I wasn’t going to write this post. Or I should say, I wasn’t going to rewrite this post. I lost it when my trusty laptop-from-seminary-days finally decided to kick the bucket. I wrote the original on Tuesday when I was sitting in the church that I attend here in Bakersfield. I spent a good chunk of time at church on Monday and Tuesday. I’d opened up the fellowship hall for students to come and study, accompanied by plenty of caffeine, sugar, and junk food. You know, the basic necessities when it’s time to study for finals. Except no one really came. It was the study hall that wasn’t. This is mostly my fault, since I didn’t have the timing quite right when it came to publicity and advertising (read: I advertised too late), albeit unintentionally. This is what happens when you learn as you go. And then a friend wrote something on Facebook that brought up this post again, so I’m putting it out there. Maybe it’s too vulnerable (and you’re not interested in reading that). And it certainly isn’t about any of the major country and world events that are going on right now, and I feel like I should comment on those. Oh, and it isn’t about Advent either. And maybe it’s not theological enough, but here it goes.
My first semester in this new position evaporated out from underneath my feet. Where did it go? But boy, was it fun! I explored a new campus, met incredible students, and enjoyed the warm weather. It’s been about 70 lately. Don’t hate me. At the same time though, as I walked onto campus each day, I couldn’t help but be assailed with thoughts like these: How do I walk up to a complete stranger and start spiritual conversations? “Hi, would you like to talk about God?”, isn’t exactly a proffer that puts someone at ease when you’re talking to someone you don’t know. I can’t do that.
“Who am I to tell them that they need Jesus?” That sounds incredibly pompous. “Maybe they’re just fine the way they are.”
“But there is that whole ‘original sin’ thing. It’s not really a question of whether or not their life is falling apart. But people don’t respond well to that either.”
“What if Jesus doesn’t reveal himself to them to be as powerful and transformative as I say he is? After all, the transformation can be really hard to see sometimes.”
In other words, my doubts start out pointed at me and my weaknesses, and before I know it, they’re directed at Jesus. It’s my job to spread the Gospel of Jesus. This is not good.
Perhaps this is because it can sometimes be hard to see the change that Jesus has worked in me. I oftentimes feel just as insecure as I’ve always been. My insecurities come from a deep, dark place within me, stemming from the trauma of my childhood. I really don’t understand why they keep bubbling up. I know the place of lies from which the insecurities come. I understand it. I’ve made my peace. God has redeemed and continues to redeem everything that lies in that deep, dark hole. The source seems to be largely inoculated. Why then, does it still have such power over me?
I don’t live each day as an insecure mess. I do believe Jesus is everything I’ve said he is, and more. He does transform lives, hearts, and the world. Each day, I strive to be the woman I know God has created me to be, versus the scared eight-year-old inside me that just wants to curl up and hide. I live this way because I know I can. I am not the eight-year-old anymore. Because of Jesus, I am more than that. But it’s a tooth-and-nail fight sometimes. And sometimes I lose. I do not step into the power, authority, and identity of my Savior, and I lose. And sometimes by some miracle, I win. I believe in the power of Jesus, which is the best word of good news ever, and I have a good conversation with said stranger. Or I help a student through a crisis. But was it enough of a win? It’s hard. It’s hard to be the person I know I’m created to be. The person I know I am. And I’m wondering…is it this hard for everyone else?
How about you? Do you struggle with insecurity? How do you deal with it? How have you overcome?