Insecurity wrecked my peace of mind. For months, chaos stormed my thoughts. Uncertainty wrung my gut. Questioning brought me to my knees. To my face. A thorn in my flesh; a fog clouding my convictions. What others are doing, what others are thinking, if they’re including me, if they’re including my children, if we’re fitting in and getting along and belonging. If not, why? What’s wrong with us? Have we done something to offend? Are we undesirable? Are people nice to our face while excluding us behind our backs? Doubts mounted as the snowball tumbled out of control. Every relationship, every area of my life and body was fair game. Does James really love me? Will he really be patient with my imperfections for a lifetime? Every time I mishandle myself with my kids, am I scarring them for life? Am I stylish enough, thin enough? What if I get comfortable with these extra five pounds? Will it turn into ten, then twenty, then thirty, then forty? What is the right balance of eating right and exercising versus obsessing? Are we eating the right foods and taking the perfect balance of supplements to avoid and prevent cancer? Is homeschooling really right for our kids? Are we steering them right for college? Have we made a mistake? Was I crazy to write a book? Who am I, anyway, to think anyone will read what I wrote, especially as much as the Lord still needs to sanctify in me? And on and on and on!!!
If you’ve read my blog long, you’ve heard rumblings of this wrestling match. It became more than I could bear. Shoulders pinned to the mat, strength waning, I determined to do something about it. To find freedom through God’s truth about security and belonging. A “data dump” of all the scriptures with which I’m familiar was balm to the irritation, but not the cure. Truth, yes. Freedom, not yet. Not knowing where to look next, I bought a book about insecurity. Written by a well-known Christian author, I was sure it would hold my answer. Several pages into the introduction, I knew it wasn’t the book God wanted me reading. My scriptural solution, and therefore my only hope, would be found in one place: His word.
Setting aside the book, I continued to ask the Lord where to turn in His word. I happened to be working through a Bible study on wisdom at the time and began the week on discernment and discretion. Nothing remarkable about that. I needed verses about security and belonging. Then I read author Sue Edwards’ words of introduction for the topic (Proverbs: Ancient Wisdom for a Postmodern World, Kregal Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. 2007. p. 42):
Remember when you watched a woman respond to a situation with keen insight? She was able to read the character and attitudes of the people involved. She quickly distinguished shades of meaning and saw beyond the obvious and superficial. She detected what was really going on, and understood what was true from what was false and what was right from what was wrong. Then she responded with wise choices and sound judgment.
This is a woman who is secure! She knows to whom she belongs. She desires to belong in the right places for the right reasons. She sees through the world’s lure in order to remain dedicated to heavenly objectives. I want to be her!
One of the scriptures Sue’s study referenced that week is I Corinthians 2:2. I turned to the address and stopped dead in my tracks. It was one of those moments when it was as if the Lord pinched my cheeks between His thumb and fingers, told me to look Him straight in the eyes, and gave me truth to settle my mental wresting match.
Scales fell. The fog cleared. Truth settled firm in my heart.
Insecurity. Belonging. It’s all answered in this passage.
Paul is writing to the Corinthians, explaining that he did not come to them with excellence of speech or wisdom. He contended with the same worldly and internal pressures to perform well and be impressive as we do, and like us, he had natural disadvantages that made it difficult to be and feel impressive. So, he says in verse three, he was with them in “fear, and in much trembling.” He’s describing me! Maybe you, too.
What Paul articulates in verse two is the answer to any insecurity we face. It’s what gave Him confidence – what got him through. Fifteen simple words that convey and mind-freeing, life-changing, God-pleasing truth:
For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
You see, our need to know we’re on the right track, doing the right things, saying the right things, giving the right impression, with the right people, will be affirmed AS we determine to know nothing among our circumstances or in our relationships but Jesus Christ and Him crucified. That is all that matters!!!
It’s when we determine to know other things – like acceptance, popularity, beauty, pleasure, accomplishment, a place on the fence between Christian and secular worlds, value by the world’s standards – that we lose our peace of mind. Our anchor. The waves come and begin to knock us off course.
So how do we apply Paul’s words to our lives? What does it look like in our everyday lives? What does it actually mean to determine to know nothing but Jesus and Him crucified? How do we go about implementing this truth in the nitty gritty of our activities and relationships ?
Stay tuned Thursday to see how God’s word gives us the practical answers we need to determine for ourselves to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Lord, pin the enemy to the mats of our minds as we turn to your word for freedom in our thoughts. Bring us to a place where the only thing we seek after is Jesus and Him crucified as we become more wholly Yours today.