Friday, August 3, 2012

On Insecurities

A few weeks back I studied through 2 Corinthians with a friend. Upon reviewing the book I brought up how much I love 2 Corinthians 3:17, where in talking about how the Spirit tears down the veil of sin that covers our hearts, it says, "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." I was asked if there was anything in my life that I was held in bondage to that I couldn't quite shake free from. Honestly, I felt like I had to muster something up. My answer was a generalization of a deeper issue that I was blinded to. In the weeks since, my eyes have been opened to something I've both sought to ignore and something which I never really thought of as sin. Suddenly the idea of freedom from bondage made sense to me as some sort of far off, too good to be true kind of way. The recognition of the shackles that held me down made me realize that I really wasn't living as if I had been freed from them.

I was at a conference for creative church media professionals this last week. One of the breakout speakers talked about how we don't see things the way they are, but we see them the way we are (or aren't). The take away is that I will look at the things that come out of my life, either work related, relationally, or spiritually and I won't see them for what they actually are because I'm blinded by how I see myself (or don't see myself). Basically, anything that comes out of my life that doesn't meet my standards is indicative of a deeper issue. It's indicative that I have an issue in my heart with how I see myself. That night nothing seemed to make more sense. Because I see myself as imperfect and flawed, I see everything that comes out of me as imperfect and flawed. How could I never realize my insecurities in what I produced were a result of how I viewed myself?

Insecurity is a pride issue. It is the chain that I've allowed to wrap itself around my arms, around my feet, and around my neck. How could I ever live with chains tightening more and more around me, slowing cutting off my life and still never realize that I was in bondage? I guess they had been there for so long I stopped realizing they weren't meant to be there. I guess I'd accepted them as a part of who I was; Elisha, the girl born with rusted chains wrapped around her body. Insecurity, in my eyes, was not an issue of me seeking identity in things that were never meant to define me, but it was an issue that I could do nothing about. It was just who I was, a faulty and imperfect me, with no hope to overcome that otherwise. But that's the great deception of insecurity. Insecurity parades around like a hurt victim with no remedy, but in reality it's self-deceived Pride masquerading around. It's so typical of us to always be thinking of ourselves, and thats the great irony of insecurity. We don't realize that insecurity is an issue of self-centeredness. Our natural inclination is to think only of ourselves. Pride is blinding, and in my pride I thought I was right about myself, I thought my insecurities were truths of me and I never considered that they could be my bondage.

It's so easy to want to be defined by our own standards, whether it be looks, or status, or in my case the things that I produce out of my life, but there is only one standard by which we should find our identity and that is what Christ has called us to. By claiming the things that were never meant to define me, I always came up short. By striving to find perfection in that which I churned out of my life I always came up lacking. There is nothing perfect that we can produce apart from Christ. There is nothing we can make on our own that can bring our identity to perfection. And that's where I kept grasping at the wind. Over and over, nothing I did was perfect, nothing met my standards, everything could be better, everything should have been better. My identity, my view of myself, was constantly imperfect, constantly lacking, constantly groping at the air. Obviously that was not where it should have been.

So let's get right down to the solution. I couldn't figure it out. I was stumped. Typically in those situations, I ask myself, "If someone came up to you and told you they were struggling with this issue, how would you advise them?" I had nothing. I was incapable of advising anyone because I couldn't do it myself. Once I realized my insecurities were issues of self-centeredness I knew the only solution was to get my mind off of myself. Here are the things that have encouraged me this week:

"We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ" - 2 Corinthians 10:5
Sometimes the only thing I can do is, by faith, cast out all doubt by holding it against scripture. It’s a hard place. It’s the right place. I have to take my thoughts and evaluate them. Are they true of what my identity is in Christ according to what the Bible says? If not, I execute them.

"For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin"- Romans 6:7
This thought was not my own, but sent to me via text message by a friend. She encouraged me not to give into the lies of my insufficiencies, not to let sin have that power over me, but to have power over sin through being set free by Christ.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." -Philippians 4:8-9
Throughout the week I've learned that I have to have my mind set in the right place if I want to have victory over my insecurities. I need to set my mind on the right things, on these things, and I need to practice them. Mind off of me. Mind on Christ.

Life is found in Christ. Set your mind on Christ, find your identity in Christ, have hope, live in freedom.

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