I woke up panicked again today. Man, I hate that feeling, and I detest when I am consumed by thoughts of failure. Yes, it is insecurity raising its ugly head! UGH!!
I am sure you have met insecure people before, perhaps at work, at church, or around your neighborhood. You may even have family members who are deeply insecure. Most of the time insecure people behave in certain ways that immediately identity them as being afraid, timid, or always lacking in self-confidence or they may appear the exact opposite and be seen as braggarts, condescending, or obnoxious.
Insecurity: uncertainty or anxiety about oneself; lack of confidence.
We all suffer from insecurity at some point, and we all struggle to overcome insecurity (for some of us, it is a daily struggle whereas others find that it comes/goes depending on circumstance).
I know that for me I am probably one of those people who struggle off/on and not all the time. People seem to see me as confident or so I am told. Often when I reveal that I struggle with insecurity, friends and family will laugh (not to be mean, but more because they don't believe me) and tell me that it is impossible for me to be "insecure!" Yet, still I feel insecure at times.
Today is a good example for me. I woke up feeling panicked about my ethnography project. In truth, I really do not want to do this project at all. I was so up for learning how to conduct qualitative research -- thinking that it would mean writing narrative analysis (more like what I did as an English graduate student) rather than performing statistical calculations and analyzing numerical data. My summer class did turn out to be narrative, for the most part. The professor however set caveats on the kind of narrative work we could do -- and he limited us to conducting interviews with our cultural group. I am just not good at interviewing people. The truth be told -- I am scared to death to interview people. I can interview for business or ask questions that are general in nature, but when I have to speak with people about personal issues, well that makes me very uncomfortable. This doesn't mean that I cannot have a personal conversation with people -- naturally -- as it happens. I love to talk with people, it is just the pretense of setting up interviews, and being the one in charge of the conversation that frightens me. This is not a role I enjoy.
This morning I panicked, literally panicked. I woke up in a sweat, my head pounding, and my stomach turning. All I could think about was that I had to conduct interviews soon to make sure I had enough time to write up the research (due 8/1).
I started to think about how insecure I felt in this process. I know that I have to learn how to do this, and that for my grade, I have to do it, and do it well. Still, there is part of me that is gritting my teeth and stalling my feet -- doing whatever I can do to keep from having to complete this assignment.
Why do I do this? What do I react this way?
It is insecurity, plain and simple. I am insecure about my ability to perform this way. I feel inadequate and not up to the challenge. I feel that I lack knowledge in how to do it, that I don't have the right kind of questions to ask, and that I will make a serious fool out of myself when I actually do the work.
This is the name of my insecurity. It has a big bold name and it is the same fear I have had since I was a child. I am afraid of failing -- at anything.
After struggling for an hour or so, I gave myself a really good talking to and this is what I decided to do:
STOP BEING AFRAID AND TRUST GOD
Yes, I decided that the only way to overcome fear of failing or my insecurity regarding this project, was to step out in faith, and trust God to see me through this trial.
The blessing is that as soon as I made up my mind to stop thinking negatively, peace flooded my soul and I was able to let the fear go. I stood up and picked up my shield of faith and my sword of the Spirit and I took my place -- standing against the enemy -- my enemy who wanted nothing more than to see me beaten down in the dirt, cowering in a corner, crying out for God's deliverance. My enemy knows me well. He knows that he can beat me and get me to fall down anytime I am asked to do something outside my comfort zone. He knows that I do not like to do certain things, and that those things make me really uncomfortable (like public speaking -- good example). He also knows that as long as he gets me to keep my eyes on the mud and the muck and not on the RISEN AND EXALTED Lord -- he has me beat. As soon as I look up, he knows the battle is lost. My God, my ROCK and my REDEEMER are my strong tower. I am saved. I am righteous. I am free.
Some decisions I have made today:
- Stand up and take my place among God's warrior princesses (I love being a warrior princess!)
- Remember that the battle belongs to the Lord, and not to me
- Look up and see the TRUTH of the situation not the visual the enemy paints for me
- Confess Scripture over my situation (speak the Word of Truth -- Words of Life)
- Believe the Lord first and foremost
- Accept my situation as divinely appointed for this day (it is what it is)
- Trust the Lord to provide for my every need
- Walk in faith and live out the plans and the purposes He has for me