Once again, I found myself crying alone in my apartment. My husband and I had been married for less than a year, and each day I felt more like a ship sinking into a deep ocean of failure. That day, my insufficiency came from picking up the wrong brand of peanut butter at the store. My husband did not care, but I was consumed by the mistake. A voice in my head told me over and over–you are not good enough. Try harder. Be better.
It is hard to imagine a person who cannot think of an insecurity they have. Most feel insecure in multiple areas of life. We think we are not good enough parents, friends, sisters, or workers. We do not like the way our bodies look or our personalities. Some of us cannot even look in a mirror or sit alone in our thoughts without our insecurities screaming at us. Thankfully, there are four things that we can do when we struggle with insecurity.
1.) Remember from where insecurity comes
Insecurity tends to come from unmet expectations. We set a standard for ourselves or others set them for us, and we strive to measure up or fall into despair when we don't. Our parents set an expectation of a certain GPA; our friends expect us to take on their burdens; we expect ourselves to do everything perfectly. Sometimes these standards come from comparison. We see how another person looks, and we make them the standard for our own beauty. We see how another mom parents their child, and we make that the standard for parenting. All of these expectations put pressure on us until we buckle under the weight of doing and being enough for ourselves and everyone else. These expectations are man-made, not God-given.
2.) Remember that God sees us differently
God's view is not like ours. First Samuel 16:7 explains this truth when it says, "But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not look at his appearance or his stature because I have rejected him. Humans do not see what the Lord sees, for humans see what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart." We create expectations for our outward appearance, identity, and actions; God looks into our hearts. God sent His Son, Jesus, into a poor family, with no political or economic power, and a physical body that few would envy (Isaiah 53:2). Jesus defies worldly expectations because He chooses to spend time with the lowly and outcast as well as the rich and powerful. He is not concerned with whether or not you meet the expectations of others or yourself. The standards of man are not the standard of God.
3.) Know that your weaknesses point you to God's perfect power
God's standard is perfection. Jesus confirms this in Matthew 5:48 when He says, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." We might read this passage and feel our stomachs tighten, knowing that is another expectation we cannot reach. Jesus, though, came into this world and lived a perfect life so that we do not have to. He died for us to live in freedom from seeking perfection. Freedom from insecurity starts by living in the freedom offered by Jesus. We are created and fully loved by God; it is only His view that matters. And when He looks at His children, He sees the blood of His Son covering all sin and shame. All the expectations of this world are nothing compared to the love of Jesus for you shown on the cross.
Rather than feeling shame when we do not measure up to expectations, we can feel strengthened. Second Corinthians 12:10 says, "So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong." Our weakness provides an opening for God's strength. None of us are enough but praise God that He is enough on our behalf. You do not need to be a perfect parent; instead, ask Him to guide your parenting. You do not need to look a certain way but instead look at how God sees you (Psalm 139:14, Proverbs 31:30, 1 Peter 3:3–4).
4.) Go to God with your insecurities
When you struggle with insecurity, you should stop for a moment and pray to God. Consider praying these three things when you speak to God–
- Confess your insecurity, where you do not feel you are enough.
- Admit your inability to be enough.
- Praise Jesus for His sufficiency, that He is more than enough.
We all feel insecure from time to time. However, we can remember that only God is perfect. Instead of this truth making us more insecure, this knowledge can point us to Christ. Through our belief in Christ alone, we can rest in the power of our perfect Creator, who cares so deeply for us.