What does INSECURITY look like?

What does insecurity look like? 

We typically assume that insecurity appears shy, introverted, fearful and anxious, with a weak voice and perhaps a stutter.

Not true. In fact, insecurity looks like many people who appear to "have it all together". It looks like me, and perhaps it looks like you.

Following is an actual conversation that took place about 30 years ago that struck me deeply enough to remember it after all these years. I was 23 years old and completely full of myself.

One cold and blustery day . . .

“You’re so lucky.” 
My pen froze as I looked up at the young convenience store clerk now leaning into my personal space as I wrote my check for fuel. (This was before pay at the pump)

           "Pfft. What do you mean? How am I lucky?"
“Well, what’s it like to be so pretty?” 
Embarrassed, I looked around to see if anyone else was close enough to hear. It was just her and me.
“Are you serious?” I replied. 
She nodded her sincerity, but how does one answer a question like that? 
“Your life seems so perfect,” she added.
"Seems" was the key word. 

Suddenly I felt a little guilty. I knew she gathered her perception by appearance only. I was dressed to the nines that afternoon—fox coat, nice jewelry, big hair, perfect makeup, nice car. (This was the 80s by the way) “If she only knew”, I thought. But, I appeased her sincerity. 
“To be honest”, I told her; “it is both good and bad. It has opened a lot of doors, but closed a lot of doors as well”. 

“And if you really want to know the truth, I am extremely insecure, and do not believe or trust most compliments.  But yours, I do accept. So, thank you.” 
I left, and chalked it up to the strangest convenience store encounter I’d ever had.

I look back on that encounter today, nearly 30 years later. I am no longer the fit “hard body” I once was at age 23. Gray has replaced the sun streaked hair of my youth. Time has etched its indelible tracks in the skin once so firm and smooth. The spring in my step creaks when I first get out of bed, feeling more like a tangled Slinky in the mornings; one that takes a little while to loosen. 

But not everything has changed. I still occasionally struggle with insecurity. Certainly not as much as I used to, but it still peaks around the corner at times, reminding me that I will never be good enough, listing every reason why I should throw in the towel.

I am not who I was at age 23 physically, emotionally, and praise God, spiritually. But even though my faith journey is more than 20 years old, insecurity is a battle I’ve yet to completely conquer. And like I once distrusted compliments, I find myself now distrusting God’s judgement in using someone like me. Someone so broken and bruised. So undependable and untrustworthy.

I want to trust Him. I say that I trust Him, but my actions prove otherwise. I tend to measure myself against the skill and accomplishments of others rather than trusting God's work in me, giving me His desires and power to do what pleases Him (Phil. 2:13), and in His timing.

Recently, I revisited a favorite childhood Bible story of David and Goliath, but now through the eyes and heart of a maturing faith that hungers for God. 

David was the youngest son of Jesse, and still just a youth. But God had already chosen him to be king of Israel; a position he would not fill for many years. However, God chose him above all his older and much stronger brothers, especially his oldest brother, Eliab, an experienced and accomplished stud-warrior in the army of Israel. 
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his (Eliab’s) appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7)
God saw something of great value in David. He saw a heart after His own. David trusted in the Lord, fully confident that his strength came from God and not from his own might. (1 Sam. 17:45) 

Our greatest facades are often fashioned not to conceal our greatest sins, but rather, our vast emptiness. The hardest thing to conceal is that which is not even there. (crafted from an Eric Hoffer quote)

People are impressed with our strengths, but they connect with us in our weaknesses. (Craig Groeschel) 

Often, our insecurities come from an unhealthy preoccupation with “self”, with an “it’s all about me” mentality. Self-absorption and pride make for a lethal cocktail in relationships, and can hinder God’s work as well, as we often get in the way of what God is doing. 
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” (Romans 12:3)
True security comes when we recognize that God is the true source of our joy, peace, and righteousness (Romans 14:17), as well as the strength and work of our hands (Is. 30:15, Prov. 31:31, Ps. 90:17). God  promises that He will keep us in perfect peace when our minds are stayed on Him, because our trust is in Him. (Isaiah 26:3)  God will supply all our needs, not according to our assets, abilities, or resources, but according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19) 

Jer. 17:7 says, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord." Placing our trust in our strengths, abilities, physical appearance, or wealth only increases our insecurity for fear of losing it.

Every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17), and not of our own creation. God saw something of great value in David; He found something of value in me and He sees the same in you, no matter how blemished your past.  With open arms and a willing spirit, receive all that God has set aside for you. Polish it, practice and perfect it, using what God has given you for His glory and the empowerment and enrichment in the faith of others. 

Your thoughts?

Have you ever struggled with insecurity? 

Have you ever assumed someone else had it all together simply by their appearance?