The cure for the Insecure: Overcoming the Illness and Infection of Insecurity

 The Illness: What is Insecurity? 

Insecurity:

Uncertainty or anxiety about oneself; lack of confidence.
“she had a deep sense of insecurity”
synonyms: lack of confidence, self-doubt, diffidence unassertiveness, timidity, uncertainty, nervousness, inhibition 
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I’m not happy to admit that lately words that I normally wouldn’t use to describe me have become my norm. As I read this definition again the pang in my heart intensifies. Not only does it relate to my state of mind the past couple of weeks, but I also know in my heart being insecure goes against who God has created me to be. I’ve struggled with a bout of insecurity over the past month. Insecurity has infiltrated my system. I can only write this now because I  can at least catch glimpses of light at the end of the tunnel. I’m not where I want to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be. I’m moving forward in faith and my feelings can catch up with me later.

The Infection: How dangerous is it? 

Insecurity blindsided me. Insecurity took a joyful, compassionate, vibrant woman overflowing with excitement and happiness surrounding a promotion at work and turned her into a doubting, uncertain, nervous, and timid Tiffany. Once the illness weakened me the infection spread.  I began to compare myself to others, and the once Christ-confident girl turned into a coward. I know God doesn’t waste anything. I know he can use me as much, if not more, in my weakness as he does in my strength. Insecurity will strike again, but when it does I will be equipped with the armor I need to conquer my enemy and anything thrown my way. I will face and fight my fears with faith. 

“The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy: I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
John 10:10

If you haven’t heard yet let me be the first to tell you the devil is a thief and a liar. He robbed me of my reward. He dared to destroy my dreams. He killed my kindness. I was no longer living an abundant life. I knew I needed to take back what was rightfully mine, but similar to a doctor’s visit you have to list your symptoms to diagnose the disease before the proper prescription can be given.

Signs and Symptoms

1. I became a drain.

I wasn’t just a drain on myself, but on others around me. That’s the thing about insecurity – it forces me to look to others to validate me, accept me and give me a pat on the back. This wasn’t the norm for me. If people validate me, great. If not, it didn’t bother me because I wasn’t looking to them for approval. I constantly looked upward.  It was always great to receive, but not something I felt I constantly needed to function. Now, I was desperately looking for anybody to affirm me and not to help my thrive, simply to help me survive. I desperately needed to shift from barely surviving to fully thriving.

2. I isolated myself.

I didn’t want to see people and I didn’t want them to see me out of character. I’m a magnet because the Holy Spirit dwells within me.  I draw people in, but I started to push people away. I even limited myself on social media to accelerate my healing. Looking at social media when you are struggling with insecurity is probably the worse thing you can do. Why? Because your heart is bitter that everybody else appears to be happy and having fun why you can’t figure out what is wrong with you. You compare your behind the scenes with someone’s highlight reel as Steven Furtick says. It becomes both time and life sucking if used while in the wrong state of mind. Basically, I reverted back to my introverted tendencies. I avoided people. I wanted to hide in my shell. Usually, I’m singing, dancing and smiling down the hallways and now I was slinking and shrinking to my cube.

3. I avoided God.

Not that I can actually avoid God, but I sure did try! I  couldn’t even get out of bed in the morning. I would snooze my alarm clock until the last possible minute and even then I had to give myself a pep talk to even pry my eyes open. Usually, my FaithTime with God in the morning is my favorite part of the day. I love reading his word as He speaks to my heart and I learn more about my creator and the one who knows everything about me. It’s pretty ironic how in the times you need live-giving words the most you can’t generate the energy to quench your thirst and eat your daily bread. I was starving myself. I needed to eat until I was full, but instead, I skipped the most important meal of the day.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

I discovered when you are insecure it’s difficult to approach the throne with confidence…if at all. My extensive reading and journaling in the morning dwindled to maybe 5 minutes of scripture. It was all I could muster in the moment. I was fighting for my faith. It took every ounce of discipline to spend a sliver of time reading scripture. I went days without journaling. Normally, I pray bold prayers and my prayers were lacking that zeal and boldness too. Insecurity infected all areas of my life. 

4. I compared myself

“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” I definitely felt rotten. Normally, I rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn, but I was more concerned with keeping up appearances than keeping up with the ones I love. I’m even ashamed to say I tried to keep up with the Joneses. I felt inadequate because, unlike my peers, I didn’t have an ivy league education which made me feel out of there league. I went so far to listen to free Yale classes online, but fell asleep twenty minutes in. I guess I wouldn’t have made it there anyway. But as a wise friend told me, “Tiffany you are not Yale and that’s what makes you YOU.” It made sense. Slowly, I started to not only accept who I am but embrace my place. Who I am got me to where I am. Why would I suddenly want to conform to the world? Why would I try to fit in when I’m born to stand out? 

5. I became paranoid

If I heard people laughing I assumed they were laughing at a dumb question I asked. If I saw people whispering I assumed they were whispering about a mistake I made. If someone I went to talk to was not in the best mood I assumed they were annoyed with me and rather talk to a chair than meet with me. Talk about exhausting. The Christ-confident Tiffany would just bloom where she was planted, but now I took my eyes off the sun and looked to what was growing around me.

6. I entertained negative thoughts.

Your words become your world. They have the power to build you up or break you down.

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

My mind was dwelling on every possible negative outcome and destructive thought it could create. Within five minutes of my mind wandering I lost my job, my possessions and my loved once all at once. Like Steven Furtick taught me if you can’t end your thought with “and that’s just the way I like it” then you don’t need to say it. Negativity only breeds more negativity. I had to break the pattern that my mind was beginning to form. Train your brain!

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

The cure 

1. Divine Doctor Appointment

God is the ultimate physician, but often he places specific people in our lives to relay a message to us, reaffirm scripture or pray over us. God literally and quite unexpectedly put a woman in my life so full of faith it placed the desire in my heart to fight for my faith. She reminded me not only who God is, but who I am in Christ. The devil might try and take me down, but you better believe I wasn’t going to go down without a fight.

2. Written word

I had a breakdown on Sunday of last week. I just sobbed my heart out and asked what was wrong with me. I was tired of feeling under attack. I was tired of fighting for my faith. I stumbled across a book a friend bought for me a year ago. At the time, I didn’t read the book because it didn’t apply to my life, but boy did I need it now!  Sunday night I read the book in one sitting. I resembled a sponge as I absorbed every word on every page. I began to speak the live-giving scripture out loud and declare to myself who God is. Warning: This might be extremely uncomfortable at first. The more you declare God’s promises, the more confident you become. You just have to get through that awkward middle-school dance phase.

3. Worship

You have to bluff it until you believe it. Even if you don’t feel like worship, give it your all. This week I finally woke up when my alarm went off. I spent time in the word, I journaled bold prayers and I listened to a sermon each morning. I started to do what I had stopped doing. It’s crazy to me how easy it is to backslide in your faith until you are so far gone you don’t even know if you can get back to where you once were. I just keep fighting through. I didn’t want to lose the joy of my salvation.

The Prescription

God will often reaffirm His word when he is really trying to speak to you. For me, he did this in three ways.

1. To Correct me

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”
Matthew 16:33

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
Psalm 51:12

“She seldom reflects on the days of her life, because God keeps her occupied with gladness of heart.”
Ecclesiastes 5:20

Ecclesiastes 5:20, one of my favorites verses, always reminded me how I am focused on moving forward into God’s future for me, not staring at what I’ve left behind. Since I made my faith my own last year, my heart was completely full and happy to live each day as an adventure to do God’s will. Over the past month, I dreaded getting out of bed. I didn’t want to face people. Even though I knew God never leaves me or forsakes me I felt like he brought me this far and then decided he was done. He dropped me off to deal with life on my own.

2. To cultivate confidence 

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:7

This promise is the EXACT opposite of the definition for insecurity. As I reread this verse I was reminded that although I FEEL timid my faith reminds me timidity is no longer a part of my DNA.

3. To Compel me

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10

I hope you leave this blog encouraged knowing that God does not want insecurity to define or destroy your life, but instead he can use the insecurity you are feeling to direct you to the path of christ-confident living. He wants you to abundantly thrive not narrowly survive. He will prepare you for what he has prepared for you. Hang on tight. It won’t be easy, but if you fight for your faith and battle your brain you will win the war being waged in your thoughts. God will restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 

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