We all have traits about ourselves that we are not proud of, and consciously or sub-consciously try to hide from others around us. We are scared about exposing our skeletons in the closet because they might change how much others respect and love us. A deeper look at this concern shows points to idolatry, shifting the weight, meaning and authority of God’s opinion about you to someone else (even if that person is you).
To be clear, I’m not trivializing the pain of rejection, nor am I condemning people wanting to avoid that pain. Rejection is a penetrating, excruciating wound that the human spirit was not designed to entertain or nonchalantly dismiss. What I am addressing is the relative importance we place on rejection from others versus acceptance from God. Jesus saw the rejection and brutality of His crucifixion; He even sweat blood thinking about enduring it! Yet Hebrews 12:2 says that He belittled and trivialized the shame of the cross in comparison to the joy set before Him.
Insecurity is, in essence, imbalanced scales: assigning too much weight to others’ opinion and too little weight to God’s opinion. We need to apply a similar approach to others’ scorn and rejection as Christ did: recognize that it is painful and brutal, but it is also inconsequential compared to the vastness of God’s acceptance. When you focus more on the intensity and steadfastness of God’s love than on others’ love for you, insecurity won’t have legs to stand on.
Even though we don’t want our insecurities to be seen by others, they allow us to see crucial and surprising things about ourselves. In addition to idolatry, insecurity reveals the level of our theology. Many of us can quickly recite that we are new creatures in Christ, and that the old has passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17). But if we really believed that the old has passed away, we would believe that it took our past sins and deficiencies with it. The choking shame so many of us carry from things we’ve done before runs counter to the truth of that scripture.
The same sun that gives us light to see can also blind us if we look at it directly. Similarly, our insecurities shed light on our spiritual shortfalls as much as they blind us from focusing on substantially more important problems.
Insecurity blinds us from the nature and severity of our real flaws. We think our biggest flaw is our hairline or dysfunctional family, instead of the markedly more damning issue of our sinful nature. Your greed is a much bigger problem than your grades. Your bitterness is a much bigger problem than your body type. While a few extra hours at school or at the gym can fix your insecurities, it took the brutal, bloody death of an immortal Saviour to fix your life’s biggest problem: sin.
Blood in my Eye
The wound of insecurity bleeds into our insight into others’ challenges as well. When our flaws become front row and centre, they become the lens through which we understand our circumstances, and subsequently, the currency we apply to others’ circumstances as well. In doing so, we (inaccurately) assume that other people who share our deficiencies will respond in the same way we would.
For instance, a man who is embarrassed about how his money woes strained his marriage will assume another husband with a similar financial status will wreak the same havoc. Instead of humbly learning about his counterpart’s unique situation (regarding his personality, his relationship with his wife, or his faith), the former will more than likely project his issues onto the latter. In doing so, he will reference irrelevant stereotypes and hurtful presumptions instead of appropriate, personalized advice. Our insecurity robs our brothers and sisters in Christ of having their iron sharpened with iron (Proverbs 27:17).
Insecurity blinds you from what God is doing in your life. All you can see are the ways in which you are undeserving of an influential platform, or incapable of accomplishing a goal. It’s easy to dismiss the ways in which God is using you or trying to position you to bless, teach or minister to others. For instance, because of your past promiscuity, you refuse opportunities God provides you to teach others about sexual purity. You can dismiss the very handiwork of God because the packaging and mode of delivery doesn’t line up with the standard you expect it to come in. In doing so, you are not only showing disdain for yourself as a precious image-bearer of God, but also disdain for God’s strength which is made perfect in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Scales on our Eyes
Here’s the one thing all insecurities have in common: they have nothing to do with our identity in Christ. What could possibly be embarrassing about being the child of an all-powerful King? Or being fearfully and wonderfully made? Or being seated in heavenly places with authority over angels? Or being co-heirs with the Source of all wealth?
Insecurity is always caused by unbalancing the scales: focusing our attention on the temporal instead of the eternal, on the shallow and trivial instead of the essential and significant. May the piercing Light of God’s Truth cause the scales on our eyes to fall.
Kacy Garvey is a Christian poet, speaker and activist. In 2011, she launched "Rahab", an outreach to prostitutes in Geneva, Switzerland. She is a USAID certified HIV Testing and Counselling Provider and has also successfully completed training in Trafficking in Persons conducted by the International Organisation on Migration (IOM). She performs original pieces of spoken word poetry to various audiences, and in 2014 and 2018, she launched “Undone” and “Water Jar”, the first and only Christian poetry albums published in Jamaica thus far. As a founding member of the Love March Movement (since 2012) and #MarriageMattersJA (since 2018), she is a regular presenter on the science, politics and biblical worldviews on sex and sexuality. In January 2021, Kacy launched Caribbean Christian Response, an online movement that reviews the news from a biblical worldview and gathers millennials across the region to pray together and seek God’s heart on these issues.