Ugh. This is a post that I am not necessarily excited to post. It is bare bones, raw and real. There are a lot of not-so-easy things that I have been willing to admit to you, my real-life friends and interweb friends. But, this one... this one is one of the hardest. This little blogpost has been sitting here almost finished for awhile now. And at the prompting of a dear friend today, I'm (finally) hitting the "publish" button.
Deep breath . . . here goes nothing . . .
I struggle with insecurity. In otherwords, I'm insecure.
That is a scary thing to type: I'm insecure. Shhhhh . . . It is a dirty word in today's society, one that we don't want to mention except for maybe in a whisper. To our closest friends. Every fiber of my being screams at me, "don't admit it! don't let anyone know!" I want you to think I'm confident, sure of myself and secure in who I am. What are you going to think of me if you know I'm insecure? Really, ladies . . . Who wants to say those words out loud: I.Am.Insecure.?
[Ironically, it is my insecurity that has prevented me from putting these words out into cyberspace earlier. Partially because, sometimes, I care too much about what you (whoever you are) think of me. And, ugh, I don't want anyone to know I'm insecure. But, I also don't want you to think that everything I do comes from my insecurity. Not everything I do is rooted in that part of me!]
I know the adage - that I need find my security in Jesus. The "answer" to fixing insecurity. And this is where some of the shame sets in. Christian women's books say it in a hundred different ways: Be secure in Jesus. My head hears those words. My heart hears them too. Thankfully I can give praise to Jesus that He has me as a work-in-progress, slowly giving me more and more true security in Him - the only security that is really secure. Sometimes, though, I get stuck. I struggle with how to get there on a practical level? How do I go from insecure to secure in Jesus? Why can't I just BE secure in Jesus with the flip of a switch?
My insecurity sneaks up on me. Sometimes it is almost nonexistent. Other times it is stifling. For a long time, I didn't know what it was. I remember seeing Beth Moore's book, So Long Insecurity, on a bookstore shelf. And I thought, what is that? Insecurity? But it shows up. It's one of those "you'll know it when you see it" kind of things. In retrospect, it took root when I was really young. And then showed up during my super awkward middle school years. I felt it with the sting of high school girls' cruelty. And it evolves. When the scale doesn't say the exact number I wish it did. When other moms get together to do something that I was a part of one year, but only found out about through photos on Facebook the next. When I walk into a group of (public school) moms who are utterly adorable. When my marriage fell apart. When people close to me question my life choices and my motives. And, I wonder if there is something wrong with who I am. Am I flawed? Is there something in my core that is just not up to par?
So, I have searched for security. It has evolved with me as I have grown up. I have looked for security everywhere and in everything. In leadership at Bible study. In my education. In food. And then, ironically, in a number on the scale. In being in the right sorority. In law school, in my grades. In relationships. In my career. In skinny jeans and boots. In hair color and the right make-up. Being the perfect wife. Searching Christian women's books for a formula on how I "should" live as a wife and mom. In having well-behaved children. In friendships. In my marriage. In homeschool. Searching for the right path that will fit like a key unlocking the door to finally just being secure in who I am.
Talking with a good friend last week, she described it as manifesting itself in being like a chameleon. Such a perfect description. Finding myself changing, sometimes a little and sometimes more than I'd like to admit, in order to "fit in." Wanting you to like me. Wanting to be validated in who I am and what I'm doing.
Wasn't this supposed to be left behind with the angst of teenage-dom? By 35, shouldn't I be comfortable in my skin?
But I'm not. And, I'm beginning to realize that a lot of other women aren't either. Providentially, I've had several similar conversations in the last few weeks with other women. Women who are beautiful and smart and seem to have it all together. Women you'd never pick out of a crowd as women who feel less than secure. But, we've dared to admit to one another that we are ... wait for it ... insecure. That it has a hold on us. It can strangle the life out of us. It steals our joy. It steals our true selves. It steals what Jesus wants for us. Just when we think we have it under control, it pops up again when we least expect it.
So I'm starting the conversation with you, friends. Right here, right now. Out in the open, in a public way. Putting myself out there because I know I'm not the only one. I can't be. Nothing new under the sun, right? And I've learned that identifying stuff in my heart, and dealing with it, and being honest with others about it is good and healing and builds friendships and community and tears down shame. So, there it is. Take it or leave it. But, my door is open, ladies.