Friday, July 06, 2007

Confessions of the insecure

I've struggled with insecurity for what seems like my whole life. Those of you who know me in the real world have long known it to be true. And I would imagine if you would read between the lines here on this blog you would see my insecurity as a thread, a common theme running through my words.

If you are female, I would guess insecurity is a struggle for you as well. Oh, it may look different on you, but it's been my observation that insecurity and its many manifestations are part of the universal experience of womanhood. Maybe it reveals itself in your shopping or eating habits, in your rebellion or your compliance, in overindulgence or people-pleasing, in fears or work-alcoholism. Or maybe jealousy. Maybe control. Perhaps avoidance. Or the endless pursuit of youth and beauty.

Here's how insecurity looks on me: deep down I believe others are predisposed to dislike me and that somehow I must prove myself to keep them liking me. I fear disappointing and for some reason feel as if others are looking for reasons to be disappointed. This insecurity is obviously rooted in some kind of performance-based approval system, wherein I believe I earn approval, or disapproval, by the things I do. This kind of warped thinking even carries over into my relationships with those who have known me and loved me for years. Years! Yet still I fear losing their affection and respect and approval.

I know it seems silly. It certainly looks silly typed out like this and if I'm honest I'll tell you that right now I'm wondering whether this is one of the posts that will make it out of the draft pile.

I looked up "insecure" in Merriam-Webster online. I wonder if you see yourself--as I see myself--in this description:
1 : not confident or sure : UNCERTAIN insecure of his reception>
2 : not adequately guarded or sustained : UNSAFE insecure investment>
3 : not firmly fastened or fixed : SHAKY insecure>
4 a : not highly stable or well-adjusted insecure marriage> b : deficient in assurance : beset by fear and anxiety
Not confident or sure: check. Not firmly fastened or fixed: check. Deficient in assurance: check. Beset by anxiety: now Webster's getting in my business!

I've been pondering the "not firmly fastened" angle. I think here lies much of the problem of insecurity. We want to be fastened. We want to hang on to something that will not fail. For example, we fix ourselves to our children, seeking to find our security there, but eventually find ourselves failing. We fix ourselves to a relationship, but that person is human after all and disappoints. We fix ourselves to our home or our job or our blog and ultimately find they are inadequate to fill this gaping hole of insecurity. We end up unstable, beset by fear and anxiety.

There are times--like now, this season of my life--where insecurity looms so large I feel it will overwhelm and consume me. I fear disapproval and rejection. I am anxious and worried. I stand on shaky ground because I know I will inevitably disappoint. I am insecure.

We each of us long for security, for that which will not fail. In fact, we were made for it. Our insecurity prevails because we look for security and stability in all the wrong places. Only one place will hold us firmly. There is only One on whom we can fix our hope without being disappointed. Only one Rock stable enough for us to stand on: He is the One who made us with eternity in our hearts, "[a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy]." (Ecc. 3:11, AMP, emphasis mine).

Only God can sustain and guard our hearts. Seeking security apart from Him puts us in an unsafe place indeed, our desperate desire for security often propelling us to foolish decisions, regrettable mistakes, and sinful rebellion.

I am learning to take my insecurity to Him, He who knows me best and loves me most, to firmly fasten myself to Him, He who is all sufficient and full of grace and mercy. He is my only security, Jesus Christ, my Rock and Redeemer, my Savior and Sustainer. He alone guards our hearts. He alone fills to overflow. He alone can satisfy.

17 comments:

  1. Amen Lisa! Thanks for that reminder!

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  2. My name is Christina. I am a woman. I am insecure. I think you described me to a T. :-)

    I struggle with insecurities a lot! I have also learned to take them to God.

    Another thing I have learned to do is being honest about it. If I am feeling insecure I voice it. I let the person know and they help by telling me the truth. I think we tend to let our minds go crazy and we start to bieleve in lies.

    That person doesn't like me, I said the wrong thing, I'm unlikable blah blah blah.

    Know this...I love your blog! :-) I really do.

    ((HUGS))

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  3. "To firmly fasten myself to Him."

    Amen.

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  4. Found your blog at Sweet Tea With Lemon. This post really spoke to me because I can so relate to the feelings of fear and anxiety. I, too, have struggled with this throughout my life. I know that the only way I'm going to feel security is through God, but it is still a struggle for me. It's always good to find others going through and feeling similar things. Thanks for your thoughts!

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  5. I'm a man and struggle with insecurity at times. It is a good reminder that we are secure in God.

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  6. Hey Lisa,

    You may be insecure in some things, but one of the things that impresses me most about you is that you're not insecure about sharing your testimony of Jesus Christ. That right there is the most important security you can have. Because you have a relationship with Christ, and you aren't afraid to share what you believe, He will be by your side as you face the things in your life that you find difficult. I have insecurities as well, but find that the more I try to stay close to Christ, the smaller those insecurities become.

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  7. This post touched me deeply. I too walk through the world sometimes wondering what in me is good enough. What a great reminder that our only hope is in being securely fastened to him. Thank you for sharing your own struggles, it has certainly helped me.

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  8. Thanks for a great word. Insecurity is a very familiar word among women today but God is our deliverer. Over the years I have learned (with God's help of course) how to manage my fears and insecurities. Oh yes, they do pop up every now and then usually in the area of loneliness and feeling that no one really cares about this pastor's wife. But I continue to hold unto God with everything that I am. I am determined not to allow the enemy to use this weakness in my life to discourage me and keep me from fulfilling God's will.

    May the Lord bless you today!

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  9. Only God can sustain and guard our hearts - Amen Amen!

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  10. It is hard for me to think that someone I admire so much has the feelings! I can relate though. Thank you for this post!

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  11. It's powerful to put these words to paper (computer). I think this process helps us to remember the truth that Jesus is the one who will never forsake us, leave us, abandon us. Praying that these words go deep and change our hearts and minds and our insecurities. Blessings on you...

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  12. Thankfully, my security is not in myself, but in the One who sovereignly brings about His perfect plan in my life.

    I am insecure at times and questions things I say or do wondering what people think...then when I bring those burdens to the Lord, I am reminded of scripture that say we are to not fear man, but God.

    I am what I am..only by God's grace.

    Great post!

    kim

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  13. Lisa,
    Thank you for your powerful and poignant post. Your willingness to be vulnerable about this issue has just endeared you to that many more people, I'm sure. I look forward to continuing to read your writings.

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  14. Wow...thanks for sharing!

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  15. Yep, struggle with insecurity at times, too. So easy to look to others but so true that only God never disappoints. Kudos for your bravery in sharing. :)

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  16. Dear Lisa, I think today you wrote my story down. And how reassuring to realize that I'm not the only one who feels a "pressure" to make myself liked. To say and do the RIGHT thing... etc. And the pressure increases with time, doesn't it? And how awesome to know that Jesus loves us just the way we are, but He doesn't leave us as we are. He changes us, to become what He would like us to be. More like Him. :o) Thanks for an awesome post!

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  17. Lisa,
    Thank you for your powerful and poignant post. Your willingness to be vulnerable about this issue has just endeared you to that many more people, I'm sure. I look forward to continuing to read your writings.

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