Insecurity is like a spider web. You are rarely warned that you're walking straight into it and you look like a paranoid acid tripper when you try to pull it off. It's sticky and invisible, like that thing that gets stuck in your eye but when you look in the mirror, you can’t find it to take it out. You ask a million people and none of them can see it either. But, you know it’s in there, because it’s driving you crazy and turning your eye red. Today, I felt the familiar sticky mess during a casual conversation, in which a friend told me, "I like (insert person's name) so much! She is so great!" All of a sudden, I became competitive, ready to poke holes into the theory of this girls' "greatness". Judging from my response, you'd think my friend had said, "I hate you and hope you give birth to a two-headed dog." I turned into a hoarder, acting as if there is a limited amount of love and attention in the world, and if I don't get it all, I'll shrivel up and die. "How can you like her and me?", I reason. It's in these moments I'm believing that I am worthless if I'm not the greatest, the funniest, the most spiritual.
I have found that focusing so intently on myself is a difficult way to live. Insecurity is just a pretty way of talking about an ugly reality. When I say I'm feeling insecure, what I mean is I'm actively self-absorbed-- let's call it what it is.
Invisible or not, insecurity shreds the love and light in us, driving our eyes away from God and toward the dark and broken pockets of our souls. It has the potential to delay or step on the transformative work God is doing in us. It doesn't matter if no one else sees it. I know it's there, begging me to rely on self-absorption and self-promotion as a way to experience satisfaction.
But, insecurity also has the potential to point me to a bigger reality. Instead of giving in to the clinging selfishness, I can face what it brings up. Insecurity reminds me that I've not yet arrived. As much as I know the love of God and rest in his affection, I'm still being weaned off other people's opinions. Insecurity is not so much a sign of immaturity as it is a reminder of our desperation for God. It doesn't have to bring discouragement, but instead can throw us into deeper dependence. The point is not avoiding the spider web, but figuring out how to get it off and keep going.