Insecurities do funny things to us. They make us feel like the only things other people can see in us are our breaks, our bruises.
It starts out slow. These become the only things we can see in ourselves, so when we look in the mirror, we're haunted by our brokenness. But we're discouraged further by the wholeness that others seem to have. We're jealous. Angry, even. But over time, as our insecurities seep deeper, we start to see in others the same brokenness we see in ourselves so that two things happen. First, that's all we ever see of anybody. And second, we conclude that's the way the world was meant to be.
Then one might forgive oneself for being so haunted by it.
I can't really tell you how much of my life I've spent worried about what people might see in me. Far too much of it, that much is for sure. I've guarded my words, and my heart, and tried to speak in such clear, precise language that I could never lead anyone down a path that might reveal my inner emptiness, my insecurity. I wouldn't want you to think about me in my weakest points - naked, questioning, wondering, wandering. I've always tried to make sure there's a wall between you and I so that, even if you realize I am any of these things, you can't see enough of it to use against me.
It's kind of exhausting, really.
And then I stepped into ministry. I stepped into doing this thing that God has asked me to do. And you don't have to be in ministry for this lesson to apply to you; it's just where I've learned it. But here's the thing: All of a sudden, I found myself surrounded by insecurity every day. My own. Other people's. Systemic, organizational insecurities at times. I have realized that the more I love people, the more I look around and at any given moment, I can see someone who is in a situation that for years, I would never let myself be caught dead in. Someone is naked, questioning, wondering, wandering. Someone is...being human.
And it's never this weakness that I hear the loudest.
It's not. I can look at persons in tough, vulnerable, broken, insecure situations in their lives and not have a single degrading thought like I'd have about myself if I saw such a person in the mirror. It's the furthest thing from my mind. I can see someone naked - literally or otherwise - and their nakedness is not what strikes me the most about them. I can see someone questioning - out loud or in their head, and I hear the strength, not the weakness, in their shaking voice. I can see someone wondering - unsure of the words - or wandering - unsure of the path - and the only thing I can think in any such moment is how much they need God. How much they need a real, powerful, present God. And how honored I am to get to be God in those moments.
Which is one thing. But the other thing is this, and it's important, too:
When I used to think about situations like these, I used to worry about how I would show up in them. I used to worry about appearing naked before a naked man, about questioning in front of a questioner. I used to wonder about wondering in the company of others, and what would happen if I was found to be wandering. I used to think that because all I could see in myself, and eventually in others, seemed to be insecurity, if insecurity was all that anyone could see in me. And maybe it was. But if it was, it was because I put it there. Right out on the forefront for all the world to see.
The truth is that when I find myself in places where insecurity seems to matter the most, it matters the least, and that's not just for others; it's for me, too. Just as I'm not looking and what's not important, no one else is, either. No one's distracted by my nakedness. No one's put off by my questions. Somehow, our insecurities draw us together and something beautiful happens there.
We're there for each other. Naked, questioning, wondering, wandering, but there. Together. Present. Before God and all men. Totally insecure, but safe in His arms. Broken together. And better, together.