The Insecurity Train
Anyone else scroll through old photos and scrutinize everything? Outfit, hair, smile, ankle fat? Just me?
Cuz this has been my least favorite quarantine activity (or quarantivity). But my insecurities have been working overtime yelling inside my brain and pulling me into this horrible and pointless spiral.
I’ve thought about deleting every photo. I’ve thought about never taking another picture again. Then I’ve thought about how ridiculous that is. Why? Because those photos are priceless. They remind me of memories with friends and moments I treasure.
But knowing that doesn’t shut up the insecurities. (And being a pastor who tries to help others in this area doesn’t make me immune to the enemy here. Usually it makes me a target. And the enemy is working overtime in my head these days.)
So, when the insecurity train picks me up and speeds off toward "Bad-self-esteem-ville" I know I have to be intentional about getting off the train. How? By taking captive my thoughts.
We know that’s a bible verse (and if you didn’t now you do...2 Corinthians 10:5 to be exact), but what does that even mean, really?
It means I trade the negative insecure lie for truth. And yes, those insecurities are a lie, or are rooted in one.
Maybe they are rooted in the lie that people need to validate you...or maybe they are rooted in the lie that your value is in your looks...or maybe they are rooted in the lie that you just plain aren’t good enough or you're at least not as good as someone else. ALL LIES! (Sorry for yelling but I want to make sure you get that part.)
My bad hair day and swollen ankles do not determine my value. A weird face in a photo does not determine my beauty. One bad photo, or moment or day, does not negate my worth.
I would tell all of the above things to my daughters and to the young women I have the privilege of pastoring. I would tell them they are fearfully and wonderfully made. I would tell them that their identity and security is in Christ. I would tell them they need to see themselves how Christ sees them. So I know to tell myself the same things. And I do. I repeat them over and over. I pray them. I ask God to remind me.
Wanna know something? As a mother, I never ever ever look at a photo of my daughters and not see how beautiful and valuable they are. I never pay attention to their hair or weird smiles and judge their worth. They are always beautiful and valuable to me. Always.
You know what I know? God is a good and loving father. So I can’t imagine that He scrolls through my social media photos and judges my worth by those pictures.
I think He sees a mom laughing with her girls. I think He sees a daughter enjoying a memory with her parents. I think He sees a youth pastor pouring into students. I think He sees me. The real me. The imperfect me. The me that is so much more than skin and makeup and hair. I think He looks at my heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)
So, I take all the insecurities and I tell them to be quiet. When I hear my Savior's voice tell me I’m worth dying for, I pull the cord and stop that train and I step off and into His love for me.
Sometimes I have to do that 100 times a day. The point is that I keep doing it. That I keep believing Him over the noise and fear and insecurities. The more I do that, the easier it is to scroll through memories and just enjoy them and the many blessings they represent.
I don’t do it just for me. That’s important to know. If it was just for me then maybe I could neglect the hard work of this fight. But I have two daughters who watch me. I want to pass on to them bravery and confidence and grace and strength. Not fear. Not insecurity. I want them, and the other young women I teach/mentor/pastor, to see what the fight looks like and know that the fight can be won. I want them to know I’m not spouting nice words but I’m slaying the same shadows they are and that if I can be stronger than the darkness, so can they. (Trust me, because most days I don't feel stronger. Most days I don't even have the strength on my own. That's where Jesus comes in.)
Maybe your insecurity isn’t found looking through old photos. Maybe it isn’t even about appearance. But whatever little fear whispers in your ear and tries to make you feel less than...you tell that thing to shut up! You fight it. Keep fighting it. When you get tired, call me and we will fight it together.
PS: Here are some less than flattering pictures that represent fun and meaningful moments. Feel free to laugh at my crazy theatre face when you see the pic with the pink hat. Also know that that koala hat was super warm in the winter and the students have made it a whole thing that I love. (See, those insecurities trying to ruin perfectly awesome things in my life. But I won't let them. I get to decide. And you get to enjoy.)