(If you want to read Pt. 1 – click here)
This one is going to be a bit disorganized – these ideas are kind of tangled up in my head so bear with me as I go through this one.
I read a Time Magazine Article a few years ago on Human Papillova Virus (HPV) and the title of the article was something crazy like “The Sexually Transmitted Disease You Will Contract in Your Lifetime.” It really bothered me – because it was based on a false assumption – actually on many false assumptions.
Our society is broken and full of false assumptions – things that people think are true that are absolutely false. Lies that are commonly accepted. Proverbs 16:25 says “There is a way that seems right unto man, but its end is the way unto death.” Doesn’t that ring true today? There is truth, despite our society that insists that all is relative. And we can rail against truth or refuse to believe it – but it doesn’t make it any less true. And the path that millions and millions of people are following in our world is the way that leads to death. Eternal death. Are you numb to that? All eternity separated from light and life and good. DEATH.
Christians aren’t immune to some of these lies – I can’t tell you the things I read and hear that are either absolute falsehoods, or are distortions of truth. Look in my email inbox on any given week and I can give you examples of this. We are buying the world’s lies everyday. That is why the Bible talks about “setting your mind on things above and not on earthly things” in Colossians 3:2. It is a command because God has walked in our shoes – He knows how easy it is to concentrate on things below. On the distortions of truth. So we as Believers need to constantly be vigilant and determinedly guard our heart (Read Proverbs 4 for help doing that). We are not citizens of this world (or this country) – we are citizens of heaven and anything we are doing that isn’t bringing glory to God or useful for eternity is wasted time. It is HARD to set our mind on these things – it is work – if you aren’t working at it – chances are you have been lulled to sleep and your mind is on earthly things. That is our default mindset as humans.
So how does this play into insecurity? Well – on many levels insecurity is buying into the lies surrounding us. First of all – we are buying into the lie that everyone is insecure. Secondly, we are buying into the lie that we are somehow less valuable than other people, or even that we are in competition with other people at all. And finally, we are buying into the mindset that focuses on self instead of on our King.
Lie #1 – Everyone is insecure. There are people – and we all know them, who just don’t struggle with feeling insecure. They are free of it. I was once taught by a Sunday School teacher named Mrs. Lakey. She once was talking about God and herself and she said something like “God’s crazy in love with me and enjoys spending time with me.” I remember when she said that I thought “Well – that’s cocky!” In my holier-than-thou little immature head I thought that she wasn’t being humble to say that. Later I realized that confidence in the love of the Lord was a great thing and a sign of spiritual maturity, and I longed to know that deep in my heart like she did. When I was in therapy this was a big hurdle for me. I legitimately thought this lie was true and I thought freedom from insecurity was absolutely impossible. Freedom just feels different – and I am so grateful to have found it.
Lie #2 – There is something inherently off about me – I’m not as loveable/valuable as everyone else. Every person in the world is equal. There is no person more special or less special than anyone else. Everyone is made by God, loved by God, and all of every person’s days are ordained for them before one of them has come to pass (Ps. 139). All of us have one purpose – to bring God glory. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). All of our righteousness is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). We all have one path to righteousness – through Jesus Christ (John 14:6). So any of our feelings of inferiority are lies. We are not inferior. This lie leads us to competition, where we keep our eyes on another person to figure out our worth. That is sin. That is a frustrating and exhausting way to live, for you and for the people you are competing against. I have been this person, I have worked with this person, and I have been friends with this person. And all scenarios are terribly destructive. In the church – this sin needs to be rooted out. Ephesians 6 talks about our battle being against the spiritual forces of darkness in this world. When we are competing with our brothers and sisters in Christ – we can’t battle against the enemy because we are too busy tearing each other down. Man this one is TOUGH but we have to fight through it. We have to be aware because it is so simple to just fight amongst ourselves and be totally ineffective. We have to fight that human competitive, sizing-each-other-up, infighting thing. It is evil and will completely neutralize us when it comes to the real battles of this life.
Lie #3 – It’s about me. I don’t have the psychology background to back this up – but in my experience, insecurity and pride are a seesaw that are evidence of the same sin. If you are insecure, you are focused on yourself – on what you can improve to make you feel more “normal,” what you can change about your appearance or behavior to make you feel more acceptable. You may focus on others, but typically it is to garner approval or gratitude from them in a people-pleasing way. That is one of the reasons it is exhausting – you can never just relax and be yourself because you are constantly trying to appear put together despite the fact that you feel like you are one big mess. If you are proud, you are focused on yourself – on being in control, showing others your strengths, competing with the people around you, not letting anyone see any weakness. Both the insecure and the proud are hypersensitive to criticism, difficult to be in relationship with, high maintenance, and require a great amount of energy and sensitivity. Both are inherently selfish – and neither realizes their selfishness. They are simply focused on themselves at the expense of others and at the expense of God. And they may be like I was – I would seesaw between the two emotions. There would be areas that I felt confident in – and in those areas I would demonstrate pride in my accomplishment. It felt good to finally be good at something. Then there were areas that I was terribly insecure about – and in those areas I would demonstrate shame in my weakness. It was only in forcing myself off of that seesaw and forcing my focus to the glory of God that I began to break free of that pride/insecurity cycle. I wrote a blog about ceremony vs. relationship, and just as that was fundamental, breaking free of this cycle is one of the fundamental concepts behind growth in Christ. You have to get your eyes OFF yourself. Trust God with your strengths and your weaknesses and begin to focus on His glory and His kingdom. Confess the weakness and sin in your life and GET HELP breaking free of it. Then – you can begin to heal. It is about Him, all about His glory – and when we act like it – we are aligning ourselves with truth (1 Peter 4:11).
I hope this doesn’t ever come across as preachy – I write this as I continue to work through it. I have TREMENDOUS victory compared to the person I used to be… and I feel like I have broken out of chains. But sometimes I still behave like I have chains on. I am not super-spiritual girl who has this down pat. I really don’t. And I keep writing this stuff because I pray that there are girls like me out there – who think the crazy in their head is so crazy that nobody has ever thought it – and so maybe they’ll read my crazy and know that they are not alone – and that this fight is worth fighting. I worked with students for several years and MAN this insecurity thing was eating some of my girls up. It is STILL eating some of my girls up. Precious beautiful funny amazing girls who I just want to see FREE. So this is why I write this stuff. And I pray, Jesus, that You would use this cracked and broken vessel for your great glory and that you would draw all men to Yourself – especially Your sweet daughters. Please meet them at their point of need and show them Your great love for them. Show them their great worth and beauty. Save them from this world that is lying to them everyday.