Insecurity. We all battle it. It’s at the core of our fallen nature. I’m even feeling a bit nervous about writing this post, about offering my advice, since you might think that I’m being a self-righteous know-it-all.
*See what I did there?*
Insecurity is both toxic self-loathing, and inflated self-love. It’s as though our sin has a split personality. So, what is at the root of insecurity (other than our own sin nature)?
Insecurity Starts by Us Believing Lies:
How cunning are the words of the enemy when he tells us we are not enough…worthless, unredeemable. How intoxicating is his lie when he whispers we are enough…that we can do it, earn it, will it. Insecurity is a concoction of equal parts deception, pride and selfishness.
Both statements by the enemy, that we are not enough, and that we are enough, are lies juxtaposed against each other. They seem contradictory, but they are not!
The crux is that both deceptive beliefs dwell in the Kingdom of Self where our currency is works, but the truth dwells in the Kingdom of God where our currency is grace.
First lie: We are not enough. The Biblical Truth: In our own power, and by our own merit, we are not enough (Romans 3:23)! But in spite of that, because of grace, we are sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Second lie: We are enough. The Biblical Truth: Apart from God, we can do (accomplish, manifest) nothing (John 15:5), but in our weakness, because of grace, we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37)!
So, how do we overcome insecurity? If insecurity is veiled deception, pride and selfishness, then let’s battle it with a healthy dose of humility. Though seemingly counter-intuitive, consider this definition given by the great C.S. Lewis:
“Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
So in that vein, I offer 4 steps to overcome insecurity:
1.) Remember what God thinks about you.
One ingredient in insecurity is deception, specifically, both the toxic self-loathing and inflated self-love that follows believing Satan’s lies about who we are. We cast out darkness with Light, so the first step in overcoming insecurity is reminding yourself of what God says about us (His creation) in His word:
We are created in God’s Image– “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genisis 1:27
We are by nature, sinful– “As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one.” Romans 3:10
Yet, God loves us– “God demonstrated His own love toward us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
We are worth the Son to the Father- Human life has the highest possible value because God paid the highest possible price for it. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
2.) Don’t think less of yourself.
In CS Lewis’ definition of humility, he first reminds us that humility does not mean that we ought to belittle or devalue ourselves. As we saw in step one, we are of tremendous value to God because He was willing to pay the highest price possible to redeem us! That value does not come by our own merit, but because of God’s outpouring of Grace! Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved, through faith, it is the gift of God. Not by works, lest any man should boast.” Grace is unmerited favor. We can’t do anything to earn it…we can’t do anything to lose it…it’s a free gift. And, because we are made in the image of the Most High God, Creator of the Universe, Originator of All Life, we ought not speak, think or live as any less than God’s image bearers, His children redeemed at highest cost!
3.) Think of yourself less.
Here’s where overcoming insecurity gets tough, and many people quit here and give themselves over to it. Pride and selfishness are so deeply imbedded in our hearts that we actually confuse humility and insecurity. See how Satan’s lies work? Insecurity is false humility!
We love to think about ourselves so much that we are convinced that other people love to think about us too! Newsflash: people aren’t thinking about you nearly as much as you think they are! We all share this in common. So, reality is no one else has time to think about anyone other than themselves! This creates a phenomenon that my dad, Tim Kimmel, calls “Center Stage Syndrome.” We think that we are the center of everyone else’s stage (because we are the center of our own) so we constantly act as though the spotlight of their focus is on us. It’s not, because the reality is, there is no room in the center of their stage. That part is already played by the star of their show, THEM!
No one has the capacity to think about you, they are too focused on themselves. Get over yourself and get on with living life! In God’s Upside Down Kingdom, where our currency is grace, “The last will be first, and the first will be last.” Matt 20:16
4.) Think of others more.
“Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:35
Christ’s instruction to his disciples, and his own example as He walked the earth provides us with our secret weapon in defeating insecurity. The Lord knew that these 12 men would face fear, trouble, persecution, rejection and doubt. He knew that as His primary earthly message bearers, the disciples would be under extra attack from forces of darkness that would seek to squelch the spread of the Gospel. For this reason, He implored them to think of others more, and put them first. Jesus knew that if they were doing that, they would have no mind for toxic self-loathing or inflated self-love. Their hearts would be focused upward and outward.
When we obey the greatest commandment found in the gospels to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength…and love your neighbor as yourself,” we are letting love flood deception, pride and selfishness. We are cutting off their air supply. The more love, the less us, the less insecurity. We will occupy our minds with serving others. We will act in love when we befriend the friendless, speak for the voiceless, feed the hungry, give to the poor, care for the orphan and widow and BE A NEIGHBOR to those around us.
We cannot suffer from insecurity when we suffer for love.