“So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” John 11:6,7
My head has been a little foggy as of late. It’s a wonder I get to work and back home in one piece! The world is upside down right now, and I just can’t seem to shake the feeling that I am doing something wrong, or not doing something right – or a little of both.
It’s a pandemic, and I’m not alone when I admit that I don’t know what to think of it, and I don’t feel like I should be forced to come up with something to say about it one way, or the other.
But what I can do, what I do know, is that I am standing on a firm foundation in Jesus Christ. And that will get me through whatever fogginess this world has caused me.
If only I could make my head believe what my heart knows to be true: no amount of striving in this season will ever be necessary for me to achieve my God-given purpose. That battle between our head and our heart is our insecurity at play. Our insecurities will feel conflicted over the decisions we’ve made and we must battle to stick to them when insecurity comes knocking.
Jesus doesn’t require hustle. That’s not part of the plan. Not even the Lord Himself hustled to get to the home of his dearest friend to save him from death. And we know the end of the story: Lazarus died. Jesus wept. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. People were amazed. And leaders plotted to kill Jesus.
(You’re welcome for my version of the “Cliff Notes”)
Jesus explained why he waited for two days. Just like my heart knows why I don’t have to change my posture in the work I’m doing for the Lord just because everyone else is capitalizing on the pandemic.
But my head takes some convincing. There is nothing my head wants more than to rush into what everyone else is doing to make their dreams a reality in this newfound freedom they have thanks to being ordered to stay at home.
Not that I actually have that time. I’m essential. My work schedule is still the same. I didn’t get quarantined, and I don’t get stay-at-home orders. I go to work, as usual. And perhaps you also are working through this pandemic but feel the pull to do more with your “downtime” because everyone around you seems to be “living the dream”, and you want that too.
Insecurity is a Thief
“You Lord, are all I have, and you give me all I need; my future is in your hands. How wonderful are your gifts to me; how good they are!” Psalm 16:5-6 (GNT)
Our fear of missing out is real. I get it. You get it. We know it isn’t right, or helpful, but how can we resist wanting more from our lives? Surely God doesn’t mind us having the desire to do better and more with our lives?
No, He doesn’t mind at all. He gave you the gift of your life and the dreams and desires of your heart so you would use them to their fullest potential for His glory. But what He didn’t do was ask us to make them look like everyone else’s. Mine won’t look like yours. And yours won’t look like mine.
When we compare our gifts and our offerings to what everyone else is doing with theirs, we get robbed of a beautiful opportunity to make something unique, something beautiful all on its own. When we see what everyone else is doing, it is so tempting and so easy to think that we should follow suit. When we do that we allow our insecurities to steal from our spiritual health and growth.
God has each of us on our own, individual and personal journeys. If we take the road everyone else is taking, we don’t get to see the landscape that God has picked out just for us. If we rush through and hustle our way to the top of whatever mountain we’re attempting to climb, we miss the beautiful scenery along the way.
We are also robbed of the lessons we could learn that will be helpful to have experience in once we get to the next big step. What we need on top of the mountain we gather on the way up. This faith journey is intimately hand-picked by our Father who loves us and wants the best for us. Let’s not allow insecurity to steal that from us by hustling our way up.
Insecurity is a Liar
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” Psalm 32:8
“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:6
The root of insecurity is fear. We are either terrified we chose the wrong path, or we’re terrified that we took too long to choose and now we don’t have a choice in the matter at all. Whatever the case may be for you, rest assured, we’ve all been there.
When I have a choice to make, like whether to stick with the plan I’m already executing, or changing course to roll with the new pace of a pandemic, I usually end up worried that the choice I made was the wrong one and I fear some sort of terrible repercussion for my lack of wisdom in the matter.
A lot of times we can be so attached to our dreams, so focused on making those things come true for us, that we can start to fear our dreams won’t come true as quickly, or as smoothly, as we had hoped they would if we get to see them realized at all because we made a wrong choice.
We fear punishment and consequences because we’re just not used to being a part of a kingdom in which we don’t rule and our actions don’t cause reactions of massive hysteria. That’s all we see in the movies, books, and dramas we are accustomed to, so it’s easy to believe this is how God works.
But that’s our insecurity lying to us because that’s what insecurity does. Insecurity wants us to believe that God doesn’t want our good, He doesn’t want to make good on His promises to us, and He certainly doesn’t want us to realize our dreams. These are all lies to keep us from the good news that God has for us all.
Insecurity causes us to Doubt the Truth
“Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation…” Psalm 25:5
We can know we are listening to our insecurity when we start to doubt the truth of God’s promises. God has given us His Word to hold in our hands, to write on our hearts, and to speak to every mountain in our way, every storm surrounding us, and every trial we face. But if we lose the truth, we will doubt we ever had it in the first place.
What looks like doubt for me may not look like doubt for you, but the one question that surfaces that I can say for sure comes from my insecurities has always been: “Can God really use me?”
Insecurity would like nothing more than for me to believe that God doesn’t use people like me to do any good thing for Him. Which sounds silly when you look at the Word. Look at the lineage of Jesus: murderers, adulterers, prostitutes, and liars. And of course, if that doesn’t help there’s always the ridiculousness of the company Jesus kept: fishermen, tax collectors, the lowest and dirtiest of the crop.
If ever we think we can’t be used by God we can be certain of one thing: the enemy would like nothing more than to keep feeding us that doubt so we will never reach our fullest potential for God. That puts us in direct proximity to thwart his plans for our destruction. And that just won’t do.
The next time you wonder if God can really use you remember that He used a little boy with a stone to kill a giant, he used a young teenage girl to birth a Savior, and He used the murdering persecutor by the name of Saul to bring the message of salvation to the Gentiles, to which most of us belong and for which we have him to thank.
How do we deal with Insecurity?
Now that we know what a mess insecurity can cause in our spiritual growth and faith journey, what should we do when it comes creeping up?
See it for what it is
“…there’s nothing fear likes more than non-specificity. We have an enemy who loves to cloak our minds over with generalities and a vague sense of anxiety.” Emily P Freeman
The first thing I do when I feel insecurity coming on strong is take it apart, call it what it is, and recognize it for the havoc it wants to create in my life. By naming the thing I feel I know how to deal with it better.
The hardest part of this whole process is that sometimes insecurity doesn’t come out as a fearful, terrified woman. A lot of times it comes out in anger, irritation, and a whole lot of tears that I don’t understand right away. The important thing here is to be feeling those emotions and know that they are okay because they are how I am processing what’s going on. They only become a problem when I use those feelings to harm myself or others, or I don’t deal with them – eventually.
Let your feelings indicate the issue, but don’t allow them to dictate your path. Put them in their place.
Speak the Truth
Out loud, and often.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
Our best weapon in the fight against insecurity is the Word of God.
Read it. Write it. Keep it close by. Get the tablet of your heart so full of scripture. And speak it out loud as often as you can to keep the lies of the enemy out of your head and your heart.
Talk to God
“I was in terrible trouble when I called out to you, but from your temple you heard me and answered my prayer.” Psalm 18:6 (CEV)
There is nothing God wants more than an intimate and personal relationship with you. This means more to Him than the life of His only Son. And because He loves us that much, He wants to hear from us. He wants to answer our prayers. When we have issues dealing with insecurity, we can sometimes take that feeling and begin to think we aren’t worthy of the Lord’s time because we have doubts and fears.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. The Lord knows we are human and we doubt and we have fear. We are meant to lean on Him for the things we lack in ourselves. Let’s “have a little talk with Jesus”, give Him all our insecurities, and find the faith we need to follow Him for our dreams.