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.