“I don’t want to go.” The phrase echoed in my head as I drove to what was supposed to be a fun event. But I knew there would be a couple of women present who have a tendency to make me feel like a don’t belong. They don’t mean to, but I feel “less than” around them. On top of that, I knew there would also be some new ladies there and I wasn’t quite sure where I fit into their group yet.
Typically, I consider myself a fairly confident person, but the anticipation of this particular situation was weighing heavily on me. I was super nervous and anxious, and already starting to feel like the odd-woman-out. My fears and doubts started to get the best of me, and my mind gave into the lies of insecurity. I worked myself into a tizzy and honestly, started to have a little pity party for myself.
In my moment of desperation, I called my best friend (wishing she was going to be at this event and hoping she could talk me off this figurative ledge I put myself on). I had hoped she might give me a pep talk or commiserate with me, but instead she reminded me of the best way to deal with a situation that filled me with insecurity.
The problem with insecurity is that it can feel like a prison with no way out–it can make us feel hopeless. When we are feeling insecure, our focus turns inward and we can only see our weaknesses, our doubts, our fears and other’s opinions. We forget the ways that we are gifted and uniquely created to make an impact in each situation.
She told me that the best way to approach a situation like this, is to change my perspective. She reminded me that something I am good at is showing God’s love to others. She said that I should go to this event with the purpose of using that gift and look for ways to show God’s love to those I encounter. It was a total flip in perspective–instead of viewing it from how people are going to treat me, think of me, etc., I had a new purpose and my focus was now on others instead of myself.
While I can’t control how others will act toward me or what their opinions are of me, I can control how I think and act toward them. It was so freeing! I remember thinking, “I can do that!” As I refocused on God’s love for me, I had a renewed sense of purpose to show His love to others. This new purpose changed how I saw myself and the situation. I now had a job to do and it was one that I could get behind because I love sharing God’s love with others!
God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us….We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.”
1 John 4:9-11, 16-17a
Freedom from insecurity comes from remembering who we are in God. We can overcome insecurity by holding fast to our true identity. We are God’s beloved–His sons and daughters. As we focus on God’s unwavering love, instead of our doubts and fears, we can feel secure to extend that love to others.
When we trust in God’s love for us and allow Him to remind us of our true identity, we are set free to live in confidence and security again. This allows us to walk into an insecure situation with people and focus on just showing them God’s love because we are walking in the overflow of God’s love for us.
…we can only love if we are free. That is, love is motivated by the joy of sharing our fullness, not by the desire to fill our emptiness…God has called us to the freedom of fullness which overflows in love, not to the slavery of emptiness which bites and devours and is never satisfied. In Jesus Christ, God offers us forgiveness, daily help and guidance, and hope for the greatest future imaginable. And it is all free, purchased by the death of Jesus, received by faith alone. The secret of love is freedom, and the secret of freedom is utter confidence in the love of God.”
John Piper, desiringgod.org
We have the freedom to love because He first loved us and showed us true love. God’s love is a supernatural thing–it’s unexplainable, unconditional, all-consuming, overflowing, perfect love. It ministers to our soul like nothing in this life can. It fills the emptiness of self-doubt and fear so that we no longer approach life or others from a place of insecurity but from a place of overflow, secure in our identity as God’s beloved.
Thank you Lord for Your great love. Thank you for pursuing us and loving us even when we lose our way. Open our eyes to our identity as your beloved ones. Your banner of love is over us. Help us to live in the freedom that is your love and freely give Your love to those around us. Amen