Whether we admit it or not, we’ve all struggled with insecurity in one way or another. Some are fighting them in silence right now. Even with all our achievements and accolades, uncertainties about ourselves can creep up on us, driving a consciousness of our lack in a particular aspect of our life. There will always be that part of us that we feel inadequate and incompetent about. If not addressed in the right manner, insecurities can make us question our value and doubt our worth, crippling the way we live out our God-given calling.
We must come to terms, however, with the fact that the world we live in is broken, allowing conditions where insecurities can thrive. The reality is we have varied roles and rankings. These can be read as rejections that so easily pierce through our fragile hearts. Our flaws and failures are readily exposed because there will always be someone who outperforms or overshadows us. How then do we break the chains that enslave us to our insecurities and victoriously free us from them?
The first step is always awareness. Don’t brush it off. Don’t deny it. The reason insecurities sting is because there is an actual truth behind it: You may be inferior to someone in some respect. We may have been subjected to comparison with a sibling, a classmate, or a colleague. Everything seems to be a competition. Being pitted against each other causes us either to be motivated to work even harder and outshine our “contenders” or to shrink back and surrender altogether. While some battles are better off not fought, let’s not wave the white flag or give up easily in this war against insecurity.
Through social media, people’s lives are now readily accessible to us. Although this has helped in making faraway friends reachable, it can also magnify our insecurities because we feel they are better off than us—they seem to have better jobs, better homes, better relationships. However, we only see fifteen seconds of their day in the small of our screens, not the entire picture, and we don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes. So let’s rejoice with them as they share their milestones on social media, knowing that they likely go through their own challenges like we do, and any blessing, big or small, is worthy of celebration.
In a day and age when society tells us we need to be this or that to fit in and be accepted, we can fall into the trap of thinking that we will never be good enough, that there will always be something about us that we have to edit. Trends change; what’s “in” now may be “out” tomorrow. We have long been wired to strive for perfection, and while there may be success in one area and we move up from one level to another, our attempts end up desperate and futile. In the process of covering up our shortcomings, we will soon realize that nothing in this world can truly satisfy the hole in our hearts.
At the heart of it, insecurities are an identity issue. We become unsure of ourselves because we are guilty of anchoring our worth and value on things that change, which are ultimately “insecure” too: our skills, strengths, possessions, positions, connections, and circumstances. We seek the approval of the world, which defines us by our situations but these prove to be shakable and they don’t last. The only way to be secure in who we are is when we build our identities on a sure and steady foundation—God.
To overcome our insecurities, we must loosen our hold of what our broken world dictates and tighten our grip on who our perfect God called us to be. This is the most important step. Because we were created by Him and are made complete and whole in Jesus Christ, only He has the right to dictate our identities. While by any of the world’s standards, we can never measure up, He says we are enough in Christ. He is the only one who can qualify us, so let us fix our eyes on Him.
And how do we do this? We get back to the spiritual disciplines of reading our Bibles, being immersed in His presence, and doing whatever it takes to grow our knowledge and experience of God’s character and His promises in our lives. Let us meditate day and night on His word so we can shut out whatever lies the world makes us believe. What the enemy says about us doesn’t matter.
In God, we are made new. We can stop being prisoners of our past, our mistakes, our sins. God designed us for a specific purpose, and these take a different shape and form from our neighbors. In light of this, we can stop comparing ourselves and competing with others. When we arm ourselves with the truth, we will experience freedom. Knowing the truth helps us stay on our lanes and run the race set before us, not looking behind, to our left, nor to our right.
I’m not saying that we have to let go of the world in reckless abandon. As we steady our hearts in Christ, we are called to be stewards of His love to others. True, our issues can be addressed by God and ultimately, it’s between us and Him, but we weren’t made to live this life alone. We need people to walk with in this world. We become stronger and even more secure in our identities when we are surrounded by people who will remind us of who we are in God.
This is why being part of a community is essential: They will root for us and support us in our journeys towards being more like Christ and fulfilling our God-given purpose, quieting our insecurities while we’re at it. And it is not the blind kind of cheerleading for us.
In building a relationship centered on Christ with others, we are each empowered to speak the truth in love to one another and to correct and rebuke each other, especially when one is facing bouts of insecurities to the point of being consumed by them.
In being immersed in such a community, we realize how our insecurities really shouldn’t have a hold of us in the first place because there exist people who aren’t out to judge our lack and limitations but instead celebrate our real selves.
Also, extending a helping hand, listening ear, and gospel-sharing heart to others can widen our worldview and help make us realize that the world doesn’t revolve around us or our issues. This does not invalidate our struggles, but the experience allows us to be reminded of God’s love and character. As we become secure in who we are, we can rejoice in another’s victories.
Insecurities are inevitable and nobody is immune to them—even leaders of the church, people serving in ministry, and those who claim to have strong, fool-proof faith may struggle with it. At the root of every insecurity is a question of one’s identity. How we can counter it is by grounding our identity not on an ever-changing, ever-evolving world standard but on our Creator who is sure and secure and stays the same yesterday, today, and forever.