For almost a year, I have felt like writing on insecurity was something I was supposed to tackle. And, with full awareness of the irony of this statement, the topic is so vast that the thought of writing about it has made me feel, well, a bit insecure. But I have determined that I am going to push through and begin to process, on this blog, what I have learned about insecurity. To hold me accountable, I commit to write at least one post a week until I have gotten all of this out of my head.
I am not qualified to do this – except that I have struggled greatly with insecurity and only after much struggle, much prayer, much help, and much healing can I say that insecurity rarely rears its ugly head in my life anymore. I am not a counselor, although I have been in therapy with a gifted, Godly, wise counselor. I am not an expert on what the Bible has to say about our identity, except that the Spirit that lives in me reminds me of Scripture when I face insecurity. So I write this not as an intellectual exercise but as almost a journal of the journey the Lord has brought me through as I have faced insecurity in my life. This is a big topic – so I can’t promise order as I begin to tackle it. But I can promise that I will prayerfully try to be faithful to share my story and my heart for women and men (especially young women and men) who are overwhelmed by insecurity in their daily lives.
I am the oldest of three kids. I was raised in a great home, with parents who loved me and loved the Lord. So it doesn’t make sense that I would struggle with insecurity, but I did. My first memory of its paralyzing effect was walking out of rooms in elementary school and waiting by the door to listen to see if I was mocked or laughed at upon my exit. I had to be in 3rd or 4th grade. I felt like I was a freak. I had bad hair, braces, was from what I saw as a “poor” family in a wealthy school district, had the wrong clothes, and never seemed to say the right thing. So I decided, instead of acting paralyzed by fear, to just act like none of it bothered me. I became the most boisterous and outgoing girl in school. I laughed the loudest and just determined, through sheer will power, that I would not be a freak and that I would not be afraid. But deep down, I was afraid. I was incredibly relieved to graduate high school and escape that world and enter the “real” world. I was convinced I could redefine myself. I could be put together, pretty, fun, funny, and confident. And I did. I became a success in my profession. I dated on and off (with poor results). I thought I was “healthy.” And the Lord intervened and absolutely broke me to expose the unhealthy insecure little girl at the center of my facade.
In my mid-twenties I had a bit of a breakdown. I loved someone who didn’t return the love, my church that I adored and served with all my heart cracked right down the center, and one of my sweet friends died of cancer. I was devastated. I began to think about heaven (because of my sweet friend) but not in a healthy normal way. I found myself crying alone and literally begging the Lord to let me die and go to heaven. I was exhausted and done with this earth. After confessing this to a friend and to my sweet mom, I was directed to an AMAZING therapist. She immediately diagnosed me with depression and began to get to the bottom of what was going on.
Let me take a moment here to talk to you about Christian counseling. Girls (and guys) – there are sometimes things in our heads that we cannot simply work through on our own. The Bible talks over and over about healing in community with other Believers. I truly believe that Christian counseling may be necessary for every Believer and was absolutely necessary for me. I was a Believer through all of this, serving in ministry, active in Bible study, in the Word almost every single day, growing and even teaching and discipling other girls. If anyone could have figured this out and worked it out – you would have thought I could. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. But I walk into therapy- terrified – and in my second session with this amazing therapist, it was like the Lord spoke to her and she shined a light on things that were in my head. If you are going to a therapist and they are not helping you – find a good one. When you find a good therapist, you will KNOW it. If you are in the DFW area and want information, I would be happy to hook you up. But don’t be afraid, when you know you are in over your head and you know something is wrong and your heart cries out for HEALING, to go to a Godly therapist. If your choice is humbling yourself and going through some painful self-examination or staying a broken person deep down – don’t you think your future is worth the risk?
There are things the Lord revealed to me in therapy about the lies that were in my head that paved my way for healing. Here was my lie – and I’ll be really transparent here. I was convinced, deep down, that I was completely unloveable. I thought that, upon first meeting me, I was intriguing, but once people got to know the real me – they were turned off. And further I thought once they knew the real me – if they stayed around – that they stayed out of obligation. That word obligation still has a ring of truth when I even see it written here because for me that word was at center of my insecurity. That word was all over my head – a barrier between me and almost every relationship I cared about. So how did this play out for me? I believed I was unloveable – and so I didn’t trust anyone who said or acted like they loved me. I tested them – constantly (how exhausting that must have been for all of them). If they showed love, I tested further. If they showed impatience with my testing, I thought “I knew it – they are only obligated – they don’t really love me – I have worn them out.” I was tied up in this crazy lie – and had been tied up for I don’t even know how long.
So I began to recognize that lie and began to retrain my mind and heart to trust. To trust that I was loveable. To trust that the people around me who showed me love were genuine and I could trust them. My therapist talked about healthy boundaries, and I’m sure there are tons of books about this you could look into if you wanted to, but she talked about how people with healthy boundaries were able to protect themselves against bad people but let in good people. And I realized that my boundary kept almost everyone out. And even if I let them in, I didn’t trust them. So I began to let people in. I will NEVER forget the first day I went to church after this session and I walked the halls – this huge change had begun to happen in me but nobody knew it. And these sweet people who came up to me every week came up to me to hug me or say hi, and I would think “they are doing this because they love me.” It was overwhelming. I felt raw, exposed, totally freaked out – but in a good way. It was like light was shining out of everyone. I felt free. I’m telling you it was like looking at these people for the first time and I was absolutely overwhelmed with gratitude and love.
So, slowly, I worked through my fears and my insecurities. I had many tough conversations. There were many many people who I had “tested” for years – and I had to go to them and confess that – and many relationships were freed up as I became free. People who I had exhausted or who were probably walking on eggshells around me began to be able to trust me as well. And it wasn’t only relational healing that I experienced – the Spirit of the Lord began to have freedom in my heart as I began to accept His love for me and as I began to experience true community with Believers for the first time. My relationships with family members were healed as I began to feel like an “equal” to them instead of some charity case they were “obligated” to love. I know it is simple – but the idea that all of us are equal and that I was no more or less special than anyone else in the rest of the world was for some reason new to me. My entire worldview shifted in this process.
This is why we have to root out and defeat insecurity. It is like cancer – it can infect and destroy so much. Being insecure is EXHAUSTING. Loving someone who is insecure is EXHAUSTING. Insecure people are in chains. And the world says that “everyone is insecure.” I really believed that lie for years! Here’s the truth – God’s plan is NOT for you to be insecure. If you are – you need help. You need freedom. Insecure people are not whole people. There is something that needs to be healed in you if you feel unloveable. You ARE loveable. You are loved – completely. Jesus created you, knew you before you were born, died for you, and has prepared a place for you. And if you are not realizing that truth in its FULLNESS, you are missing out on His best.
There is much more to my story… many things that I compromised in my fanatical craving to be loved. But I also look back and the Lord was SO VERY GOOD to protect me. He healed me before he let me marry someone and take this “testing” into a marriage. He gave me a family that supported me in my healing – even through some difficult adjustments and confrontations. He allowed me to lose everything – to enter into depression, to contemplate death, to be in the pit where only His great love could rescue me. And He did rescue me and He has been renewing my mind since that day.
Here’s what I know, if you struggle with insecurity, Jesus wants you to be free even more than you want to be free. He will make a way. He will lead you to healing if you take the step of obedience to confess the crazy in your head that you are TERRIFIED to confess. If you fight for your healing, He will be your victory. But you have to want it. It is like salvation, He won’t push it on you.
I will say – I remember the fear of this process. It isn’t all fairy dust and sunshine. Sometimes our path to healing is through dark winding paths that we are terrified to go down. So I know that this all sounds simple me saying it on this side of this journey. But it wasn’t simple for me and it probably won’t be simple for you. But I can tell you without question and without doubt that my favorite season of my life – more than the season where I was engaged, more than my newlywed bliss, more than the time holding either of my baby girls – my favorite season of my life was the incredibly painful season of my depression and healing. It was the corner on which my life pivoted and I have never been the same. So if you are terrified, I just pray that the God of all freedom would give you courage to fight for your freedom and to take the first step of obedience and to confess to someone you trust this need in you for healing.
(To read Part 2, click here)