Some of us are rather doubtful about our place in the world and even more so about our place with those that we care about. This is commonly referred to as insecurity and it stems from any number of things. Some say certain personality types are prone to it (like the folks who use the Enneagram to start meaningful conversations). Others consider formative experiences early in life to be a root cause, or to some particular trauma that looms heavy in the person’s consciousness. A lot has been written on the subject, both in the popular and professional press*.
Whatever the seed that planted insecurity in our souls, the truth is that if that seed germinates in a soil fertile with bitterness, anger, unresolved emotional need, or hunger for “significance”, it will sprout into a vicious, virulent, venomous plant that will bring painful misery to those stricken with its poison.
If we consider ourselves Christ followers, it is important to recognize this reality, because our relationship with God is not immune to insecurity’s poison, but may indeed be most vulnerable. Why?
It all has to do with how we see ourselves in relation to God; how we relate to Him. A few questions may enlighten those unaware of insecurity’s grip on their own life:
- How do I think that I acquire the approval of God?
- Do I try win God’s affections through doing stuff?
- What happens when I fail?
- How do I try to make my failure alright in God’s eyes?
- How do I know when enough is enough? Will it ever be enough?
- If I think I can never do enough for Him:
- Does it anger me?
- Do I love Him? Hate him? Hide from Him? Rage at Him?
- Do I feel helpless?
- Do I hope against all hope that He might love and accept me anyway?
It takes courage to answer these questions honestly, even to ourselves. It can be costly. We act. We don’t always know why. Insecurity with God stems from our need to be the actor rather than the acted upon, i.e., we try to earn His love and affection rather than receiving them as the gift that they are.
We do well to remember that emotion and intellect do not react to stimuli in the same way. Intellect can understand and accept a theologically correct answer to all this, while the emotions may feel left out in the cold, as it were, waiting for . . . something. Healing, perhaps. (If you’re a Trekkie, it’s like Mr. Spock vs. Dr. McCoy.)
We need both intellectual and emotional stability to be healthy. One depends upon the integrity of the other. Both impact our spiritual maturity and our ability to accept God’s loving discipline as discipline and not rejection. The truth is that our Father disciplines us as his children. Though discipline isn’t enjoyable, it flows from love, not indiscriminate anger or abuse. It is meant to be corrective, so that we will be mature and complete.
Hence, it is crucial that we fertilize the soil of our hearts with Truth. We must take the Gardener’s tools and uproot bitterness, unrestrained anger, and hunger for so-called significance if we are to be fruitful in God’s Kingdom. What does it look like to weed the garden?
Truth becomes real to both the emotions and intellect in the interplay between our spirit and the Holy Spirit. This connection is most effective when we pray. We take our minds, souls, bodies, and spirits into God’s presence to forge a relationship that depends not upon a great mountain of our good deeds, but the simple, straightforward reality of His One Good Deed.
Let’s Face our fear
Let us consider the following as we face our fear and walk into the prayer closet:
“To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory for ever and ever! Amen”
—Revelation 1:5-6, NIV
The more our sin, hurt, inadequacy, and anger is laid open before the eyes of a loving God, the more healing and rest we will find in Him. Truth burns away the deceit of our sin and the misunderstanding of our pain.
Because it can be a painful process, some of us will, no doubt, resist the challenge to be vulnerable. We are afraid of the possibility of pain and rejection and suffering. Take the risk. Here’s a bit of Truth to bolster your courage:
“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?”
—Romans 8:31,35, NLT
Take the risk!
*A good starting point for understanding insecurity and co-dependency is a book published by the Minirth-Meier Clinic in the early 1990’s: Love is a Choice: The Definitive Book on Letting Go of Unhealthy Relationships. It was originally published in 1991 and has been revised and reprinted several times since then and made available in electronic formats such as Kindle. Click on the title above to link to the Amazon Kindle store.