Feeling insecure lately? Welcome to the club. Your brain may be saying, “Nobody would want me if they really knew.” Or “What if I mess up?” Or “I can’t do this. It will never work.” Overcoming your insecurity seems like an impossible dream.
If you haven’t dealt with your insecurity it can become the limiting factor in every area of your life. An insecure boss will be controlling, suspicious, and ineffective. An insecure spouse will become demanding, frustrated, and miserable. An insecure single person will grab onto an unhealthy potential partner. Living out of insecurity will put a chokehold on your personal success, and it will keep your relationship with God at an immature level.
You may have read Scriptures such as this one: “So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”” (Hebrews 13:6) It sounds good! But why is your soul still so held back? What could help you in overcoming your insecurity?
The Roots of Insecurity
You are biologically wired to require safety. From the moment you wake up every morning, the deepest part of your brain is asking Am I safe? You began asking that the day you were born, and it’s going on every waking minute of every day.
And it didn’t take long for you to learn I’m not safe. Not really.
If your parents and others around you growing up had become emotionally mature you got more safety than if they had not. But for most people it wouldn’t take you long to find places in your story that convinced you the world was dangerous. A critical demanding parent, a dysfunctional family, a bully at school, a relationship that was neglectful or abusive, any number of adverse childhood experiences convince the deepest part of your brain that you can never let your guard down. And trauma later in life has only validated that core belief.
Of course the severity of such experiences makes a difference in how big a problem insecurity is. But it’s important to know that the deepest part of your brain does not respond to logic. It got the “danger” message from any number of sources, and telling yourself to feel differently won’t convince your brain to feel different.
God doesn’t love you any less because you feel insecure. But He does offer you a way out of that unhappy place. Here are some keys to finding that way out.
You didn’t wake up one morning and say, I think I’ll make myself miserable. From now on I’m going to be insecure. You came to that core belief through stuff that happened or didn’t happen, wounds you received, experiences of rejection, any number of ways.
Gritting your teeth and trying to not be insecure won’t work. The roots will need to be dealt with if that core part of your brain is to function any differently. And that may feel very scary.
“Restoration of the heart” is a good way to think of this. Like a burned-over field flourishing with flowers the next season, God created you with the capacity to experience healing and restoration. But you have to seek it.
Healing doesn’t drop on you like some heavenly dousing. It’s something you invest energy into finding and choosing to take into your being. When you’ve experienced significant trauma that may look like hard and intense work for a period of time. For any of us it looks like intentional care and feeding of your heart.
If you struggle with insecurity, ask your heart Will you choose to invest in healing?
Find Healthy Connections
God wired your brain to seek connections. During this COVID-19 pandemic season when we are all socially distancing the consequences of not having that need met have become even clearer. Your brain is like a cell phone searching for a connection, and it doesn’t function well when there’s no connection.
For some of us, if you’re anything like me, connecting with others in a healthy way is not easy or automatic. It takes ongoing intentional effort. It feels hard, even foreign. It’s especially hard if your past connections have not been life-giving. But this is likely to be the most important step in overcoming insecurity.
That means long-term connections with reasonably healthy people who are also growing. A couple friends who you meet regularly with for encouragement and support. A small group such as recovery group, Bible study, or something similar. Our online community the Fully Alive Group.
Is this hard? YES. It is necessary Yes. It’s worth the extraordinary effort to do so.
Is God Safe?
Yes He is.
But does your brain know that?
A few days ago I was talking with a woman about her insecurity and traumas, and how Jesus must weep at the pain she’s endured. She responded, “Your God seems very different from the God I know.”
God-talk may have been so engrained in the messages your brain took in that it’s difficult to truly imagine God as any different from the harsh or controlling or distant authority figures in your past. While intellectually you may agree with the statement God is good, your emotional internal self doesn’t really buy it.
Changing that internal reality for you may take a significant process. Some things that can help include journaling as if you were talking to Jesus. Go back to a hurtful experience in your mind and imagine Jesus being there with you. What is He saying? What is He doing? Give Him the opportunity to speak to you.
Look for other healthy Christians, those who are settled and secure. Listen to them, or hang out with them. That will help your brain imagine God as worth coming closer to.
God is patient. And yet He so hungers for you to experience more restoration of the heart.
I’ve seen people find such joy and freedom in going through this process. I’ve helped some people walk through this process. And my prayer is that you experience it too.
Your Turn: Have you been struggling with insecurity? Are you ready to invest the effort to deal with it? Leave a comment below.
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