My mom, oldest of her siblings, was abandoned after her birth mother had several more children with a different man. Mom was taken in and adopted by an aunt who turned abusive and filed for emancipation after just a few years. With the help of social services, mom had hoped to make a home with her birth father, an alcoholic, but he refused to give up drinking. Finally, mom moved in with the family of her best girlfriend until she finished high school and married my dad. They were together a few weeks shy of 50 years, the last 3-1/2 years of which, dad cared for mom following a debilitating stroke. It was during those last few years that mom finally came to know and trust in the love dad had for her and to rest assured that she would never be abandoned again.
So we learn from our parents, right?
Mom and dad raised me to be polite, kind, respectful and Christian. Unfortunately, I was also raised to be insecure and prone to self-blame. Unintended of course, but raised in a home with such an undercurrent of emotion and me being an empath, I learned that my self worth hung upon the approval and acceptance of others.
Rejection, more than any other of life’s blows, throws me headlong into the pit of despair. What did I do? How can I make things right? Questions I know all too well and rarely get an answer for. Sometimes, people are just capricious or thoughtless and a few have just enough intuition to identify someone’s “buttons” and then manipulate them. Still, no one pushed my “insecurity” button more than I did and I could always find new and creative reasons for pushing it, including even doubts about the love and security of God.
In the past I’ve dealt with insecurity by adopting an “I don’t care what you think” attitude. On the surface, that seems effective, but it only puts my own self-worth issues off of me and onto others, as if to say “you have nothing of value to offer me” or to assert myself over another person in god-like fashion! How perfectly carnal and evil that is.
Believing insecurity had long ago been dealt with, it recently resurfaced in virulent form, asserting that God had abandoned me. I gave voice to the accusations from insecurity and in so doing blasphemed against the unimpeachable character of God.
Triggered by two friends who parted ways with me, my revelation and writing came to a halt and I strained to hear God’s voice. There was only silence. As Karen left to visit with a sister for an afternoon of fellowship and prayer, the Lord called me to spend time with Him on the deck. I played for Him, read scriptures He brought to mind and prayed prayers of surrender: kill it; kill me; I’m done. After several hours under the bright afternoon sun, waiting and listening, I grew tired and went in to lay down for a nap.
When I awakened, He was there waiting and confronted me with questions in that “come let us reason together” way of His. Karen had recently made a trip back east to visit her family for a week. She had a busy social schedule while there and so we didn’t plan to talk every day. The Lord prompted me to consider whether Karen and I were any less married or in love on the days we didn’t talk? An absurd question intended to flush out the absurdity of my insecurity. He then reminded me of all the songs, essays, the musical and other works we completed together and asked whether after having created them through oneness with me, He would leave me? Again, He prompts me to consider the absurd to put the lie to rest for good. To have even considered such an idea, would be to accuse Him of using then discarding me. How can this be, when God says “I hate divorce” (Malachi 2:16)? Does God come and go, come and go, with His people? Does He give and take, give and take, His Holy Spirit?
He made me realize that His love for me, His saving me, His presence within me and His oneness with me, have nothing to do with me or my character; it is all entirely to do with His character.
And yet, I am the God who forgives your sins, and I do this because of who I am. I will not hold your sins against you. (Isaiah 43:25 GNB)
What I do is done for my own sake— I will not let my name be dishonored or let anyone else share the glory that should be mine and mine alone.” (Isaiah 48:11 GNB)
Giving voice to my insecurity amounts to questioning the integrity of God and impugning His matchless character.
And yet, He was not finished with me. With an eye toward wrapping up this essay, I asked Google “What does the Bible say about insecurity”? The results brought up a number of web pages, typically page upon page of scripture references which advocate hurling Bible verses at our insecurities until they sound the retreat. Formula Christianity. That’s just great guys, if a person wants to do battle with that resurgent insecurity beast every day for the rest of his life. Brother and sister, I am so tired of battling that miserable bastard insecurity. It is an emotional roller-coaster and I’m beyond tired of the ride.
I want insecurity dead and buried, for good.
And then, finally, I saw it; something in common with every scripture that jumped out at me:
Fear not … (because) … God.
No condemnation … (because) … Christ.
It isn’t the scriptures, used in the hope of firing a silver bullet into the heart of an otherwise un-dead enemy, it’s the person and authority behind the scripture.
With wide-eyed recognition, I watched Him rise! Name above all names! The Living Word! Even as I was drawing this essay to a close, He confronted my insecurity. He drew it out into the open, where in a single moment, He has laid to waste that which I could not defeat in a lifetime, much less summon the courage to face once more. Avoidance was no victory. But now the enemy is exposed and my Savior has trampled him under foot. I’m left shaken and with tears of awe and gratitude.
The Lord declared to my Lord,
‘Sit at My right hand
until I put Your enemies under Your feet’ (Matthew 22:44)
As I tread upon the giant that once towered over me, with all his curses and threats, may I always remember to give the glory to the One who put him beneath my feet.
Forgive me, Lord, for ever giving voice, let alone entertaining the very notion, that You might ever leave or abandon me.
I will never leave you nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5
LORD, you have examined me and you know me. You know everything I do; from far away you understand all my thoughts. You see me, whether I am working or resting; you know all my actions. Even before I speak, you already know what I will say. You are all around me on every side; you protect me with your power. Your knowledge of me is too deep; it is beyond my understanding. Where could I go to escape from you? Where could I get away from your presence? If I went up to heaven, you would be there; if I lay down in the world of the dead, you would be there. If I flew away beyond the east or lived in the farthest place in the west, you would be there to lead me, you would be there to help me. I could ask the darkness to hide me or the light around me to turn into night, but even darkness is not dark for you, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are the same to you. You created every part of me; you put me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because you are to be feared; all you do is strange and wonderful. I know it with all my heart. When my bones were being formed, carefully put together in my mother’s womb, when I was growing there in secret, you knew that I was there— you saw me before I was born. The days allotted to me had all been recorded in your book, before any of them ever began. O God, how difficult I find your thoughts; how many of them there are! If I counted them, they would be more than the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. O God, how I wish you would kill the wicked! How I wish violent people would leave me alone! They say wicked things about you; they speak evil things against your name. O LORD, how I hate those who hate you! How I despise those who rebel against you! I hate them with a total hatred; I regard them as my enemies. Examine me, O God, and know my mind; test me, and discover my thoughts. Find out if there is any evil in me and guide me in the everlasting way. (Psalms 139:1-24 GNB)