My Insecurity Onion: Why I’m thankful for insecurity

I’m planted here in a rose-colored diner, bordering NJ and PA. My husband is off at a business meeting, so I’m sipping tea, eating hash browns, digging into a Beth Moore Bible study, and thinking about insecurity.

Insecurity has been like an onion in my life.

It comes with layer after eye-stinging layer…and keeps coming.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve battled insecurity. For years it was insecurity over how I looked — and sometimes it still is. After spending several years fighting toward freedom from the long-term effects of this insecurity — an eating disorder, unhealthy relationship, and so much more — I could finally breathe again…

and I thought insecurity was a thing of the past.

It was like I was dancing on a plateau and only looking down at how far I’d come, which was pretty striking:

  • no more guilt-ridden binges…
  • or obsessive calorie counting…
  • or ten times a day scale-stepping…

But I didn’t see how much farther I had to go.

And I think that was good. I needed time to celebrate, to breathe, to dance.

But eventually, the next layer crept up on me. I never saw it coming until it overtook me: Identity in ministry.

I turned around and saw another mountain looming before me, and stared in disbelief.

I had beaten this monster, hadn’t I? What happened? Had I fallen off the edge, done something wrong? Why did I have to fight insecurity again?

As I’m sitting here today, I find myself wondering if there will always be another layer of that “insecurity onion” just waiting for me.

I find myself wondering if this will be a continual weak area for me.

And then I find myself thinking…maybe that’s not a bad thing.

Maybe, in fact, my insecurity onion can be used for good.

You see, the fact that I easily fall into insecurity in any given area — starting to believe that I’ll be good enough if I’m a…

  • good enough wife…
  • successful enough speaker…
  • talented enough writer…
  • humble enough God-lover…you get the idea…

— maybe that area of vulnerability is actually a fortress. Because it keeps me on my knees. It keeps me desperate.

“When I was secure, I said, ‘I will never be shaken.’ Lord, when You showed Your favor, You made me stand like a strong mountain; when You hid Your face, I was terrified…I cried out to You, O Lord, and to the Lord I made supplication…You have put off my sackcloth and closed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.” (Parts of Psalm 30, HCSB and NKJV)

We all have areas of weakness. It seems like even Paul did (see Romans 7). I like to think of insecurity as mine — my achilles’ heel. And here’s the beauty of it:

  • If I can’t live on my own without falling back into insecurity, it reminds me that I desperately need to stay close to God — the only One who brings true and lasting security.
  • If I can’t find the end of my insecurity onion, then instead of looking for the end of insecurity, I will run to Jesus and look for Him.
  • If I can’t beat this on my own, then good. Because in my weakness, His strength is made perfect.

Basically what I’m trying to say is this: I’m thankful for my insecurity onion.

Insecurity reminds me of how much I need the Lord, and it keeps me coming closer to Him than I’d ever be otherwise. It gives me a deep awareness of my need to spend time with Him continually.

Please don’t misunderstand: I’m not saying to linger in insecurity. I believe we were meant to find freedom and security in Jesus. And so I keep fighting the insecurity…but I’m fighting it in an unusual way.

I keep fighting the insecurity by running closer to Jesus. Many times when I spend time with God, looking at Him, the insecurity is swallowed up in His greatness.

The insecurity pushes me to come closer to the Lord. And the closer I come to Him — the more I look up into His huge and beautiful face — the smaller my insecurity onion becomes.

It used to bother me that I hadn’t yet beaten my insecurity once and for all. The layers that kept popping up drove me crazy. But now?

Now, I thank God for the reminder that I need Him. And I let Him use the insecurity to draw me closer to Him. (I’ll bet the enemy of my soul just hates that…don’t you think?)

“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which sits unmoved forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, the Lord surrounds His people now and forever.” (Psalm 125:1-2 ,NCV)

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