“I have insecurities,” I told a close friend earlier this month. “I just want you to know that.”
Truth be told, I have hidden behind this line for almost all of the 24 years that I’ve been alive on this earth. If I say it out loud, then I have given everybody enough warning and I no longer have to get into the messy -- and terrifying -- business of actually thinking about it.
There is something very comforting about wallowing in your insecurities.
It gives you ammunition for your daily “rage against the world” speech or an excuse for why you can’t play on the worship team this Sunday or publish that poem you’ve been writing for a millennium and a half.
It becomes easier to hate. After all, you can blame people and their comments on the darkness of your skin, your need to exercise until you hit size zero and other miscellaneous, often misconstrued comments that fly between messed up people living in a messy world.
When 2017 began, I felt God ask me what I thought was a simple question – “How long will you let this go on?”
“Soon,” I replied. “Soon, I will get over this. Soon, You and Your love will be first in my heart and I will be confident. I won’t crave people’s appreciation or hide behind my insecurities any longer.”
Five months have passed and I still find it difficult to write this article for a public blog.
The thing is, it’s always been very easy to twist the word “insecurity” and make it seem like I am the humblest person on earth; when in reality, God is showing me that it’s a steaming, hot layer of pride that's coating the whole issue.
A simple question like, “Would you like to sing on the worship team this Sunday?” merits a very quick shake of a bowed head. In fact, I’ve spent most of my life avoiding eye contact and trying not to answer questions in groups in case I’m horrifically wrong or I misunderstood the question or have a “stupid” reply.
Yes, I have stage fear. Yes, I am terrified of the consequences of failure. But now, I can see that underneath all this is a deep-rooted pride that keeps shouting: “I cannot fail, failure is unacceptable, I cannot withstand humility and worst of them all, vulnerability! How can I put myself out there so much?”
It is so difficult to see this pride and self-obsession, sneaking around and masking itself. It’s frustrating and confusing and my favourite activity amidst all this is to just sit in this mess and refuse to do anything about it.
The thing is, Jesus has a way of speaking to the most insecure, proud heart, stripping layers and layers away until you begin to see the true depth and width of sin hiding deep inside. After all, He…
who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross! Philippians 2: 6-8
Jesus gave up everything! Jesus put Himself out there; He was vulnerable; He was humiliated beyond belief. Everything was stripped away from Him, even the Father; and the sin of every person in the entire world who lived, lives and will live was poured onto Him.
I have always had a human understanding of fear, as something that is a close cousin to terror and anxiety. Fear was inextricably linked to what I thought about myself and what I could or could not do.
But Jesus turns everything on its head. He is the King of kings who is humble, the Lord of lords who serves, the Saviour who covers us with grace and then begins to work on and through us.
Recently, I re-read this verse in a whole new light:
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 134: 14
I have always gone straight to the “wonderfully”, happily feeding my one-dimensional view of God as someone who comforts and reassures. I have ignored “fearfully”, a word that I have misunderstood until very recently.
To “fear” this God is to behold Him who is awesome and majestic, not me who is flawed and broken. “Fearfully” is how He made me, to reflect His glory and beauty and not my inadequacies. It’s all about Him and who He is and what He is doing!
In the moments when He reminds me to turn from my pride to look at who He is, I see the truth of who I am, not through my own strength or understanding, but through what He has done for me.
Then, not only do I have no excuses to hide, but also the steadfast love and grace of Jesus to take away all fear and worry. I can only pray that the rest of this year is filled with more and more of Him and less and less of me.
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