My heart beat faster. Little beads of sweat dampened my hands. What would I say? What would people think of me? What if they didn’t actually like me?
These thoughts plagued me at every social event. Even during casual conversations, anxiety surfaced.
I just wanted to be loved and accepted. I wanted validation.
Does Self-Love Really Work?
Most people prescribe self-love as the solution to our fears and insecurities. You know what?
They are almost right.
The theory is that if you love yourself, you will be a confident and secure person who doesn’t allow others’ opinions to affect you.
It sounds logical.
However, “loving yourself more” lacks power. It just isn’t effective. In the end we still have problems and struggles. We are left just as insecure and helpless as before.
Loving ourselves falls short. Validation from others will never be enough to make us confident and secure.
We cannot be confident and secure without first trusting God’s love for us. If we don’t accept His love we will never be able to accept and love ourselves. In fact, it is impossible to love ourselves as much as God loves us!
In order to overcome insecurities we must realize that God’s love is the answer to our every problem.
We must learn to accept His love because self-love is insufficient to transform our lives.
Fear is the Real Problem.
When I experienced social anxiety, I feared what others thought of me. I was afraid that no one would like me.
Think about it. Underlying every struggle or insecurity is fear.
Fear is the root of every sin. It is the root of hate. It is the root of insecurity. Stress is rooted in fear. Anxiety is fear based. Fear causes anger and racism. It leads to pride and murder. Fear is the root of all our problems.
Not only that, fear conquers us and makes us ineffective. We will never be able to rise above our struggles if fear masters us.
Fear only grows. It may start out seemingly insignificant. However, believing fear leads to becoming a slave to fear. “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear…” Romans 8:15a
Fear defeats us. And our Enemy knows this well.
So how do we defeat fear?
The Battle Against Fear
Many people believe the opposite of fear is peace.
I certainly did.
But that’s not what the Bible says.
Peace doesn’t conquer fear. In fact, it cannot. When I experienced anxiety, I would pray for peace, but fear would return. Peace is not the solution.
So what is the opposite of fear?
1 John 4:18 says,
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
Perfect love casts out fear. Perfect love. God’s love. His love is the only thing that can conquer fear.
Fear takes, but God’s love gives.
Fear defeats, but love gives life and hope.
Peace is a result of God’s love.
We can only be at peace if we believe and actively trust in His love.
The Enemy’s Fear Tactics
Satan’s whole purpose is to get us to lose sight of God’s love. He is against God and therefore against those God loves. He hates love and mercy.
Satan attacks the truth that God loves us. His battle plan is to lie about God and put fear in our hearts. He is the called the father of lies:
“He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44b
Satan is against you, dear Rose. He will do everything he can to get you to doubt God’s love.
Here are some classic lies:
- God doesn’t actually love you.
- God’s love isn’t enough.
- God can’t love you because your sin is too great.
- Satan and sin are more powerful than God and His love.
- God’s love won’t satisfy you as much as other things.
- God’s love can’t fix your problems.
- Human validation or self-love (rather than God’s love) is a better solution to your insecurities.
What is the Truth?
The truth is that God’s love is the only thing greater than fear and sin and lies.
How do we answer these lies?
- God will not abandon you.
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
- God’s love is complete and perfect.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18a
- God’s love transcends sin and fear. He doesn’t condemn those who accept His forgiveness.
“Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” Romans 8:34
- God’s love is more powerful than our Enemy and our circumstances.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” Romans 8:35
- God’s love is the only solution to our problems. Only He can transform us.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37
- God’s love is the only thing that can truly satisfy.
“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32
- Human validation and self-love fall far short of God’s love. His love fills us.
“that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19
Rest in the Truth: We are God’s Daughters
God cannot be separated from His love.
Here are four truths about the character of God’s love:
- There is nothing more loving than the cross:
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
- God has adopted us as His own. We belong to Him:
“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Romans 8:15-16
- If we trust in Christ as our Savior, we abide in love:
“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16
- Nothing can separate us from His love:
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
Accept Love and Challenge Fear
God’s love is foundational to a confident, set-apart life. If we doubt God’s love, our lives will crumble.
So what is it that you fear? I encourage you to challenge whatever it is you fear with God’s love. God will help you.
“For I, the LORD your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:13
Accept His perfect love, dear Rose.
Under it your life will bloom and prosper. Trust Him and every fear will be cast away.
*All emphasis on scripture is mine
Note: for an in depth study, I strongly recommend the book, Speak Truth in Your Heart by Sarah Mally.
As a daughter of the King, Gabriella loves to share the teaching that the Lord has given her through the joys and trials of her life. The desire of her heart is to grow her love, knowledge, and maturity for Christ and the truth found in His Word.