Tears started falling down Drew’s cheeks as he looked in the mirror at his slightly sunburned face. “I don’t want to get freckles. The kids will make fun of me.” I was taken aback. I remembered rubbing lemon juice on my own freckles when I was a preteen. I certainly didn’t expect Drew to have similar concerns as a boy, much less as a child who hasn’t even started kindergarten yet.
Then last night, I picked Drew up at Mission Friends at church. All the kids had their faces painted in cute native-American get-up. Except Drew. When I asked him later why he didn’t have his face painted, he got very anxious and started mumbling about what others would think of him.
My heart is so heavy.
My own deepest insecurity, which I’ve carried with me like a backpack full of rocks since before I can remember, has visited my son.
I’ll never forget when I was in seventh grade. I had gone with a church that many of my friends attended to an out of town event. I can’t even remember what happened or even who was there, but I remember how alone I felt. To cope with these feelings I remember telling myself, “Will all of this matter in 10 years?”
When I got into the 10th grade and no longer had basketball practice during the lunch hour, which meant I had to eat in the cafeteria, I lived in fear of that hour. Would anyone sit by me? What was wrong with me that kids were friendly but didn’t view me as a friend?
I felt immense relief when I went to college and made friends at the Baptist Student Union. Finally, I was accepted. Maybe I did have something to offer. Maybe I wasn’t so weird after all.
But 14 years later, I realize that although my circumstances may have eased, my insecurities remain. I still shudder to go into a group setting alone. My tongue gets tied when socializing with someone whom I don’t know well. On one hand, I’m afraid to open up too much for fear that my flaws will be exposed, but on the other hand I can’t “not” express myself (mainly through writing and teaching) because God for some reason decided it would be a good idea to give me this intense desire to share my heart. But even when I do that – share my heart – I can’t be content with just that. I find myself looking expectantly to see if what I said was accepted.
Don’t get me wrong. If I am sharing truth about Jesus Christ and it’s rejected, I’m 100% okay with that. Instead, I’m fearful that I may be misunderstood, misinterpreted, or even blindly flat-out wrong. I’m fearful that I may inadvertently lead people away from Christ instead of to him. I’m fearful that if I let anyone in on the deepest recesses of my heart, where my insecurities and failures lie, I may be rejected.
This is something I’ve just learned to cope with, but now that I see similar issues arising with Drew, I can’t just shove it in a corner anymore. After all, if I can’t even get a handle on my own issues, how in the world am I to help him?
Coincidentally (or maybe not), one thing we talked about in class last night at church was how sometimes we need to come to our Father and dig into deep soul issues so he can heal us and set us free.
The possibility of being set free of my insecurity seems like an impossible dream.
But honestly I’m scared to death to even attempt to tackle it. I’m sure it won’t be easy and it will likely be painful. But I’ve got to let God heal me and free me of these chains.
If not only for me then for Drew.
I know just what you’re talking about, Jill! I was always the same way, always wanting to be who I was but afraid of how that, and I, would be accepted. I was the girl who at times desperately wanted to wear the things the other girls wore just so I would fit in.
I thought I was raising a little girl without those same concerns until my baby girl didn’t want to wear one of her (formerly) favorite shirts to PRESCHOOL because the other girls would make fun of her. My heart hurt for her while I tried my best to explain to her that if she loved something it didn’t matter what other people thought of it.
I’m right there with you, hoping to let go of my own insecurities and self-proclaimed inadequacies so I can help my daughter learn to be the wonderful, unique, amazing daughter of God that she was created to be.
Thanks for the input, Mandy!
Jennifer Smith says
Wow what a great article…First of all I never would have guessed in a million years that you struggled with this. I have struggled with the same issue my whole life. Self acceptance. I lived in constant fear as well and still it tries to creep in at times. In dealing with this issue in my life I had to first stop comparing myself to others and realize that God created me to put His glory on display and that when I reject my design than I am rejecting my designer. There are some things about our physical appearance that we cannot change. That is the way we were made. I had discovered I had an ungrateful spirit toward God concerning some of these unchangeable. Most people do not accept the way
God made them. They believe they are either too tall or too short, too dark or too light, or they may think their hair is too straight or too curly ect.. Every relationship in life will be affected by how we view ourselves. If we reject our design, it will be difficult to trust our Designer. I found for me being able to balance truth has helped me accept me. (no good in flesh…rom 7:18 vs wonderfully made psalm 139:14, desperately wicked jer 17:9 vs Image of God gen 1:27.) and lastly our differences should be the way God highlights his unique message through us and try attaching new meaning to old defects. Thanks for sharing this it was very encouraging.