Where is Your Journey Leading You?
Jan 04, 2021
Have you ever struggled with personal insecurities or felt like you didn't belong? I have had these feelings before, but it was hard for me to understand why they affected me so much, much less pinpoint their source. However, as I matured in my walk with the Lord and pursued healing and wholeness in my life, I am now able to more easily recognize that some of the seeds of insecurities and inadequacies that were planted in my heart and mind came through insensitive words and off the cuff comments from others. Some examples are:
- "You had to become a missionary because you knew you couldn't make it in the real world."
- "You won't amount to much without a college education."
- "Your personality is too strong for Asian culture. You’ll find it hard to connect with people and to be effective in your work."
I tried to ignore and brush off such words and comments. Still, the truth of the matter is that they became like little poison pods that attached themselves to my heart and affected how I viewed myself. It also impacted how I carried myself and I became easily intimidated by others. Although I don't solely blame my insecurities and lack of confidence on the words of others, I would be remiss to dismiss the impact they have had on my attitudes, thoughts, and actions. The more I heard such comments as I entered adulthood, the easier it was to sink into the quicksand of insecurity and inadequacy.
Hollywood movies often show that when someone stumbles into quicksand, there is no escape. They don’t show us that it is possible to escape quicksand and survive. The same is true for those of us who are stuck in our very own quicksand of insecurities and feelings of inadequacy. Despite whatever poison pods we have encountered on our life's journey and the subsequent insecurities we have embraced, there is a path that enables us to thrive in life. Here are some lessons I have learned on that journey.
Perfection Isn't the Answer
As broken people in a fallen world, none of us are immune from insecurities. But the real test comes in how we deal with those insecurities. In my own life, my insecurities were sometimes so intense that I felt the only way I could overcome them was to somehow become perfect, both in my own eyes and the eyes of others. My efforts resulted in quite the opposite: my failures in trying to be perfect only increased my insecurities. The truth is, I can't be perfect, but I can commit to a life-giving community. I can't be perfect, but I can be authentic with others. I can't be perfect, but I can pursue wholeness in my life. I have learned that to walk in freedom from insecurities means that I should stop chasing this mirage of perfection and commit to the path of continual healing through God and walking in His ways.
You Always Have Something to Contribute
Since insecurities breed feelings of inadequacy, my insecurities caused me to feel that I had nothing to contribute to others and that I did not belong in certain situations, especially with those who were more successful or more educated than me. As I began to work through the insecurities in my heart and mind, I recognized that the question I needed to ask myself wasn't whether I was adequate or belonged, but whether I was faithful with where God has placed me and with what He has asked me to do. My insecurities used to hold me back, but I now know that the healing and restored wholeness that happened in my life are what God uses to bring hope to others. And because God is able to use our brokenness for His glory, we can encourage ourselves in the fact that we can all be instruments of hope in God's Kingdom.
Healing Leads to Love
Lastly, my insecurities would often cause me to fear others. I would fear saying the wrong thing. I would fear not being liked by others or even being rejected by them. My fear of man eventually led me to become a people pleaser who was always chasing others' approval so that I could feel better about myself. Yet, as the Lord has worked throughout my life and brought healing in the areas where I struggled with insecurities and feelings of inadequacy, I found myself better equipped to love people and not fear them, and to serve people and not just try to please them. Our wholeness is not just for us but for others as well. For as we become more like Jesus, we live more like Jesus. We sound more like Jesus. We love more like Jesus. Shouldn't that be enough motivation for us to pursue healing and wholeness in our lives?
This healing journey is a long-term one for all of us, and we won't reach the finish line until our Lord and Savior returns. But that doesn't mean that we don't seek His healing touch in our lives here and now. Let us give whatever insecurities and feelings of inadequacies we have over to the loving hand of our Lord. As Max Lucado says so well,
“Our Savior kneels and gazes upon the darkest acts of our lives. But rather than recoil in horror, he reaches out in kindness and says, ‘I can clean that if you want’.”