Monday, January 09, 2012

Remembering Insecurity

"Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else..."  Galations 6:4

Frankly, insecurity is exhausting.

Trust me, I know. Let's see... while a teenager, I felt insecure about my clothes, my height, my weight (sometimes), my family (who usually I felt at odds with), the way I didn't appreciate the same books or activities my friends did, smart kids, my extreme 'averageness' and the fact that I enjoyed time by myself (people hinted that was strange).

During my one and only year at college, well, that was the peak of my Insecure Years. Let's not even go there.

In my 20's I was married and had a baby. I felt insecure about our homes, our furniture, our finances (though I tried to see saving money as a fun challenge) and how I couldn't seem to find one close woman friend (believing a Lucy-and-Ethel friendship would fix everything).  The way women in my church liked different books, music and tv shows than I did made me feel insecure about my own likes. I felt insecure when Tom sang duets with other women, oh, and when everybody else at church went on to have two or three babies while I could only have one.

In my early 30's I felt insecure about just about everything. We attended a church which--looking back--seemed to have a competitive spirit and I became as competitive as the best of them. That led to volunteering for tasks I should have left alone, some failures and some bad feelings between me and others. Things got better, but let's draw a curtain over those years, too.

But in my mid-30's! That's when God got a hold of me. Or I finally allowed Him to. Or whatever. Finally (long story) He became real to me, the friend I'd always wanted (better than an Ethel, even), the Friend who sticks closer than a brother. Basically, I fell head over heels in love with God and nothing has ever been the same.

And wow, over the last 17 years I've watched the insecurities shrink away almost into nothingness. The awfulness of "comparing themselves amongst themselves" has lost its agonizing power over me and now, if there's any comparing to be done, I compare my own laziness to Jesus' excellence and hang my head over that. But only for a moment--then I ask for forgiveness and help from Him to move on.

Of course, some of the falling away of insecurities comes from aging and becoming acquainted with your real self. Of becoming okay about how you're just on a different track than the people you once envied--and learning to truly rejoice when others prosper. Of deciphering what's important and what certainly is not and allowing people to inspire us rather than intimidate. Each of those can work together to increase our confidence.

But for me? Mostly it's that good old-fashioned love of God which so flooded my heart that it pushed out the ugly insecurities. The foolish comparisons. His love switched me over to a different track altogether, one which is taking me--by way of His overwhelming, always-here acceptance--to a place where I'm (albeit slowly) becoming who He created me to be. That's what matters now. That's the kind of security I want.


Now, occasionally an 'insecurity ball' does hit me from left field, but I always say, "Debra! That was so ten years ago. Get over it."  :)


"...wherein He has made us accepted in the Beloved." (Ephesians 1:6)


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Sara said...

Ahhh, ain't it great? I'll be your Ethel!

Debra said...

Sara--oooooh, that would be fun!! Sure! :) ... Debra

Anonymous said...

Good post, Debra. I am wondering if you ever sang a duet with your husband in church?? That is how and when my hubby and I fell in love, during the practice sessions together (it may have been some kind of joke when we were asked to sing together, but it turned out differently than planned perhaps). I would not be happy with my hubby spending that kind of time with another woman, even now. Because music is a powerful thing, being so intwined within our very being, and is an EASY place to make bonds with another person. Sometimes we need to listen to SOME of our feelings. I am not referring to all singing; in larger groups is a different story. (Look what happened to Amy Grant and Vince Gill...they claim not to have divorced because of their singing together, but they admit to the bonding of spirit that began there, while they were marrried to others).

Life is a journey, of learning that never ends I think. I am happy for you that things are so much better now. It is easier to live life "feeling ok in our own skin" and knowing that we were created to be just as we are. GOD loves diversity in peronality, tis so apparent! I guess most of us experience someplace in life, and for some of us more than the others, just what you have described. There will always be those who want to intimidate us. And times when we just feel that way, even if it is not so. Belonging to HIM and knowing HIM is what makes the difference isn't it? And like you, I have not found it terribly easy to find "kindred spirits" either.
Elizabeth in NC

Debra said...

Elizabeth--nah... I never did sing with Tom. *That* was one of those things I did try weedling my way into, couldn't get, and felt much frustration about in that one church. But! Singing is definitely *not* my gift so it would have been all wrong for me to try to force my way into it. I wanted it for all the wrong, selfish, fame-seeking reasons and that was just one of the many things on the list which made me unhappy. It feels so good now knowing what I'm called to do and what I'm not! Like night and day... and freedom. Blessings, Debra