Moving to a new city with three kids under seven (and one with anxiety issues) means it takes a ridiculously long time to settle in to a new routine. R to the I to the Diculous. As we’ve been struggling to find our new normal pace of life, I’ve had a lot of time to be in my head. This is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a crazy world up there. I can go from a republican to a democrat to a socialist to wanting to move to a convent in about 4 seconds flat. Maybe I need to look into the Green Party. Are they still a thing? Me and myself get into some nasty fights too. Inside my head is rarely a calm place these days.
All that to say, one of the things I’ve been rolling around up there is the relationship between insecurity and pride. At face value, they seem to be pretty opposite, right? I mean, when I think of an insecure person I think about someone who thinks they are not enough or who is always trying to compensate for a lack of something. I wouldn’t call them “prideful.” But what if pride feeds on insecurities? Like, as it’s primary diet. I can do some bat crazy things when I am feeling insecure. Based on some of the stories I’ve heard lately of broken relationships, I’m not the only one.
When we feel insecure we go into fight or flight mode. Here are some examples of hypothetical conversations you may have with yourself when insecure and in “fight” mode (I may or may not have had similar thoughts at one point or another. May or may not.)
“Man she is in great shape. She has awesome hair too. I bet she is super shallow cause she spends so much time on herself.”
How about the same conversation while in “flight” mode:
“Man she is in great shape. She has awesome hair too. She is totally a “10” and I cannot compete with that score so I’m not even going to try to be her friend.”
Another fight conversation:
“She spent how much on that?? I mean, its beautiful but what would Dave Ramsey say? I would never spend that much money on something like that. I’m sure she’ll be feeling buyers remorse soon.”
“She spent how much on that?? Shoot, they must be doing really well financially. What does she think when she comes to my house? I wonder if she only hangs out with me cause she is being “nice.” She invited me over for coffee tomorrow but I think I’ll text her and say I’m not feeling well.”
They all sound crazy when you read them but let’s not pretend we don’t recognize a version of our own crazy in them. And friends, these thoughts that we label as “insecurities” are really just a nice, juicy snack for our pride. Fight or flight is about self preservation. It’s a survival technique that allows us to keep feeling “ok” about ourselves. This happens in two ways: 1. We feel “ok” about ourselves because we are tearing someone else down and setting ourselves up above them 2. We make ourselves lower then the other person and become a “victim” and as long as we are a “victim” they are the “bad guy” and, once again, we come out on top. Sick, isn’t it?
So what do we do?
We starve pride by refusing to feed it with our insecurities. And, yes, it’s as hard as it sounds. The good news is, we have some really clear instructions from the God who created us on how to thrive on an “insecure free” diet.
Romans 8 is one of my favorite passages. Especially in The Message translation (PS- It’s ok to like The Message. You are still saved. Eugene Peterson is rad.) Here is a piece of the passage that I think helps give us first steps in walking out life without insecurities.
12-14 So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!
15-17 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!
The key is in verse 16ish: “We knew who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children.” The more secure we find ourselves as children of God, the less we will care about what others think and the less time we will spend in flight or flight mode. When we are deeply grounded in our identity as co-heirs with Christ, why would we care about being thinner then the next girl, or what so and so thinks about the state of our house, or whether or not our kids were perfect during the play date? And when we are resting comfortably in our role as a child of the King of the Universe, there is little room for pride. We don’t need it. We are as special as we could ever be. We are as loved as we could ever be. We are as secure as we could ever be. We can still be friends with people who offend us or disagree with us because we don’t need anything from them. We can love and serve people where they are at without requiring them to hold to our same moral code or world view because we are so confident in the love the Father has for us we can’t imagine not sharing it with the world.
We kill pride by refusing to feed it with our insecurities. We lose our insecurities by soaking ourselves in the truth of who we are as children of God. And when we finally drop our insecurities, what treasures will our hands be free to hold? Deeper relationships? Stronger marriages? A more peaceful home? Freedom and boldness to walk unapologetically into our calling?
What would my life look like if I really took Jesus seriously when he said, “Abide in me and I will abide in you.” What power am I opting not to tap into by holding onto my insecurities?
Excuse me while I retreat back into my head for a while. I have a pride murder to plot.