I felt anxious from the moment I walked into the new Sunday school classroom. Without warning, countless insecurities filled my mind. I suddenly felt very ugly and alone.
These unpleasant thoughts consume me constantly. Whether I’m at work, in class, at church, or with friends, I can expect to feel unconfident and even intimidated.
Unfortunately, insecurity is just a part of life. There’s no way to avoid it or delay it. We can’t expect it to go away when we get older, and we can’t better ourselves so that we no longer experience it. It’s simply a consequence of the Fall when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden.
Insecurity in a Nutshell
On Dictionary.com, the definition of insecurity is a “lack of confidence or assurance; self-doubt”. Insecurity manifests itself in many ways. It can lead to obsessions, disorders, depression, or social withdrawal. When you walk into a new church, start a new job, or meet a new person, you’ll probably feel insecure. We all do.
But that’s the secret about insecurity that nobody tells us: Everyone feels insecure.
Your neighbor might be bragging about his amazing family again, but he probably feels insecure. The new woman at church may have countless people trying to befriend her, but she probably feels insecure. Your coworker might be snickering at you as you train in your new job, but he likely feels insecure. No matter how often he brags, no matter how many friends she has, and no matter how loud his laughter is, we all feel intimidated and powerless in social situations.
Living with the Truth about Insecurity
Our insecurities might revolve around our families, jobs, bodies, popularity, homes, finances, spirituality, or even social media followers. Though this aspect of life doesn’t go away, it can get better. Here are a few things we can remember when we’re dealing with insecurity:
1. Everyone struggles with insecurity. Even if we can’t see others’ discomfort and self-doubt, they have it. They probably won’t express it, and they may not even realize they have it. We can’t expect others to discuss their fears and social anxieties, but we should realize that everyone has them.
2. We don’t need to be afraid to share our insecurities. It’s hard being the first one to share our fears and worries, but discussing them openly can help others be encouraged to do the same. Your honesty can assure others that they’re not struggling alone.
3. In contrast, we can (and should) find friends who are willing to share their insecurities. The reverse of being a genuine friend is having genuine friends! We can draw strength from knowing that those close to us are asking the same questions and doubting the same things we are. Maybe your friend is also wondering if he’ll ever get married or if she’ll ever be able to lose weight or if she’ll ever feel close to God. Their honesty can assure you that you’re not struggling alone.
4. Understanding who we are in Christ eases our worries about who we think we are. We can focus on what we feel like we are or who we wish we were, but, instead, we must choose to focus on who we really are as Christians. Peter wrote, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9 ESV). No matter how insecure you feel, you can trust that you are loved unconditionally by the King of Kings.
Bearing One Another’s Burdens—and Insecurities
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul stated, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). We aren’t designed to carry our struggles, doubts, and insecurities alone. We must support others in their faith and ask for support in our faith because the body of Christ is called to do so.
My hope is that we will realize that everyone is uncomfortable in social situations and that everyone has doubts about themselves. The key to dealing with insecurity is remembering that you don’t have to feel alone in it. You may not be able to see others’ insecurities, but those insecurities are just as real as yours.
We can handle our insecurities together by remembering that we all struggle with them, we can honestly discuss them, we should seek out honest friends, and we are beloved children of the King.