Thursday, August 15, 2013


Few people know that I sleep with one eye wide open. It’s true! As a child, a surgery to repair my lazy eyelid left me with a weak muscle in my left eye, so that it doesn’t shut when I am relaxed, like sleeping, or when I blink too softly. If you walk past me when I am asleep, my eyeball will actually follow you across the room! And also, if you happen to think I winked at you at the grocery store, you should probably let that one go. I was just trying to blink! You’d think this little quirk might cause some insecurity for me. It doesn’t. I rarely think about it because I don’t see it in action. It has virtually no effect on my security. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with insecurity. I do, quite a lot sometimes. As difficult as it is to admit, I’d like to talk about it for a while, especially because I don’t think I am alone in this struggle, and maybe some of the things I’ve learned about it could help someone else.

In my early twenties, a friend asked me what would be the worst thing that someone could say to me? No, my answer wasn’t, “I’m having an affair” (I was married by this point) or “you’re dying of cancer” or even the news that someone I loved had died. It’s hard for me to believe, but instead of any of these awful things to hear, my mind went straight to “I think you are boring.” Looking back on that, it seems so superficial. I would like to say I was just very young and had not experienced much of life yet, but I also believe it pinpoints what has been a lifelong struggle with insecurity for me-the nagging question in the back of my mind, “What do people think of me?” 

So here goes. Trying to keep the blog’s goal of shorter posts, I will address some of these issues in little chunks over the next week or so. What is insecurity? What defines it and why do we struggle so much with it? How do we overcome insecurity and get on with real living and loving?

Insecurity is a genuine response to hurts in our lives 
I would like to start out by saying that insecurity can and often is a genuine response to hurts in our lives. Looking back, I can’t really pinpoint one instance when my struggle with insecurity began. I was blessed to have parents who loved and cared for me. I do remember early in elementary school facing some of the common hurts kids experience of being left out. I wasn’t allowed to join the “Kappa Club” because I didn’t own a pair of these popular shoes. One day a boy in my class systematically asked every girl in the class to “go” with him, except me. I was forced to eat my cottage cheese in the lunch room. (Okay, this has nothing to do with insecurity, it is just gross). These little jabs start young, but as we go through life many more serious assaults on our security present themselves. I remember the hurt of my first break-up with a boyfriend. I lost friendships. I didn’t get accepted to a certain college. There are other hurts people experience that assault security that I was spared from experiencing. How about parents who are emotionally or physically unavailable or worse yet, abusive? Divorce, loss of a job, serious illnesses are all examples. With these and other legitimate hurts in our lives, is it any wonder that we struggle so much with insecurity? The problem is finding a way to move beyond these hurts and find the healing we so desperately need.

Insecurity can be a result of idolatry
Besides a genuine response to hurts, another thing that can cause us insecurity is what I would call “Idolatry.” An idol is something we worship. And the kind of worship I am thinking of is worship that consumes your thought life and determines most of your actions. With insecurity, we can idolize two things: Ourselves or others. When we idolize ourselves, we are constantly thinking about what we look like, how we sound, how we dress, how we are perceived by others. The focus is on self and it is not very pretty, though we desperately hope that we are. When we idolize others, we put people on a pedestal. We can fill that pedestal with virtually every person we know, a certain group of people, or even go so far as to elevate one single person in our lives into an idol. Beware! Once you put a person up on that pedestal, you have given them the control, the power, and the right to assign your worth to you. Having just one person up on that pedestal, in my opinion, is the most dangerous of all, because when they fail to affirm your worth for you, it can virtually destroy your life. Insecurity digs it claws deeper and deeper into the heart. We have to take control of our own security back and I will discuss how to attempt that in further post. 

To be continued….

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