it slithers in when I’m about to step out and do something new
it inches it’s way, often slowly and quietly, into my mind when I start jotting down my goals and dreams
it sometimes sneaks in during conversations, making me question myself
it even creeps into the closest relationship I have – with my husband
it makes it’s presence known when I go to speak in front of people, even when I know it’s something I like to do
it swoops in when I go to the gym …when I’m about to push the “publish” button and allow something I’ve written to become public…
it fills my mind when I go to pray for someone
and it makes sure to make a full-blown appearance when I do something awkward
or make a mistake
i’ve seen it in the work place
i see it in the church
i see it in mothers with small children who are doing a crazy-amazing job raising their little human begins, but don’t see it as such
i see it in men and women a like
it’s like a tumour that attaches itself to people and drains them of confidence and joy
If you haven’t already guessed it, the ‘it’ I speak of is this ugly thing:
And it deserves to be punched. Right in the face.
Now, FYI – I have never actually punched anything or anyone in the face…but if insecurity could somehow manifest itself into human form? I most certainly would feel a sudden urge to throw a punch.
Maybe I’m the only one…but this nasty thing has stopped me from doing things I know I’m supposed to do. As a matter of fact, I shouldn’t say “has stopped” me as if insecurity is something I’ve dealt with in the past and have now successfully mastered it’s conniving ways. It stops me from doing things I know I’m supposed to do right now. I feel plagued by it, at times, and lately I’ve been *trying* to call it out for what it is whenever it creeps in. It’s foolish and ridiculous and makes me only focus on myself and it holds me back.
And I hate it.
Maybe it’s just part of human nature and we will deal with it our whole lives…but there’s something deep in me…this hope… that says being plagued by insecurity is not who I am supposed to be nor is it what I am destined for.
So, I’ve noticed something. There’s something that seems as if it’s immune to insecurity. It’s like, even if insecurity wanted to attack, it’d bounce right off.
It’s the beautiful thing called childhood.
Have you ever just watched a small child? I’m sure you have. There’s not a care in the world, right!? That jovial spirit children have is attractive and there’s something just.so.right. about it. I think that’s why, when there’s a room full a people and a few kids, all eyes are on the kids. They are happy and un-anxious and accepting and I’ll go as far as saying…they are often more secure in some precious way than the adults around them.
The interesting thing is…Jesus says in the Bible to “become like little children.” I am definitely in need of a refresher on this.
So, let’s take a look:
There’s this story in Matthew where Jesus’ disciples are wondering who gets the highest rank in His Kingdom and they ask Jesus, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” What happens next is intriguing. Jesus calls a little kid over and places he or she in the middle of all of the adults. [I find Jesus funny. I can just see the adults surrounding him thinking, “Ahh…whaaat? Jesus, really..this isn’t play time, this is important, adult conversation time.”]
Then then he says this: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4) No, I don’t have any deep theological explanation for these two verses for what it means to be the “greatest in the kingdom of heaven” but I’m sure there is. What I grab from this verse is that Jesus pulled some little kid out, put he/she in a place of honor – in the middle of their group – and said, “Guys…you need to be like this kid. This child is your model.”
All of this reminds me of something my biggest nephew told me a few years ago. I was watching him and his two brothers soon after the littlest nephew was born. We were getting ready to go to the park and I remember thinking – I need to throw some mascara on…or throw a hat on to cover this un-showered hair or at least put something decent on or something before we go to the park! We packed some snacks and he was patiently sitting on the bench while I put his shoes on. [Which takes forever. Have you ever put shoes on a small child?? God, help me. Seriously, you have to schedule in an extra 15 minutes because it’s such an ordeal! They say they are “slip on” shoes but they lie. All lies. I don’t know how my sister does this putting shoes on chubby feet thing every day….Ok, my rant is over. :P]
The 15 minutes of putting his shoes on wasn’t all bad, I must say – it provided time for great conversation. We talked about what we were going to do at the park and how God created dirt and birds and Nerf guns and how Jesus probably liked to play outside too. I then asked my nephew, “What is Jesus like?,” curious of what he may say. What he said melted me. Staring right at me with a dirty face, messy hair, playful and hopeful, with one shoe on and the other…well….half on, he smiled and said:
“He’s like me.”
I’m tellin’ ya…the things we can learn straight from the mouths of babes, people.
That day, my nephew taught me a little more about Jesus and what it means to just be free.
And then there’s the littlest nephew. He and his brothers recently spent the night with my husband and I. In the morning, the littlest nephew was the first to wake up – bright eyed and chipper. We were hanging out on the couch and he hugged me “good morning”…..and then let one rip. Yes, right on my lap which makes it even more hilarious. After the husband and I finished laughing [probably too obnoxiously], he leans over with a mischievous grin on his face and ever so proudly lets another one go, simply to get another laugh out of us. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know we as adults have a certain dignity and decency that we need to uphold. But come on…have you ever just wanted to, unashamedly, let one rip and see who you can get a laugh out of? Ok, maybe not…and now I’m embarrassed at the fact that I have thought this before, and now you all know. But honestly, I think Jesus has a sense of humor…and He’d probably be the first one laughing.
The point is, there’s something in that sweet season of childhood that is untouched by insecurity. It’s so beautiful and refreshing and attractive to be around. I’m not sure what stage in life this awareness of self comes in and I’m sure there’s a scientific answer that I’m just not aware of. But that aside, I want to try and come back to these words of Jesus: become like little children. Meek, playful, light, accepting, goofy, creative. I want to learn to be more childlike while being aware of this ugly, ugly thing of insecurity that stops me from being me. I was told something very wise by a great, older man a few years back that hasn’t left my mind since. He told me:
The best thing you can offer the world is your authentic self.
When plagued by insecurity, I am not doing this… and ultimately the world is not getting the best version of ‘Brittany’ that God intended. So if you’ve struggled like me in this area….well, I’d say we have some things to take care of.
Get out that punching bag, label it “INSECURITY” and punch away.
Because the world needs you to be your authentic self.