Recently I joined up with The Loft after hearing about it through one of my favorite bloggers, Arabah Joy. The topic for writing this week is “Your greatest insecurity”.
I’ve been pondering this one for a few days–trying to pick just one–and realized that insecurity itself is my greatest insecurity! I simply want my loved ones to be safe, and I want to feel safe. This is a basic concern for most people, but I have a particular knack for thinking of the worst case scenario in every situation, especially at night when it’s time to sleep.
Painful insecurity comes from having a marriage dissolve after eight years. A vow I took and intended to last until death was grievously dissolved in a court room one day as if it never happened. At that time, every aspect of life felt insecure.
Some insecurity relates to health issues and fear of accidents. I worked as a respiratory therapist in various areas at the hospital and witnessed the effects of numerous diseases, as well witnessing injuries from accidents, violence and mishaps. Every symptom experienced by myself or my family is a potential cause to run to Dr. Google. Talk about finding worse case scenarios!
How about the security of living in a long term home? Since leaving my parent’s home 25 years ago at the age of 18, I haven’t lived consecutively in the same home/apartment/trailer for longer than three years. The moving has often gone hand-in-hand with financial insecurity related to unemployment or job changes.
Natural disasters? I’ve been in the direct path of two tornadoes. Violence? I’ve lived within 2 blocks of a man who drove through areas that surrounded our normally peaceful neighborhood one afternoon, randomly shooting as he went to kill others intentionally. I’ve had a person I trusted threaten to kill me and prevent me from calling for help. Wild animals? I hit a deer with my car 3 times. No! Let me correct it for the record: The deer have hit ME!
I’ve had one of those most dreaded phone calls one Sunday morning, hearing that a dear friend/cousin died suddenly, unexpectedly in the heart of her mothering years. We waited for several weeks to hear results from the autopsy report that she had a rare heart condition. Life itself is fragile, and it is shattering to lose someone my age.
Being a mom brings up all sorts of insecurity and fears for my children. When my children were babies, I rarely slept at night, feeling I should be on alert and reassuring myself that they were breathing. As they grow older, new fears develop. Like a Mama bear, I want to protect them, physically, emotionally and spiritually. The fears and worries about my pregnancy this spring did nothing to stop another miscarriage from happening. I have had two babies in my womb that I simply could not protect.
Last week our pastor preached from Luke 12, the classic passage where Jesus tells his disciples “Do not worry.” I copied something pastor said in my notes:
We can’t change even the smallest things by worrying.
Confession: In my head, I get this crazy idea that by anticipating tragedy, perhaps I can prevent it! Worrying makes me somehow feel more secure, as if I can prevent things from happening by preparing for the worst outcome.
Can I stop another deer from crossing my path? Can I stop another tornado from forming near my family? Can I keep my husband safe on his drive home from work? Stop a terrorist attack?
The symptoms of post traumatic stress have affected me over the years, and I have found that counseling and medical help have been beneficial for processing events and managing physical symptoms.
However, when it boils down, the only antidotes to my every day insecurities are two things: Prayer and thankfulness.
Only the hope of the gospel allows me to cry out to God for freedom from my insecurities, when I am weary of my sin. I start to feel ashamed, and then don’t want to pray. If I cannot come to Him to begin with, how do I place all my insecurities in His mighty hand? How can I pour my heart out to someone that I am afraid of? The gospel (GOOD NEWS!) reality is that He has forgiven, justified, redeemed me from any insecurity I might have that prevents me from approaching him. Approaching him humbly, confessing my sin, and bravely trusting that I am forgiven enables me to pour my insecurities and worries out to Him in prayer. Talk about stress relief! (Praise God that we can have mustard seed faith, right?) People! I have not mastered this yet. I am preaching the gospel to myself.
Just a few weeks ago, Ann Voskamp (guru of gratitude) posted a blog about her daughter asking “Why is there all this loveliness?” I’ve been pondering that thought. Aren’t we also commanded to think about whatever is lovely, good, pure, etc.? My thoughts naturally tend to mull about the evil, the bad, sickness, death, sin and bad news of the day. But how about the good? In the midst of insecurity, there is much reason to give thanks. I cannot even tell (it would take pages and pages) all the kindness, friendship, prayers, love and support I have received from the family of God, my family, and my husband. The comfort and healing from God Himself through the Psalms soothes me without fail, whenever I seek it out. Then there is the soothing beauty of music and Lake Michigan sunsets and falling stars. Why is there all this loveliness? A heart focused on gratitude to God builds a fortress against insecurity.
The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and kind in all his works.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them. (Psalm 145:17-19)