LETTING GO OF INSECURITY
By: Woman of Joy-
Sarah J Hauser
I read a short poem once that stated the only opinion of you that matters is your own opinion. Who cares what others think, right? That’s how our culture answers the problem of insecurity. I get the sentiment, and I agree we can’t live our lives solely to placate others. But what happens when we have an exceedingly low opinion of ourselves? What happens when my opinion is that I shouldn’t exist any longer? Or what if I go too far the other direction, putting no stock in how my actions or words affect someone else and lean toward narcissism instead?
In both of those cases, I—and the world at large—would be better off if I did listen to what people around me had to say. Our insecurity is rooted in the fact that we are looking to ourselves or to others for our source of identity—and no one can give that to us. We keep trying to grasp for it anyway by seeking acceptance or attempting to control outcomes or juggling opinions. When we don’t succeed or gain the approval we want, even from ourselves, we feel like failures all the more. Then we drive that animal harder and harder, only to be more exhausted. We find ourselves trapped in an endless feedback loop, a hamster wheel of image management we can’t seem to quit.
Friend, beware of anyone who tells you to find yourself by only looking at yourself. Habakkuk, when talking about physical idols, wrote, “What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it?...For its maker trusts in his own creation” (Hab. 2:18). We might not be tempted to craft an image of gold or silver, but we are all too tempted to craft ourselves into our own image. Yet there is no wholeness, no fulfillment, no security in giving up reflecting God’s image so we can create and manage our own image instead.
We lose ourselves when we lose sight of the One we’re supposed to reflect; but when we look at Christ, we can become fully—and securely—ourselves. The message of Scripture is that we find our true knowledge of self, our true security, by first looking to God—and specifically who God is as revealed in Jesus Christ by the Spirit. “I have been crucified with Christ,” Paul wrote to the Galatians. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
"We lose ourselves when we lose sight of the One we’re supposed to reflect; but when we look at Christ, we can become fully—and securely—ourselves."
The truth about who we are in Christ means that we are free from leaning on ever-changing opinions to determine our value and identity. We’re free from needing to evaluate if we’re good enough, successful enough, talented enough, even humble enough. ‘“I am not good enough.’ It sounds very modest,” wrote Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “but it is the lie of the devil, it is a denial of the faith. You think that you are being humble. But you will never be good enough; nobody has ever been good enough. The essence of the Christian salvation is to say that He is good enough and that I am in Him!”
Our social media habits, our overanalyzing, our relationships, our workaholism, our fear—all those things are an attempt to answer the question of if we’re “enough.” But the gospel frees us from that uncertainty. Instead of trying to perform to gain approval, we can know Christ has already accepted us, and now we get to live out of that knowledge. In The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, Tim Keller wrote:
Do you realize that it is only in the gospel of Jesus Christ that you get the verdict before the performance?...In Christianity, the verdict leads to performance…You see, the verdict is in. And now I perform on the basis of the verdict. Because He loves me and He accepts me, I do not have to do things just to build up my résumé. I do not have to do things to make me look good. I can do things for the joy of doing them. I can help people to help people—not so I can feel better about myself, not so I can fill up the emptiness…The only person whose opinion counts looks at me and He finds me more valuable than all the jewels in the earth.
When we are secure in our place in the kingdom of God as His beloved child, we don’t need to prove ourselves in front of any judge or jury. The verdict is in, and we get to walk out of the courtroom the moment we are declared righteous through Christ. We are the Lord’s. Christ lives in us. Therefore, the question of whether we’re good enough isn’t even something we have to ask anymore.
Insecurity can leave us feeling trapped, joyless and stuck in a cycle of overanalyzing, overworking, overcommitting. But what would it look like to stand before our friends and family and the world and God with and know that no matter our scars and scrapes, our failures or even our fortunes, we are okay?
That’s the kind of freedom we can have when we know who we are in Christ. That’s the kind of rest we experience when we’re not overanalyzing opinions or trying to prove ourselves. That’s the joy we can experience when we know what God says about us and who Christ is in us.