A dear sweet young lady with tears filling her eyes asked me, “Is insecurity a sin?” — and I said as hard as I possibly could, “No, no it is not, and God loves you exactly as you are.”
She was anxious, afraid, trembling, and completely ashamed of herself. I understood: because inside all of us is that scared twelve-year-old kid who is terrified of screwing it up, having convinced themselves they’ve missed the bus on life or that everyone else has got the secret-sauce to success.
But I also knew that insecurity could lead to some bad places, so I told her —
“I think you just need to let yourself out to play.”
On one hand, I’ve seen how insecurity can spark the worst sort of hatred. It can force a desperate, manic heart of compensation by constantly trying to out-perform the next guy in the room. It protects itself so it’s easy to get offended, to have a hyper-sensitivity, to misinterpret harmless words as an attack, to jump to wild conclusions, to throw people into defense, to hold a self-pity that expects apologies, and to go down rabbit trails of “I don’t like how you said it” instead of focusing on the actual issue. That’s a lose-lose situation.
There’s also that slimy little insecure monster that abuses authority and wreaks hell on others: “I can’t stand that you’re better than me, so instead of working on me or learning from you or supporting your growth, I’ll just ruin you to feel better about myself.” I’ve been in the direct path of that whirlwind.
That doesn’t mean he’s such a bad dude: he usually doesn’t know he’s doing it. He’s too insecure to admit he’s insecure. He’s accustomed to people talking in circles and no one has really taken him to the side and said, “This is not okay.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to be truthful with an insecure dude only to see a pushback with the force of a nuclear bomb, because truth is too painful and “church-nice” is such a top priority.
This isn’t cute, and it doesn’t work.
The sooner you can see that, the sooner you can get the help you need.
On the other hand, there’s the heart-breaking story: that insecurity can poison someone on the inside until they feel worthless, incompetent, unloved, and barely third place. It prevents someone from speaking up, going out, enjoying company, and feeling any peace about themselves. It’s devastating and hardly holding on: “I don’t deserve good out of anything because I’m anything but good. No one could possibly like me for who I am.”
And I’m telling you: you’re dead wrong.
You can totally let yourself out to play: and anyone who has a problem with that says more about them than you.
Continue reading “Insecurity Is Not A Sin: But It Doesn’t Work Either”