Confessions of an Insecure Soul
In a world where confidence is seen as a cardinal virtue a post like this can seem rather pathetic. So be it. And within an evangelical tradition that often equates masculinity with images reminiscent of an old John Wayne cowboy film where real men don’t feel (even if they are shot in the chest), it can seem rather pathetic to be writing this. So be it.
I’m convinced that no one is as confident as they try to project. I know I’m not. I can struggle with feelings of insecurity at times if I’m honest. You?
Let me begin this confession by acknowledging a couple things up front. First, focusing too much on our insecurities can turn into an inverted form of pride. It can lead to being self-absorbed. My hope is to point away from that.
Second, insecurities are often irrational. Which means that mere rational arguments against them, might not, by definition, be all that is needed. We are in the desperate need of the Spirit to apply the truths to our heart of the security that we have in Christ.
While I don’t claim to have a magic formula, I do want to offer some reflections I’ve found helpful for when I’m tempted to throw a pity party and sink into the mire of insecure feelings:
- Your acceptance is in Christ first and foremost. If you try to find it somewhere else you are placing people and situations in a non-winnable category. Such expectations can only lead to disappointment. Apart from Christ, nothing and no one else can give the sense of ultimate acceptance you seek. It’s unfair to expect them to. Christ alone is the fount of living water. Return to this well often.
- Take your focus off yourself. Like most things, feelings of insecurity probably won’t go away, or even get much better, when you simply stare at them. Turn your focus outwards and try to encourage someone else, communicate acceptance to them, love and serve them. You might find your thoughts of insecurity subside when you quit focusing on them.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. Cast your cares and anxieties on God. He cares for you. Learn to ignore yourself from time to time. “Chitty-chitty-chit-chat,” you might say to the voices of insecurity reverberating in your mind. You don’t have to give them a megaphone every time they want to say something. Tell ’em to shut up.
- Talk to yourself, don’t just listen to yourself. You see this pattern in the Psalms. Follow the example of David who told himself, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:1-2, ESV). When your anxieties raise their voice, turn up the volume on Psalm 103. Rehearse these benefits to your soul.
- Be Courageous. Don’t confuse this as coming off as having it all together. It’s actually kind of the opposite. This isn’t about acting like you have control of the room, or the situation. There is a fine line between arrogance and confidence. Don’t flirt with it. Biblical courage is about trusting that God is good and that he will keep his promises. “Have not I commanded you?” God told Joshua, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you” (Joshua 1:9). Trust God to work all things together for your good and for his glory. That trust will translate into courage.
If you’re struggling with insecurity today, let me encourage you to read Scripture. Pick up your Bible. Nothing takes our eyes off of ourselves better than looking to something of supreme value and beauty. Let the Spirit apply the truths of Scripture in the depths of your soul.
Reflect on truths like where in Ephesians 2 Paul explains that we are loved by God (Eph. 2:4), saved by Grace (Eph. 2:5), and seated with Christ (Eph. 2:6). Now that’s security! Let that sink in. Let it spill over in all of your life. Take a deep breath and rest in that today.