09 Jan Anxiety – Insecurity – Fear… Are they Holding you Back?
My husband and I recently joined a missional community group, and we only knew one other couple. I sort of love when nobody knows me, It’s a clean slate. No preconceived notions about who I am… I get to start fresh and I’ve always loved that. I used to love when I went to Young Life camp as a summer staffer and no one knew anything about me, or my family. I wasn’t the depressed girl, or the girl who lost her father to suicide, or the girl with a single mom. I was just me. It’s a chance to be more myself.
On the first night of MC (missional community) group we broke up into two groups, men and women. As we shared our prayer requests, the conversation shifted to the women’s conference. I was shocked to learn that I was the only one who had signed up for the conference. I’d probably go to every conference if I had more time and disposable income. I love learning and I love the spiritual high that events like these cultivate. We’d only been at this church for a few months, so I hadn’t gotten to know many people. After fifteen years at our previous church, this was way out of my comfort zone. No one knows anything about me. They’re trying to figure me out. What’s my story? You can’t walk around your church passing out your “resume.”; your list of activities you’ve volunteered for, prayed over, ministries you’ve been a part of or lead. For me a conference was a great way to meet other women, develop some new friendships and begin to make some real connections.
As we talked about it more, I was surprised that the majority of the women in our MC group found the conference either intimidating, or completely out of their comfort zone. They longed for the connections, but their “anxieties” prevented them from taking the next step. Their reasons consisted of being introverted, overwhelmed by the crowds, or leaving their children. I gently reminded them that I knew no one yet was diving in with both feet. I too am introverted and have plenty of insecurities. Many times, these conferences can be places where friends gather and can leave you feeling left out. Your perception is everyone knows each other, but me. Regardless this shouldn’t stop us from engaging in something that will only grow our faiths.
I left there questioning whether the reasons that the women wouldn’t attend were anxiety or worse, insecurity. I’m not here to judge or presume to know their hearts, but it made me wonder how often these lines are blurred. Are we often confusing anxiety with insecurity?
Having been to one before, I knew that a conference like this had the potential to replenish, refresh and reenergize women in their walks, so I knew what I would be missing out on by not attending. When we allow insecurity to creep in and keep us from doing something bold that has the potential to allow us to grow the ways we want to, we’re actually allowing fear to guide our decisions. So, our inner insecurities create fear, and our fears keep us from stepping fully into this life – whether it’s in the form of a conference, joining a community or group, dating… what would happen if we stopped allowing fear to dictate our lives?
It’s fascinating that the most repeated command in the Bible is “Do not be afraid.” Three hundred and sixty-five times to be exact. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Honestly, fear guides my decisions more then I’d care to admit.
The next time you get those butterflies in your stomach, ask yourself these questions. Am I nervous? Am I excited? Does this situation make me feel insecure? Who is speaking these thoughts in my mind? Is it me, is it the enemy, or is it Jesus? Jesus is the anchor for our confidence. Jesus’s opinion of us is truth.