Everyone has insecurities. I think? Hopefully it’s not just me. I don’t know. They’re hard to talk about. Maybe it’s because the first reaction to this grand revelation is usually an inner dialogue that recites some form of “maybe, but not like mine.” It probably says something about the power of insecurity that as much as I hate it, I insist I have more than you. What really makes them so wicked is that thinking about them makes them worse, but oddly enough, ignoring them only seems to feed them too. They breed in the void, the unanswered, and the unaddressed.
Maybe it would be easier if they always looked the same. Insecurity is the root that sprouts false bravado and cowering fear, absolute conformity and ridiculous eccentricity. The only thing in common is the source. Insecurities are born at the intersection of this world’s need to measure everything and the suspicion, or even objective knowledge, that we just don’t measure up.
Am I good enough? attractive enough? Smart enough? Am I funny enough that people will like me anyway? The word enough lurks near every insecurity. Lutherans call that a law word. The law is the standard. It’s how things are supposed to be. Standards measure. Standards uncover weakness and failure. It’s their job. Do we measure up enough?
The law is good. I acknowledge it with every wish to measure up. God says “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” I wish I was too. Things would go better. I daydream about it, but this side of glory it seems like the only way to feel good ourselves is to convince ourselves that the standards aren’t real. Either find excuses that lower the bar or people who have screwed up worse than us until we don’t feel so bad anymore.
God wasn’t kidding about the whole “be perfect” thing. Falling short of the standard hurts. It leaves people wanting, suffering, and dying. It’s why I still can’t forget stupid things I did in 6th grade. Lutherans call that sin. Paul says “if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin.” I don’t measure up to perfect. That just leaves me, my insecurities, and all the damage that stems from all of it. Sin breaks stuff.
So go grab a bible. Try to figure out how to be better. Try to write yourself into the scriptures. I tried that, but my insecurities went right along. The Lord might be a shepherd, but I still want. He must not be mine. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I’m afraid of heights, let alone evil. Thy rod and staff don’t comfort me. My insecurities runneth over.
If you insist on reading yourself into the bible until you find a way to conquer your insecurities, it’s not going to work. The bible is not about you. The bible is about Jesus for you. You can’t will insecurity out of existence. It can only be conquered by love and trust. Insecurities must be defeated by an imposed identity that differs from what I see in the mirror. So God tells you who you really are. A proclaimed truth meets quiet insecurities. John sees it for what it is.
And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
~ 1 John 2:28–3:3
Your righteousness isn’t measured. It’s given. Right along with a new identity that washes away sin and shame and insecurity. You are children of God now. He made it so. You can know it. You are baptized. Jesus loves you so much that He would trade His life for everything your insecurities call worthless. The cross shows your value. The cost has been paid. Not in gold or silver, but in holy and precious blood. The savior died for you. That’s how precious you are. Confidence won’t come from looking inward and trying to measure up, but from looking to His cross and seeing what He has made us to be. Forgiven. Holy. Righteous. Loved.
God’s word is more than just a measuring stick. It is the gospel. It is the story of a God who loved you enough to declare you more than ‘better than someone else’. You’re His beloved child. God’s church will not be a house of false compliments. We will not excuse the standards or help you find new people to look down on. We are church. You’re welcome here, and so are your insecurities. There’s forgiveness for everything that they whisper about. The only word I never want to hear is ‘enough’. Forget the word enough. We have all. ALL your sins are paid for by Christ’s death. They’re gone. Be perfect. And so you are. Not on your own. Not by your works, but by His grace. He meets each insecurity with a cup that runneth over. He fills it with the very blood that washes you clean. This is enough to give hope that endures. This is enough to approach the throne of grace in confidence. This is enough to know that whatever I think about myself, God thinks I’m worth calling His baptized child.