Skip to main content

Roots of Insecurity, Low Self Esteem, Sinful Jealousy and Desire to Control

SONY DSC

Yesterday, we looked at how we as women desire security in our lives and in our relationships so desperately.  But we often look for it in all the wrong places instead of finding our security in Christ alone.

I believe that the deep roots of a woman’s insecurity in her marriage, her “low self esteem,” her desire to control her husband (and others) and her sinful jealousy can be found in:

  • her lack of proper understanding of who God is
  • her lack of proper understanding of herself in relationship to God (PRIDE)
  • unbelief in the sovereign, holy, loving, righteous, omnipotent God of the Bible
  • an attempt to replace Christ as Lord of her life with something else – an idol (self, a man, marriage, wealth, beauty, thinness, etc.)
  • the sinful nature being in control instead of God’s Spirit being in control.  Either she has not received Jesus Christ as Savior and as literal LORD of her life, or she has sinned against God, grieving His Spirit, and does not have His Spirit empowering her right now – until she repents of her sin and begins to abide in Christ again.

THE FRUIT OF MY LIFE TELLS ME PLAINLY IF MY SINFUL NATURE IS IN CONTROL OR IF GOD’S SPIRIT IS IN CONTROL

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immoralityimpurity and debauchery (drinking alcohol to excess)20 idolatry and witchcraft (use of mind altering substances)hatreddiscordjealousyfits of rageselfish ambitiondissensionsfactions 21 and envydrunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.  Galatians 5

I used to think, well, I don’t participate in orgies or witchcraft.  And I don’t bow down to an idol.  I don’t drink alcohol.  I don’t commit adultery.  So – I am obviously not controlled by the sinful nature.  But I glossed over the fact that I was unforgiving, bitter, resentful, jealous, selfish and a huge idolator.  If I have even ONE of the things on the sinful nature list – that is the sinful nature in control, not God’s Spirit.

The fruit of the Spirit is one fruit.  ALL of these 9 qualities will be in my life in increasing abundance as God makes me more and more like Jesus.  If I am not living in His Spirit and experiencing all of this fruit on a regular, daily basis – I have a HUGE PROBLEM.  I either don’t have a relationship with Christ, or I have sinned against Him and grieved His Spirit.  Either way, I need to admit my sin, turn from it, and turn with all my heart to God – accepting His death in my place on my behalf to appease God’s wrath against me for my sin – by faith.  I must be willing to obey Him and submit myself wholly to Him in everything.  Willing to call Him my LORD and Master.  I cannot obey Him until He empowers me with His Spirit.  I cannot earn favor with God.  It is ALL Him.  He provides the way through Christ.  He gives me the faith to come to Him, He empowers me to grow in Him and live for Him.

UNDERSTANDING WHO GOD IS  AND WHO WE ARE WITHOUT HIM – IS CRITICAL

Sometimes we try to make God over in our own image.  We imagine that He is like our earthly father.  Or we have a very small, impotent, weak picture of Him because we learned not to trust Him but to trust self.  That is what I did.  I misunderstood some things that happened when I was 5-8 years old, around the same time I accepted Christ as my Savior and Lord, and from that childish misunderstanding, I thought I learned that I was WAY more responsible for other people, situations, circumstances and, really, the whole world – than I actually am.  I truly believed it was my job to make everyone’s lives turn out right.  That is TOO MUCH PRESSURE!  I can remember crying when I was about 8-9 years old every night at bedtime because there were people starving around the world and I was not giving them food.  I really believed I was sovereign.  No one corrected my gaping and tragic misunderstanding  – or I didn’t understand it if they tried to – and I continued on with this belief into adulthood that I was responsible for everyone and everything.  I didn’t see where my responsibilities ended and God’s began.

God is God.  I am NOT.

I believe that when we put ourselves in the place of God in our lives (idolizing self), we think we should be able to be perfect, and when we discover we cannot be perfect, that can definitely lead to “low self esteem.”  We see we are not “good enough.”

Or if we believe we can actually be  “good enough” to please God in our own strength, and think that if we just work hard enough, we can earn God’s love and heaven – we find that it is impossible.

Another way we end up with low self esteem is that we make idols of beauty or of men – and when those things don’t fulfill us and provide the security and contentment we long for, we are devastated.

Sometimes we expect our men to idolize US – and when we detect that they could possibly even be conscious that there are other women on the planet – we may feel sinful jealousy.

There is a jealousy that is not sinful.  If our man is flirting with other women or cheating on us – we are being wronged if we are in an exclusive relationship.  Of course we feel jealous in that situation – our marriage covenant is being violated or threatened.  And yet – God does call us to respond without sin.  We may need to respectfully confront sin. (Matthew 18, Matthew 7:1-5).

**** If your husband is involved in infidelity, or there are major problems in your marriage, please seek godly, experienced help ASAP!

UNBELIEF IN GOD AND TRUST IN SELF INSTEAD OF GOD IS HUGE SIN AND LEADS TO MANY OTHER SINS

That is why I was disrespectful towards my husband.  I had myself in the place of God – and I expected my husband to honor me as god, too!  Not consciously.  but this is how I lived.  I expected him to submit to me – I would NEVER have said that – but that is really what I expected.  “He should see I am right, and he is wrong, and he should do what I know is best.  I’m always right.  I know better than he does.  I’m a better leader than he is.  I know God’s will and he doesn’t.  I know better than everyone.”  YIKES!  If pride is measurable – mine was off the charts!

This is also why I tried to be in control.  If I put myself in the place of God – and I believe I am sovereign and responsible for everything to turn out “right” then I have to make things happen my way or they will all be “a mess.”  In my mind, it ALL hinged totally on me. So, I believed it was my responsibility and duty to make sure that things were done my way.  I was offended when other people resisted me.  After all, I am “doing God’s will.”  But what I was really doing, and this is terrifying, was trusting self and demanding that others worship and serve me.   Keep in mind, I was NEVER consciously saying these things to myself.   All the time believing I was trusting God and being the best Christian wife ever.

I developed and nurtured this false image of God being tiny and not very powerful and this HUGE image of myself being sovereign over my own life and over the lives of everyone around me.  I didn’t consciously think that way – but that is how I lived and what POWERFULLY motivated my thoughts and behavior.

I had it all backwards!

GOD is huge, powerful, omnipotent, omnipresent, sovereign over all the universe, wise, loving, just, holy, righteous and to be highly exalted.

I am NOT those things!

I am small, impotent, weak, full of sin and depravity, incapable of anything good on my own, foolish, unloving, prideful, totally unable to control circumstances or other people and I am but dust.  

  •  As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;

11     there is no one who understands;

    there is no one who seeks God.

12 All have turned away,

    they have together become worthless;

there is no one who does good,

    not even one.”[b]

13 “Their throats are open graves;

    their tongues practice deceit.”[c]

“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”[d]

14     “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”[e]

15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;

16     ruin and misery mark their ways,

17 and the way of peace they do not know.”[f]

18  “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”[g]  Romans 3

This is me, a HUGE sinner – with ZERO capacity to do good or to “earn favor” with God.

  • All of us have become like one who is unclean,

    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
    and like the wind our sins sweep us away. Isaiah 64:6

This verse, literally translated, means “filthy, bloody menstrual rags” – which were not only nasty and gross, but were considered “unclean” by the Law in the Old Testament (per God’s instructions) because anything and anyone who touched a menstruating woman in the Old Testament Law times would have become “unclean” and would not be able to participate in temple worship for a certain number of days.

That is what our righteousness, our “good works” on our own look like to God.

Kind of  puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

  • I had to exalt God about a million notches and bring myself WAY, WAY, WAY down in humility for the first time in my life.

From this proper understanding of myself and God.  I can begin to build my true identity as a woman.

There is no need for me to freak out about why my man or any other person on the planet is doing if I am totally secure in Christ.  I mean, it would be great if people love me and are kind to me and are trustworthy all the time and never ever sinned against me.  But, if my contentment, strength, identity, power, purpose, peace and joy is 100% wrapped up in Jesus – I can have a peaceful, gentle spirit that does what is right and does not give way to hysterical fear – even when I am sinned against, even when bad things happen, even when I don’t get what I want.

My trust is in my sovereign Lord.  His perfect love has driven out all of my fears – every single one of them.  I don’t have to try to make things work out or force my way. I rest in God’s sovereignty and live in His supernatural peace by His power working in me.  It is not my power – it HAS to be His alone.  I know that life is no longer about what I want, it is about God’s will and His purpose and His glory now.  I trust Him to use all things for my ultimate good and His ultimate glory.  So I am unshakable in my human relationships.  I no longer desperately need the praise and approval of people.  My heart is totally devoted to Christ and I want to please and obey Him no matter what the cost.  No one can separate me from the love of Christ.

WHO CHRIST IS:

You may have a section in your Bible at the back that talks about the identity of Christ and of God.  That can be really helpful.

You can also search at www.desiringgod.org for some excellent articles by John Piper about who God is, and who Jesus is.

You can check out David Platt’s church and look at sermons, or look up his sermons on Youtube about Christ to watch.

You can read God’s Word – especially the gospels and New Testament letters – to see who God is.  But the Old Testament is also VERY rich in passages that describe the majesty, might, power, wisdom, royalty and awesomeness of God.  Be in His Word every day.  Hunger for Him.  Thirst for Him.  If you don’t have a huge desire to know Him more, ask Him to convict you of every sin that is keeping you separated from Him and be willing to repent (turn away from) all of that ungodliness and seek Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength!

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  Proverbs 1:7

21 thoughts on “Roots of Insecurity, Low Self Esteem, Sinful Jealousy and Desire to Control

  1. I think many wives struggle in this area. Many times we can see our husband’s sin that may be very visual but close our eyes to our own sins that are not so apparent. Great article I can apply to my own life! Thanks, April!

    1. Melodie,
      That is exactly what I did – and I praise God He had mercy on me to show me the depth of my own sin.

      Thank you for the comment! I, too, believe this is a HUGE struggle for many women. I pray God will open all of our eyes!

  2. Thank you April, This article was very timely. I have very slowly been wrapping my mind around what this means in my life, my walk with the Lord. I can totally understand how it came to be in your life and in my own. Thank you so much!

  3. I grew up going to church and have had a relationship with Christ since I was a child. Our family has gone to a few churches and it seems to me that all of the sermons are scriptural, but there is never any explanation of life application.
    I feel very much like most of the functions in our family have fallen to me. I am trying to understand how this applies to me (I am sure in a big way). If we are talking about spiritual matters, I understand that I can pray about things but do not have the ultimate say on how God responds to me or the situation in my life. If we are talking about the dishes, laundry, cleaning, meal making, homeschooling, taking care of pets, and primary wage earning, how can I feel anything but solely responsible…but how is that related to what you were saying about pride and self-esteem. Of course I feel like I can’t measure up. I cannot do all those things on my own without help, but I am not feeling bad about those things as it relates to my salvation.
    Please help me understand that. Thanks.

    1. K,

      I grew up in church, too… Accepted Christ when I was 5.

      You may not have an issue here.

      Sometimes women feel insecure in themselves or in their relationships or they talk about having low self esteem and being down on themselves all the time.

      If there are idols in a woman’s heart, if she depends on other people’s approval to be happy, or if she depends on feeling she is handling things perfectly in order to be confident and happy in life – that is a problem!

      Maybe the next post about our identity in Christ will further explain.

      If not, please let me know and we will discuss this further. 🙂

  4. Thank you, April. These articles are really helping me to examine myself. My prayers have felt so dry lately. Perhaps it is I turning too much to my husband and friend for the affirmation I should only seek from my Heavenly Father.
    love, Joy

    1. Joy,
      I know that for me, when I feel far from God, disappointed in my husband, bitter, etc… I have to see what I am putting above Christ in my heart. I have to ask God to check my motives. And I have to see if I am cherishing sin in my heart.

      I think you are on the right track now!!!! 🙂 Much love to you!

  5. Question on Insecurity
    I need some advice, we are newly wed, My husband travels for work which I can on most days cope with , However some days is really hard and I find myself wanting answers to all little details (part of his team is woman and guys) for example who he is with , what they are talking about when going for dinner etc. I have a good man in my life , I love him with all of my heart and I am 100% commited to him. he has never done anything to support that he will cheat however he did keep platonic contact with an ex that I only realized later which resulted in my trust issues. I read a lot pray a lot and really just want my marriage to be one of the few that does make it, is expressing these queries in a calm way to him also control? or can one express it in a kind and calm way and then leave it up to him to share these details if he feels its needed. This is my second marriage the first ended due to being very toxic possessive and sometimes physical all from my ex husbands site and that’s the root of my trust issues
    any advice will really help me.

    1. Marinda,
      You are most welcome. This is the information I sure needed 22 years ago when we first got married! 🙂 I’m thankful God allows me to share these treasures with others here.

      Much love!

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

%d bloggers like this: