Why are we insecure? Maybe it’s because we’re our own worst critics. Or because we tend to assess others by their strengths while judging ourselves by our weaknesses.
Maybe it’s because we simply know we’re not enough.
But enough for what, exactly? Enough for others to think we’re great? Or enough to be able to accomplish something great? Or maybe, enough, so we’re not constantly preoccupied with our not-enoughness?
Is it possible to know—deep in our hearts—that we are flawed, weak, sometimes inconsistent human beings without feeling insecure? Is it possible to lean into the more vulnerable parts of who we are with a grounded sense of optimism and hope? Unequivocally, yes, it’s possible.
Insecurity puts a stranglehold on us when we wrongly diagnose our needs and wrongly assume the solution. We’ve been aiming at a moving target with ever-changing rules. Step back for a moment and consider what the world deems as a worthy target: shallow associations at the expense of deep, healthy relationships; external appearance at the expense of internal character; fame often at the cost of family; greed instead of gratitude; selfishness instead of love and generosity.
Jesus calls us to the path where the truth is found, our souls can heal, and where others find Him. Truth is what sets us free.
Years ago, while trying to encourage me not to be so insecure, a woman said to me, “But Susie, I don’t understand it. You’re so kind and thoughtful and talented. You have no reason to feel insecure.” Such encouraging words, no? I was grateful for her kindness. But her words didn’t undo any of my insecurity. Shortly after our exchange, I heard that inner voice of the Holy Spirit whisper, “Susie? As bad as you think you are, you’re actually worse than that. But I went to the Cross for you anyway. I love you that much.” First, I laughed out loud, and then I leaned into the One who loves my soul.
If you are in Christ, you are a new creation! Read this powerful passage:
Ephesians 2:4-7 (NLT):
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
If you are in Christ, you are seated with Him! Is there a more secure place in the universe? This means that for us as believers, insecurity is only an illusion. We’re never truly insecure. We may feel that way. But it doesn’t make it true.
Consider the cost of believing this lie. We misuse our time, treasure, and talents to prove what Jesus already won for us on the Cross.
On the days when we feel we’re under-performing while the rest of the world is killing it, we diminish our contribution, and we toss aside our joy. We believe that if tomorrow is a better, more productive day, we’ll somehow recover our sense of identity.
It’s time we deal ruthlessly with our insecurity!
Here are five practical suggestions:
- When the feeling of insecurity arises within you, go back to Ephesians and read chapter two. Seated with Christ; imagine it! Ponder God’s grace, Jesus’ sacrifice, and the comfort and power of the Holy Spirit. Reflect on your gift of status and position in Him.
- When your inner critic has the microphone, unplug the mic. Put on worship music and stand in awe of God. The One who puts the stars in place knows your name and likes you a whole lot.
- When you stumble, and fall, or drop the ball, refuse self-contempt. First, remind yourself of who you are. Second, reaffirm your place in the Father’s heart. And third, look at your failure with a grounded sense of security and humility. Own what you must. Fix what you can. And move on with holy confidence. His mercies are new every morning.
- When you feel insecure about where things are going in our culture, think about heaven. Fix your eyes on what you cannot see, for what you can see now is only temporary. What you cannot see is a beautiful, exquisite, breathtaking eternity (see 2 Corinthians 4:18). Be very glad. Even though you have to endure trials for a little while, a beautiful future awaits you (see 1 Peter 1:6-7).
- When you feel battle weary and wish your weaknesses were your strengths, offer yourself some compassion. Get some rest. Watch a funny movie. Laugh with some friends. Refuse thoughts that weaken you.
You get to be a work in progress without condemnation.
Recently, I spoke with Kellye Fabian, author of the book, Holy Vulnerability: Spiritual Practices for the Broken, Ashamed, Anxious, and Afraid.
As we allow God to meet us in our humanity, through our humanity, the negative emotions and temptations that pull at us will dissipate. We will find ourselves transformed, day by day, not wholly healed but moving toward healing. In the restoration of God’s presence, holy vulnerability will sing through the cracks and shattered pieces and wounds of our lives, and we will see that the very areas of broken humanity that have plagued us for so long are what have drawn us closer to Him. We will realize that we are increasingly able to love God and others sacrificially, selflessly, and wholly, to offer what we have been given, and to rest in the presence of the One who loves us. May it be so!