“Do you think he dumped me because I wasn’t pretty enough?” Rebecca cried to her best friend through the wad of tissues in her hands. “I just don’t know what I did wrong?”
“I’ll never be seen as anything else.” Marjory scribbled feverishly in her journal. “I will forever be known as Marge the Barge. I hate this! I hate them! I hate my life!”
Every single woman in the world has them. Every single one of us. Some, like me, have several! We are too short or too tall. We hate our nose, our hair, or our tiny eyes. We aren’t skinny enough or…we’re too skinny. We’re either not smart enough or not cool enough. We have acne that never goes away or psoriasis that’s impossible to hide. We have an ugly birth mark or some sort of defect which receives unwanted attention. We’re too old. We’re too young. We have a past that haunts us and luggage that goes with it. Yes, insecurities can be crippling, devastating, and seem impossible to overcome. Like a prison, insecurities can lock us up, control us, keep us from doing things we normally would be doing, and kept there, we are captive.
The Nature of Insecurity
The old proverb, “The grass is always greener on the other side,” describes the nature of insecurity to a tee. No matter how perfect the insecure woman’s life may appear to everyone else, she isn’t satisfied with it. To her, something is missing, something needs to be improved, the grass over there is greener than the blades on which she stands. It goes beyond seeking to improve self and grow as a woman and reaches into a dark, sad, alienating place of perfectionism to which she can never attain. The nature of insecurity is demoralizing.
Often those who struggle with insecurities come across as some of the most confident women you’ll ever know. They have this “too cool for school” air about them when in reality, they’re scared to death you’ll uncover one of their flaws and expose them for who they really are. So they overcompensate in other areas. They tell you how much they know so you don’t see how alone they really are. They’re constantly correcting those around them to make their own flaws diminish in comparison. These are the women who seem to have it all together on the outside, even though they have doubts about everything they do. The nature of insecurity is deceitful.
And when it comes to love, the nature of insecurity can be self-sabotaging. Psychology Today said, “Most people seek a soul mate to love them unconditionally. But those who need such acceptance most—the terminally insecure—often sabotage their own chances at bliss.” They believe their faults are so glaringly obvious that their boyfriend or spouse will break up with them sooner or later, so they might as well come to terms with the fact that this relationship isn’t going to last. In reality, their guy may be completely unaware of these faults or doesn’t see them as deal-breakers. Insecurities in dating circles can be very dangerous as well. Many times women who feel insecure about themselves are the ones who fall prey to the bad boy’s manipulative and controlling behavior. The nature of insecurity is damaging.
The Lie of Insecurity
At the core of every insecurity is a lie. Insecurity tells us that life would be better if we were prettier, skinnier, taller, shorter, funnier, not flat-chested or didn’t have Uncle Herbert’s nose. If only we looked different, acted different, had a different family, different job, different life, everything would be better. But as it is, life stinks, and we stink with it. But God’s Word says the opposite. His Word tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Genesis 1:27), and before a single one of our days came into existence, God had already been looking ahead, planning it all out (Psalm 139)! God’s Word says that every day is a day that the Lord has made, therefore we should rejoice and be glad for it (Psalm 118).
Insecurity tells us that our lives could be better if we had made wiser choices in the past. Because of those wrong decisions we have made, insecurity tells us that we now have to suffer through life . We don’t deserve good things because we’ve been bad people. So women find themselves in abusive relationships and emotional turmoil struggling to find a way out because the insecurity from their past has lied to them, and they’ve believed it. But God’s Word says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1). His Word tells us that He wants to give us an abundant life full of joy and peace (John 10:10). While consequences to the past may exist, His Word encourages us that God’s plans and purposes are to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:4-14).
At the core of every insecurity, pride is also found. Richard Winters, in his book, Perfecting Ourselves to Death, says this about insecurity, “Although perfectionists seem very insecure, doubting their decisions and actions, fearing mistakes and rejection, and having low opinions of themselves, at the same time, they have excessively high personal standards and an exaggerated emphasis on precision, order and organization, which suggests an aspiration to be better than others.” In short, low-self esteem is a pride problem because self is still the focus of your attention. Regardless of the fact that low-self esteem puts self down, defeats self, and demoralizes self, the fact remains that it’s still all about self. With self at the focus, it is by definition an issue of pride.
Breaking Out of the Prison called Insecurity
One of the biggest challenges a life of insecurity brings is the role emotions play in all of it. Emotions can be very convincing, almost more convincing than hard evidence. This is why Scripture warns us about our emotions, telling us to not trust in our hearts; they are desperately trying to lead us astray (Jeremiah 17:9). So what are we to do when our insecurities are screaming that we’re not good enough? How are we to combat the emotional imprisonment into which a life of insecurity locks us?
- Don’t forsake a promise of God for the prison of a lie. So often we choose to believe the very thing we know is NOT true. And we exchange the truth we know about God, how He’s created us, how He loves us, how He’s working His will out in our lives, and we swap it out for lies, how we’re not good enough, not pretty enough, not happy enough, not cool enough, not confident enough to be loved in a relationship or used in a ministry. To combat these insecurities, you must think on truth.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – Philippians 4:8
- Know who you are in Christ. Because pride has a role in making the insecure person focus inwardly, humility needs to play a part in breaking her free. She must see that it is who we are in Christ where our significance lies, not who we are in and of ourselves.
If you want to know who you are in Christ, study the first chapter of Ephesians. Here’s just a few of things you will find:
In Christ, we have every spiritual blessing bestowed on us (vs. 3).
In Christ, we were chosen before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless (vs. 4).
In Christ, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins (vs 7)!
In Christ, we have obtained an inheritance (vs. 11).
In Christ, we were sealed with the promise of the Holy Spirit (vs. 13).
- Have accountability. It’s so important to have sisters in Christ who can pull you up when you’re feeling down, remind you of the truth in God’s Word when the lies are louder than anything else, and pray for you when your insecurities seem overwhelming.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
- Remind yourself of the truth. Have key passages of Scripture memorized that you can recite when your insecurities come creeping in to steal your joy. If you struggle with self-image, memorize a passage like Psalm 139:13-16. If you’re anxious about your future and feel as though God is withholding good from your life, hide Psalm 84:11 in your heart. If you feel insecure about your past, memorize Romans 8:1.
The prison called insecurity is locked from the inside out, and the keys to freedom are in God’s Word.
Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart my fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”