  Perhaps I was never trained to be a great mother.  Or a great wife.  Or a great writer.  Perhaps I don't know what I'm suppose to be doing, or how I'm suppose to be doing it.  Perhaps my insecurity comes from something as small as "not knowing".

That's where the enemy grabs up some trampling ground.  The bible says that Satan is the "author of confusion".  It's true.  He wrote a novel pinpointing all of my insecurities, all of my short-comings, all of my "I don't know what I'm doing's", and he reads it to me daily.

My failure isn't anything that he says it is.  My failure is simply allowing that 'novel' to be read to me by the author of LIES.

Here's what I know:

God directs my path.
He will make a way for me.
He is the official author of Truth, and Love, and Security.

I forget this often.  I am who I am because HE made me who I should be.  If I fail- it's a blessing to learn from my mistakes- not an option to beat myself up.  If I prosper- it's a blessing from HIM and not an opportunity to boast in my ability; but that doesn't give me the right to tear myself down, either.

The Lord used a situation that I was in recently to reveal just how terribly insecure I really am.  I had been starving for an affirming word to the point of tears, and had gotten myself into a pit of emotional malfunction.  God kept whispering "Hey- why are you hoping to find your security in that?"  and I kept ignoring His question.

Finally, He roared in my heart

I heard Him loud and clear.  And found myself asking questions and hearing answers.  I discovered a few very important life-points that I hope to remember.

If I'm doing anything, I have to be certain that I require no affirmations afterward.  Furthermore- I should expect nothing in return.    Whether it be cooking my family a meal, or building somebody a house.... If I do anything it needs to be out of a genuine heart to "do" and not to "get".

If ever (whenEVER) I find myself in a pit- I have GOT to remember to check the reality of why it is that I'm in that pit.  Did I mess up or am I just being insecure?

Take the 'playback' and 'predict' off of my options menu.
DO NOT play back situations that you were in and pick yourself apart.
Stop predicting what someone is going to say and/or do as a way to convince yourself that you shouldn't approach and/or move forward with something you know you should do.  Example: If you need to apologize, don't assume it's going to be a waste of your time because you "know" the other person is going to rip-you-a-new-one.  Just apologize.  

It seems as if many of us are insecure.  I know that among the friends and family that I have, at least those who are willing to admit it, that this is a true statement.  It's not just women, either ya'll.  Men, too.  Maybe even more so.

So I'm not alone in my insecurity.  But I don't want to stay in it, either.

What are some ways that you ward of insecurity?

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