So. We have new next door neighbors. I walked over to their front door to introduce myself. And there in the doorway stood a young, pretty, fit mom with one kid grabbing at her leg and the other hanging off her hip as she flashed an effortless smile.
I could feel the insecurities pouring over me. I’m a short brunette, far from fit and if I had children dangling from my extremities I’d be in tears. We talked for a few minutes and she was sweet, funny and personable. Great. My new next door neighbor is the ideal woman.
A couple days later, both of our families happened to be outside enjoying a gorgeous evening. I happily said hello to my new neighbor and introduced her to my husband. They quickly find out that they have a common interest in a show that I don’t particularly like to watch. They start talking about characters and plot twists and “what’s going to happen now?” I mention that I’m reading a book based on another television series she’s watching, and she says she doesn’t like to read. She’s making my husband laugh. I feel myself shrinking back because I can’t join in on the conversation. Then her equally attractive husband strides over to the fence that separates our two yards. He’s tall, handsome and personable, and he quickly finds that he has much in common with my husband as they talk about repairing things around the house. I feel lost amongst this forest of legs that surrounds me as their laughter circles around things I know nothing about.
And just like that….I shut down. We head back into our house and I can feel myself curl into a corner of insecurity. My mind starts telling my heart that this woman is going to steal my husband; my husband is going to look forward to talking to her; she’s a stay at home mom and with my husband’s firefighter schedule, there will be days when he is home and I’m at work, they could hang out and I would never know. Before I knew it, I had imagined the kids and I living with my parents as my husband moved on with the blonde peach next door.
Then I find out something even more disheartening. She’s a blogger. A fashion blogger. With a gabillion followers (ok, not a gabillion, but hundreds of thousands). So she’s pretty, funny and has a following. She’s that cool, popular girl in high school. And she’s living next door to me.
I sent one of my closest friends a text, asking her to pray for me because I could feel deep insecurity seeping into my soul.
This is what I received in return:
“You are amazing and beautiful in your own right PLUS you have the light of God shining through you. Remember, things may look good from the outside but her heart may be hurting for God. You should share YOUR blog with her. Do you trust God? Because he put the perfect neighbor for you right next door so that you can impact each other’s lives and all draw closer to God.”
Amen for friends who are close to God!
One of the things that fuels my insecurity is not only the world’s perception of beautiful, fun and cool…but it’s also knowing that my husband is of the world. And believing that he won’t think I’m cool or fun because I am not of the world.
I hate to acknowledge it, but the world just doesn't think Christians are cool. Think about it: we're known as boring, prude rule followers. We don't get drunk, we don't cuss, and we don't prance around in bikini tops all day, so of course the world lumps us into the non-cool category. And, like me, you may first deny feeling insecure about this stereotype, but c'mon, there have been times when you've thought, "am I missing out? I don't want them to think I'm a dork."
It's high school all over again, except instead of the popular jock and cheerleader leading the pack, it's the enemy. And he loves to feed off of our insecurities.
Now maybe you're not like me, and that's awesome...I'm trying to be more like you. But for me, my insecurities have always played a major role in everything I've ever done, and everything I have not done.
Insecurity is much deeper than just a feeling of inferiority or awkwardness. It becomes people-pleasing. It becomes fear. It becomes anger. Resentment. Jealousy. Nervousness. Anxiety. Repression.
Going back to my blogging next door neighbor, when my close friend suggested I share my blog with my neighbor, my immediate thought was, "no way!" My succeeding thoughts were, "she'll think it's silly. It's nothing compared to her fashion blog. She's gonna think I'm one of those 'bible thumpers.' She's the Ren McCormack and I'm the Reverend Moore of Footloose." The thought of opening up my mouth to talk blog shop with her had my stomach in knots, all while I resented their move into the house next door.
With all those thoughts running through my head, I missed the most important one: "...her heart may be hurting for God."
You know the funny thing about this? I prayed for my potential neighbors as soon as I learned that the house was being put up for sale. I prayed for neighbors that would be a good fit for my family. I prayed for them. And, boy, did God deliver.
Do you get trapped into overwhelming insecurities? Do you become a people-pleaser? Do you become angry? Jealous? Nervous?
Let's escape the burden of insecurity:
1. God thinks we're cool
Ok. I know that may sound conceited and self-righteous, but it's not. It's the truth. God thinks that you and I are downright fabulous. Jesus says,
"...I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." Luke 15:10
What exactly does "rejoice" mean? It means, "to feel or show great joy or delight." The synonyms for rejoice are: happiness, pleasure, joy, delight, elation, jubilation, celebration, exuberance and exultation.
When I hear the word "rejoice," it's usually tied into a Christmas song or I'm reminding myself to rejoice during times of trial as told to do in James 1:2. Rarely do I ever think of the celebration God held for me when I turned from my sinful ways and chose to follow him. Rarely do I remind myself of the happiness, delight and joy God felt and continues to feel for me.
The day that you made the decision to repent and make Jesus the lord of your life, there was a party in heaven like you wouldn't believe. There was so much excitement over you. God was so excited that you chose him because He chose you long before you were a twinkle in your mother's eye.
The creator of all things. The Alpha and the Omega. The King of Kings. The Lord. He thinks I'm spectacular. He thinks you're spectacular. He thinks we are the epitome of cool. And He rejoices over us.
2. I have a purpose
God thinks we're so cool that He gave us a job to do. He gave us a purpose. He says,
"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth. It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:10-11
God had a clear purpose for his word. And He does not expect it to return to Him empty. Imagine writing a diary filled with every characteristic of your heart, and your detailed hopes and plans for the future of your children and loved ones. You want to make sure it goes into the hands and hearts of those you trust, and those whom you know will carry out your words. You wouldn't give it to just anybody. Why not? Because you have a purpose for it being shared.
God trusts you with his word. He looked at your heart and said, "I can trust her. I can rely on her. She will fulfill my purpose. She will deliver my message." Have you ever thought about that? God trusts you with His word. I think sometimes we forget the significance of the bible. It's not just some book to collect dust on a shelf. It's not just a family heirloom. It's not just something hotels throw in a nightstand drawer (do they still do that?). It's the word of God. It's the detailed telling of his heart, his hopes and his plans. And He made sure you were a recipient of it.
We have a job to do. We have a purpose. And if we allow our insecurities to consume our hearts, how can we achieve the purpose for which He sent his word?
3. There's no prom queen in heaven
Cliques don't end once we leave high school. They continue into college, the workplace, and even the mommy & me play dates at the local parks. But I know with confidence that when we enter heaven, the cliques stop. There are no cliques in heaven. There's no Prom Queen or Most Popular or Best Smile or Best Blogger of all Time. Because we are all the same. All of our sin is the same, and all of the forgiveness we receive is the same.
The only thing God is concerned about is our hearts. He doesn't see the tall, fit blonde that I see. And He doesn't see the short, unfit brunette that I see in the mirror. The only thing He sees are two hearts that both need Him. He looks at her and says, "she needs me." And then he looks at me and says, "she needs me." There's no competition between us when God looks at our hearts. I am the only one who has placed each of us on a ballot for voting.
"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
God doesn't see what I see next door to me. And God doesn't see what I see when I look in a mirror. In His mind, we are simply two women. One who knows Him, and one who might want to know Him. And guess which one He is depending on?
To me, my next door neighbor is the equivalent of the high school prom queen. But to God, she's just a heart that He's hoping his daughter will draw out and bring near to Him.
My insecurities make me want to shut down and hide in a corner while I make a list of everything that is wrong with me. My insecurities cause me to think about altering my character so that I can fit in with the crowd. My insecurities hold me back from sharing the truth about our incredible God.
My insecurities rob me of my purpose.
I have a purpose.
You have a purpose.
God made sure that you were a recipient of His word because he knows that you will deliver his message. Our God, the creator of all things, trusts you and relies on you. He thinks you're the cat's meow, the cream of the crop, the bees knees! So tell that little voice in your head (the enemy's whispers) to stop talking. You run with the only clique that is God approved. And you have a job to do.
Drown your insecurities with confidence from God. There's a reason He chose you. Now it's time to show the world why He did.