I believe that life plays out exactly like the comments section of a YouTube video or social media post. Unfortunately, all comment sections on the internet are filled with unfiltered judgments about a person’s:
Ironically or not, our own inner thoughts also look like the comments section. As humans, our thoughts about other people including ourselves wander toward:
Our inward comment section builds insecurity and approval seeking tendencies to become the guiding force of our lives.
Being a human means it’s advantageous to be accepted and belong in a tribe or community to flourish spiritually, relationally and emotionally. Which means the worst thing that could happen to us is to become a victim of the “comment sections” of people’s words and thoughts that could threaten our standing in the tribe and gnaw at the root of our insecurities.
But I see a more unfortunate correlation in all of this. And it’s this:
Seeking the approval of other people leads to a life of
Simply put, you may be shocked at how much your desire for approval has kept you from being the person you have always wanted to be and doing the things you’ve always wanted to do.
So, here are three ways to deal with insecurities and the need for approval.
(1) Stare at your insecurities with Jesus and accept them.
Guess what, your insecurity is normal. And you’re allowed to be a human. I think we try and lie to ourselves about feelings that are simply real and true. Even if we’re not in denial, some of us feel guilty to bring our feelings to Jesus because now He has to clean up another mess that is “me.” This hinders a practice of addressing our deep-rooted fears with Christ and letting Him transform them.
Story Time:I had a white leather couch I decided I was going to commit my mornings with Jesus to in the spring of 2016. As a youth pastor, I was feeling insecure that my students preferred other leaders over me. Additionally, we weren’t growing or winning new students into relationship with Christ.
It was devastating because I thought I was basically irresistible. I wore tight jeans and had a man bun—what teenager wouldn’t want to attend? It was on this couch that I sat with Jesus and thought, “You know what…I am not doing well at my job. I am feeling like I am not much better than other youth pastors I watch. I don’t think I am as great of a leader as I think I am.”
It was amazing how the confession of my insecurities changed my ministry and relationship with God. It allowed a dependence to flow from me to Him. It allowed His Holy Spirit to transform me and my insecurities into a humble confidence that eventually turned into a more successful God-centered life and ministry.
He could do something with the thing I finally gave Him.
So maybe you need to sit down with Jesus and say: “I do feel really insecure about my lack of success. I do feel like I am bad at managing my emotions. I do feel like I am not attractive enough. I do feel like I am not as smart as my friends or spouse. I do feel like my life is a series of let-downs.” Have permission to accept the reality of your insecurities.After all, you’re only human.
(2) Celebrate your unique identity that God personally tailored for you only
Yay Western Individualistic Post-Modernism! *Insert Millennial Snowflake joke here*
This point is cliché yet true. God has placed inside of you a combination of giftings, experiences and a personality that is unique to you. By celebrating what only you have, you’ll be drawn away from the approval you don’t have, to emphasize and enjoy that which you do have.
The minute you discover your identity in His kingdom is the moment you operate freely. Because you learn that you were never meant to be someone else.
I can’t always offer people a shock and awe speech as a leader. I can’t always find an unshakeable conviction in what I believe all the time. I can’t always be extroverted with people or confident in making important decisions.
But I can offer people Drew no matter what. I can offer people someone who is wrestling. Someone who is passionate, analytic, sympathetic, sensitive, and a closet nerd.
So celebrate you, instead of who you’re not.
(3) Be strong enough to admit insecurity with people you seek approval from. Before they do…
CEO and Entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk, talks about how you would never win in a rap battle against Eminem or Drake simply because they’re too busy admitting all of their weaknesses.
Eminem & Drake rap about their emotional inadequacies, inability to keep women, or personal failures. They easily dismember critics or rivals by leaving them with nothing to call out because every worthy “dis” has been named and identified. I used to try and deny my weaknesses. And would feel frightened by feedback or critique.
Now I practice publicly owning my weaknesses as often as I can.
In conversations with co-workers, I am very quick to identify areas that I need growth. It tells them that I am self-aware and confident that my insecurities will not hinder me. Owning your weaknesses gives you a sense of being untouchable because your worst critic (you) has already pointed out your weaknesses first. What is the worst thing that someone could possibly say now?
And just in case you don’t trust rap as a worthy example…
Paul, an author in the New Testament Scriptures, boasts of his own weaknesses. Paul refers to a thorn in his flesh that he pleads with God to take away. But God doesn’t take it away. “But [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Sometimes weakness can be used by God to keep us dependent on Him. God doesn’t create our insecurity, but can sometimes let it take residence inside of us so that we cling to Him more.
While we don’t know if Paul’s thorn was a flaw or insecurity, we know that it was a weakness that God left with him in order to experience something better: a revelation of God’s power.
When we are quick to boast in our weaknesses they can’t intimidate us, because we can rely and depend on our Father where we find our true value.
My challenge to you
As we continue our Crave series and learn about freedom in Christ, I challenge you to have some time with God and be real with him about your insecurities, weakness, and doubts. There’s strength in Christ on the other side of weakness. Come back and join us for the final three weeks of the series as we take a look at some of the most common appetites and addictions that people grapple with, and how we can find freedom in Jesus.
-Drew Daniels, Young Adults Director