I read a quote a little while ago that read, “You will be too much for some people. Those aren’t your people.” It was a quote that stuck with me so I took a screen shot of it and saved it to my phone so that I wouldn’t forget it. It’s a interesting quote and one that I have reflected on lately, especially the last couple of weeks as I have travelled around a lot and met a lot of new people. And can I say, the truth of that quote rally stood out to me as I tried to find my place in a new environment.
I’ve been in the US for the last two weeks on my own for training and I didn’t know a lot of people. The few I did know I didn’t know well, so I had to try to connect with people. That isn’t always easy for me for various reasons but it is what it is, so I just try to be myself and not get too insecure about it. There were days it worked and I connected well with others and there were days it didn’t and I found myself spending much of my time alone while others went off in their groups and with their people. Some people just don’t connect and there really isn’t anything wrong with that. The challenge when that happens is not letting the lack of connection with some people affect you and your sense of worth and belonging.
Our sense of worth and identity shouldn’t be dependant on the people around us. People and relationships are important but they shouldn’t define us. As a follower of Christ, I know that His Word tells me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and that I am created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and I wholly believe that. People are walking miracles in and of themselves, especially when you look at the way the human body works; God didn’t hold out when He made us. However let’s stop and be real for a minute, that is sometimes very easy to forget. When you are on the sidelines watching people around you connect and engage it is a lot easier to forget that you are God’s masterpiece, created in His image and loved abundantly. It is easy to lose sight of who you are when you are on the outer and feeling a little insecure.
So what do we do when that happens? Well, for me, I pull back. I know that doesn’t really sound like the best thing to do, but it’s what I need to do. I need to step back and just stop; I need to seek God and find my centre again and the only thing that anchors me and gives me peace is my faith. And so on this trip that’s what I did, I pulled back and just looked up. I needed a reminder of who I was and Who’s I was. I sat and I prayed. I sought the face of my Father in heaven because only He knows my heart and my fears and my insecurities. And I have a few. I am fairly open about how I feel and what I fear but there are some things that I keep buried inside because really, who wants to put their insecurities on display? I know we all have them, but that doesn’t mean that I want to shout them from the rooftops. And so I retreat.
But you know what I realised? I realised that I have been here before. I quite possibly even blogged about it previously, but I have, on more than one occasion, hidden in the shadows because my insecurities have popped up and knocked me for six. I have, on many occasions, questioned why people didn’t like me and want to spend time with me. I have asked why I am still single and if I am going to be single forever. I have asked all these questions and what I realised on this trip is that if I don’t get to the root of my insecurities, if I don’t work out WHY I feel the way I do, I will always come back to them. Maybe not today or tomorrow or next week, but they will resurface at some point. It’s no different to any other issue we may have, whether it be anger or emotional eating or bitterness or anything else that affects you. Unless we find out where it is coming from, we will always have to deal with it.
And so this time, I changed my prayers and instead asked God to help me understand where this was all coming from. I needed to be able to get to the bottom of it once and for all because to be honest, I was over it. I was tired of circling around this mountain and never finding a resting point. So I asked God to speak into the heart of this matter for me and you know what? He did. And let me tell you, it wasn’t in the way I was expecting because it come in the form of confession; my own confession. Allow me to explain. One of the sessions we touched on during my training was that of confession and the freedom that brings. The bible talks about ‘confessing our sins to one another’ and while I have always agreed with it, I never really practiced it because hello, insecurities. But during this session, we were partnered up and told to go and pray and write down our fears and sins and share with each other only what we wanted. Let me tell you, I didn’t need to think hard about one of my fears because this very exercise scared the mess out of me. But I put my brave on and went for it. Sort of.
It wasn’t easy to do because essentially I was sitting with another lady that I barely knew and sharing my personal life with her. As I looked down at my list of fears and mistakes and shame, I planned out in my mind what I would share and what I wouldn’t but as is always the case with God, He had other plans because this woman I was partnered with was practically my twin. She had made the same mistakes, carried the same shame and had the same fears and she completely put herself on the line by being brave enough to share that. And when you are with someone who is so brave and willing to put themselves out there, it encourages you to do the same. So I found myself sharing with her my deepest, darkest fears and mistakes and my word, my heart felt a thousand times lighter. There was a deep sense of peace in the moments that followed because I shared my heart. But that peace was short-lived as sharing my mistakes exposed a fear in me that I didn’t realise was there; the fear that I am not enough to be loved anyone, especially by God.
Deep down I had carried this fear that no matter what I do, I am not worthy of love because I have messed up so much over the years. You may be thinking that is a bit extreme, but our mistakes are our own and how we see our failures is different to how others see it. I realised in that moment that while the bible says that God will forgive us if we ask, I doubted that it applied to me. Yet as I sat there facing this truth, God reminded me how much He loved me because He reminded me that He sent His Son to the cross for me. Knowing exactly what I would do throughout my life, He still willingly went to the Cross for me. He reminded me that there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ. He reminded me of His promise that He would never leave me or forsake. And He reminded me that He is faithful to fulfil His promises because He has been faithful before and he will be again. And to top it off, in one of those beautiful little God moments, I decided to listen to a podcast as I wrote this up and the heart of the message was that God loves and wants me to take of His love. He loves us with an everlasting love and what He wants is for us to accept it. He wants us to take Him at His word when He says He loves us and wants what’s best for us.
So did this reminder of His deep and unending love heal all my hurts and completely erase all my insecurities? Yes and no. Yes, because knowing just how loved I am is priceless and healing and freeing. No, because those insecurities will likely pop up again. However when they do pop up again, one thing I am confident of is that I will be able to see them for what they are; lies. Next time those insecurities try to stir me up and throw me off, I will refuse to give them a foothold and I will speak God’s promises over myself. I will hold firmly to His love with both hands and will not let go.
And that is my prayer for you, that you would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He loves you because He does. I pray that you would experience His love so strongly and you would experience His forgiveness so deeply that you would never question your worth or your value because all you need is in Him; the greatest love you can ever experience is His love so I encourage you to seek Him. Seek His face and His heart and be at peace in knowing that you are enough and always will be.
On a side note: confessing our deepest fears and failures and shame is scary and requires us to be completely vulnerable with someone, so if you are wanting to do this, please get yourself a safe person with wisdom and discretion. Find someone you can trust who you know will hear you without judgement and with sensitivity.