I have been struggling recently with insecurity. It’s different than the typical “teenager in high school” insecurity that so many of us experienced long ago. I actually feel much less secure than I did in high school.
About two years ago I thought I had made great strides in becoming a more secure person. I had chosen to be who God made me and I stopped trying to play a part based on who others wanted me to be, or who I thought others wanted me to be. I tried hard to stop appearing knowledgeable about subjects that I really had no knowledge of; I have endeavored to be real with everyone I meet and not cover up emotions and feelings that I think may be “unacceptable.” I felt as though I’d made it.
Recently though, I’ve noticed another kind of insecurity creeping into my life. This time it’s not a fear of being found a fraud; it’s just plain fear. I’m not sure how to describe it. It seemed a lot easier to pretend I’m somebody else and now that I’ve endeavored to stop that, I’m afraid of who I really am. Or, to say it another way, I’m afraid that my identity is flawed and therefore who I really am is a flawed, screwed up person. Every time I sit to write a song or record a song or really do any creative work, I have the most intense gnawing inside that says it sucks, it’s no good and I should just stick to playing my guitar and quit trying to create or be something else. It’s as if I’ve found myself to be an artist, but I’ve also found that I’m a lousy artist. I feel as if I’ve been on a quest to find my great family homestead of generations before, only to arrive and realize it’s a chicken coop.
As I reflect on this, I’m realizing that the real issue is not insecurity, but that I’ve been trying to find security in my own identity. How have I tried to identify myself? I want to say that I am an artist, a musician, a writer, I am a good husband and a good lover to my wife, etc. True, these are not bad goals; these are not things that I shouldn’t want to attain. But they are poor identities. I’ve realized that as I place my identity in an ability that I have, I have taken God out of the picture. When I draw my security from my self made identity I’m bound to be insecure.
My security should not be found in anything but Christ, as His child. This I know and He has been revealing how much of my identity has been defined by me and not by Him. He does what is good for us and it hurts, like the time my father dug a splinter out of my toe with his pocketknife.
Yet, I’m really not sure how to make the transition. I feel like I need a month long retreat into the mountains just to get rid of all the noise and distractions that hold me back. But I don’t have a month of free time blocked off. I don’t have a weekend of free time blocked off. I’m happy if I have an evening with my wife, and even that has been hard to find. I do feel as if I’m constantly living on the verge of a breakthrough, as if I’ve been standing in a storm watching the clouds roll by, feeling as if any minute it will break, the sun will shine and all will be well again. And that may very well happen. But the longer I stand here the more I can’t help feeling that God wants me to quit looking for the break in the clouds and He wants me to find Him in the midst of the storm. Maybe the point is to quit waiting for a break and start trusting. Maybe peace isn’t found when the storm is over but it’s actually found in the midst of the wind and hail. And when this happens, when I find rest in the midst of the storm, the storm no longer matters, there is only peace.
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