“You can do it; you got this.” This is the sentiment our culture tells us or, at the very least, strongly implies. When trying to help us deal with our insecurities, it gives us a message detailing our ‘hidden potential’. We are told to look inward to find our answer. That what is needed to overcome our insecurities, is already residing somewhere inside us.
We live in a time where this type of thinking has been blended with the Christian faith. Many view the Bible as the means by which we unlock our hidden potential; how we realize and affirm our exalted view of self. But this is not the message of the Bible. The Bible is not about us; it is about God. It teaches us what God did for us, what he can do through us, and, most importantly, who he is—his character and nature. Actually, the Bible teaches the opposite of what our culture does. It reveals that the answer is not inside us.
Rather than telling us “we can,” it declares that “we can’t.”
Where Does Insecurity Come From?
In a recent article I read (which inspired this post), the writer defined insecurity as a form of fear. I tend to agree with this assertion. We become insecure when we realize that we are open and vulnerable to harm. Sometimes insecurity is healthy. There are situations and circumstances that should make us feel insecure. Take, for example, driving on the wrong side of the road. If we find ourselves speeding down the wrong side of the dotted line, we should feel insecure about having a head-on collision with another motorist. Some may feel insecure about heights. This fear is not irrational. There are certain heights where, if someone falls, death is the most likely outcome. In the appropriate context, insecurity serves as a warning that danger may be coming.
But often when we mention insecurity, we are thinking of something else. In our cultural context, we might mean that someone lacks self-confidence or is overly concerned with what others may think of them. An insecure person might have an unhealthy fear of rejection. And all that, is not healthy. But take heart—it can be overcome.
What Does (Or Can) Insecurity Tell Us?
Identifying our insecurities can lead to powerful personal breakthroughs if we approach them with honesty. Our insecurities can tell us what areas of our lives we need to submit to the Lord more fully and pray about more earnestly. Our insecurities can lead us to areas where we aren’t necessarily trusting the Lord. They can help us identify the things that we are letting shape our identity. All these revelations and realizations are necessary for Christian growth. If we can be honest with ourselves about our insecurities, we can then lay them before the Lord and expect some fruit to come from it in our future.
The Danger of Insecurity
But we aren’t always honest with ourselves—especially when dealing with our insecurities. We tend to cover them up, place unhealthy focus on them, and quietly (and constantly) lament over them in our private thought life.
And when that happens, they become dangerous.
Our insecurities can cause us to become so focused on self that we neglect loving God and others. There are many times when believers are prevented from doing what the Lord may have laid on their hearts simply because they are consumed with how they will look or what others may think. They cannot seem to get their mind off of themselves long enough to be obedient to God. And, to be honest, sometimes God may ask us to look a little foolish in order to encourage and/or love someone else.
Being consumed by our insecurities can cause us to become ‘stuck’. The thought of growth, life-change, taking on new challenges, or stepping away from what we consider comfortable can lead to a paralyzing fear for the one who seems to be drowning in their insecurities. This can lead you to become stuck right where you are at. Rather than trust the Lord and walk by faith, you replay in your mind what it would look like if you fail or are rejected in some way. You can let the fear of rejection and failure keep you chained to what is comfortable for you in the present. But don’t be deceived. What is comfortable for you now probably will not be comfortable (or pleasing) in the future. And we can let our insecurities set us up to be disappointed when that future arrives.
We can also become angry with the Lord. This anger can sneak its’ way into our hearts slowly over time. We observe others who don’t struggle in the area we are insecure about and compare ourselves to them. We may find ourselves despising the gifts others possess, what others have, or how they look. And if that happens, it won’t be long before we start grumbling to God about what we should have or don’t have. We then can slide into bitterness and resentment; discontent with the gifts and life God has given us. We can become like the Israelites in the wilderness—complaining about the manna we have been given.
Maybe the most dangerous of all, insecurity can cause us to focus on being confident in the flesh. We want to perform well—not because we are aiming to please the Lord and serve others—but so we look and feel good. Our insecurities can push us towards seeking to earn our justification—which is impossible. We want to accomplish and perform because we think by doing so it will bring freedom from our insecurities, cause others to love us, and make us worthy and acceptable in God’s eyes. This unmasks the real danger of insecurity. It can drive us to focus on works and our accomplishments instead of the redeeming and saving work of God.
Insecurity isn’t a huge deal because of how it belittles us, but rather because how it may lead to us belittling God.
To be frank, there is no “silver bullet” answer. We often want some quick fix or some seemingly profound truth to apply to our lives so our problem is fixed. I have found this rarely happens when following the Lord. But that is by no means a reason to despair.
I have rather observed the Lord working and moving in unexpected ways at unexpected times.
While there may be no 'silver bullet' answer to overcoming our insecurities, God does have the answer.
If we remain faithfully committed to the gospel, the Holy Spirit will perform a deep work within our hearts that addresses our insecurities and, ultimately, brings victory over them. We can't make it happen nor do we know when God will do this life-changing work. But we endure until he does.
But that also doesn’t mean we should meander aimlessly and simply wait for God to show up and do something. Not at all! As we wait for God to move, we can position ourselves to be overcomers by remembering what the Bible says about those who are in Christ.
Those Biblical truths that describe our life "in Christ" are not simply meant to be memorized—they are meant to be felt.
Felt deep in our hearts and souls until they wipe away all our insecurities and we find our whole identity in Christ.
Are you insecure about feeling left out? In Christ you have been chosen and adopted into God’s family.
Are you insecure about your weaknesses? God promises that in and through our weaknesses he will be strong.
Are you insecure about your past sin? There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ! All our sins have been paid for by the precious blood of Christ—you are and can be forgiven.
Are you insecure concerning your importance and purpose in life? God has chosen you and has good works marked out for you to accomplish. He has chosen you to carry the gospel message to others; to be the light of the world. Your life can point others to Christ—there is nothing more important than that.
Are you insecure about your brokenness? In Christ all things will benefit you and work out for your good!
Don't make the mistake of thinking that this is bad news. Yes, it's bad in the sense that we are sinners. We will never measure up to God's standard of perfection. There really is nothing we can do to earn our salvation or overcome our deepest insecurities.
But the Bible's message doesn't end with "we can't." It ends with "Christ did!"
And he did it for you. Everything we are insecure about, every sin we commit, and all the broken areas of our lives can be covered and redeemed by the blood that was spilled by Jesus on the cross.
We don't have to find our own righteousness hidden under layers of insecurity, sin, and doubt—Christ offers us his. We don't have to form our identity based on what we can accomplish, what we have, or what we look like—Christ offers us a new identity through his gospel.
Our culture has lied to us. The answer doesn’t come from within—it comes from heaven.