Anyway, as I half listen I look around at a room full of women. There's talk of this and that and I can only focus on things hidden beneath the service. What is Lady A covering beneath her nervous laughter? What is Gal B hiding behind her chewed-upon bottom lip? Can Friend C twiddle her thumbs even faster to control her hidden-issues?
You see, I am extra sensitive to others' attempt at pushing some sort of unwelcome hang-up behind a smile or laugh. For I have been a master craftsman at hiding anything related to the "I-word". You know the word.
Merriman Webster defines insecure as 1.not confident or sure, 2.deficient in assurance : beset by fear and anxiety.
I define insecurity as a fear of being known or seen for the real me. An act of compensating for insecurity is what Pastor Chip Ingram calls "image management" (Living on the Edge, p12). It is an attempt at sealing the perceived imperfections with either strong reactions (anger, power) or weak reactions (shy, wall-flower). It can be based on fear or shame. Even denial.
We all have some sort of insecurity. It can be guilt baggage from a not-so-glorious past or fear of acceptance. Or in my case, "Will they notice the size of the junk in my trunk before they notice the size of my heart?".
Listen. Romans 12:3 tells us "For by grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you".
Sober assessment or discernment requires us to take a sound, accurate judgment of who God created us to be and how He created us. We have to come to understand that He created us with a specific purpose to be filled in a unique way. Regardless of our human limitations related to our emotional junk, our Lord knows us. And He still loves us in spite of that intimate knowledge. We protect ourselves from allowing others to see the cracks and fissures but He sees them. He has a plan for them!
King David wrote in Psalm 139:1-5:
O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my every thought when far away. You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You both precede me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Doesn't that warm your heart? It puts a few things in perspective. He knows my every thought, word, and action before it occurs to me. His presence is everywhere and never apart from me. Never ever ever. How can that not banish my preoccupations with being included or excluded from a particular group of friends? How can it not quell an almost insatiable desire not to be singled out in a crowd?
He created us and placed His character in each of us. We must have the same respect for ourselves as God has for us. In that same Psalm, verses 17-18 say:
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable! I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up in the morning, you are still with me!
On the days that I allow my insecurities to rise up and take over, I read over a list of "I-statements" drawn from Romans 8 and Ephesians 1. Listed below are a few of my favorite reminders.
- I belong to Jesus Christ.
- I am free from sin by the power of the life-giving Spirit through Christ Jesus.
- I have right standing with Jesus.
- I am victorious through Him.
- I am inseparable from Him.
- I am holy and without fault in His eyes.
- I was chosen by God.
- I have life and peace through the Holy Spirit.
- I am loved by Him.
- I have a new body and a new name waiting for me.