No one can make us feel quite as unsure about ourselves as another woman. And nothing can wound as much as the words that sometimes come from a friend or from inside our own head. That’s why (in)courage exists as an online community committed to making safe spaces for women to connect. Each Wednesday this month we’ve shared some of our stories of overcoming insecurity in order to choose friendship on purpose. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading along and joining us in our weekly Community Challenge geared toward kicking insecurity to the curb and connecting more deeply with our friends.
Week 4: It’s Risky, But Do It Anyway
I’m an introvert. If I had my way, I would hide away in the safety of my house (all cozy and safe by the fire, coffee in hand). I prefer to surround myself with people I trust will only laugh with me, not at me or behind my back. But in spite of my preference to stay in the safety of my little nest, God keeps drawing me out into the risky world of connection and vulnerability.
I was bullied and taunted by mean girls in fifth and sixth grade. My best friend moved away, and I was left behind. I was a vulnerable target — a quiet girl without a strong friendship group around me.
I know in my heart that their own low self-worth, or perhaps even issues of jealousy, must have contributed to the girls’ behavior towards me. I tried to remember to offer them grace and forgiveness rather than holding bitterness, even though I don’t remember any apologies (other than perhaps through their parents once I broke down and my mom had to confront them).
I was already terrified of public attention and public speaking or anything that directed attention to me in any way, so having girls follow me home from school mocking me every step of the way was my worst fear realized.
The bullying stopped after sixth grade (gratefully) and I was (happily) finally left alone. I certainly didn’t want a repeat of that experience, so more than ever I felt it was best just to stay in the safety of the shadows as much as possible, lest any unwanted attention was drawn to myself in any way.
My story sounds pathetic and heartbreaking, so I almost didn’t share it. I mean, it would be way less frightening and more self-serving to offer the illusion that I’m one of the popular girls people follow because I’m so awesome or that I never fear or feel rejection, rather than to admit I’ve been followed by girls who simply wanted to mock me. Right? I mean, honestly, how uncool is that?
It was a hard time, yes, but I think God had more redeeming lessons for me to learn from the experience, than to take away the idea that I’m unworthy to serve because of how others saw me.
Somehow that season in my life gave me an unexplainable sense of confidence (amidst the fear) that God is with me and beside me, cheering me on, even in my weakness and even if the world is not with me. Feeling that sense of being weak, or different and rejected, yet pressing through it to reach out to a hurting world is part of being a follower of Christ.
God doesn’t call us to fit in, be popular, or be accepted by the world around us. While it’s wonderful to feel that sense of connection and love when it’s offered in return, we are called to be set apart and even glaringly different. Even when we experience being mocked or gossiped about or hurt by community, He asks us to remember who we are and why we are here, to press through that fear to love people anyway.
The vulnerability of putting ourselves out there to share life, connect, and be in relationship with others, in spite of our weakness or painful experiences, is a part of the risk we take as a Christ follower to care about and impact the world.
That risk to love others can be like asking for a giant spotlight to be pointed squarely at our insecurity and vulnerabilities, inviting the world to snicker at us or trip us up so we’ll make a fool of ourselves.
While the honest truth is I would like to just nestle quietly into my home (alone with my family) for a long winter’s nap, in being a willing follower of Christ I’ve offered myself up to serve Him in the world in whatever He asks of me. He already knows me, He knows the risk. But He still asks me to get up and out the door to show His love.
He reminds me every day to open that door (or open that computer) to invite others in to my home (being a home decor blogger is risky, and yet I know I’m called to do it anyway). He offers me that opportunity to be vulnerable and connect with the world (writing books to connect with others is horrifyingly scary at times, yet I know I’m called in this season to do it anyway). He nudges me to offer time to serve my church (even if no one else shows up to thank me or join me!). He asks me to reach out to others in friendship or even for help (even if they don’t offer kindness or encouragement in return.)
It is hard to press through insecurities and discouragement to head out in search of community. But we are called to do it anyway. To be a fully devoted follower of Christ, we have to be willing to surrender the preoccupation with our needs, our weakness, our agenda, and our own insecurities so we can remember our purpose to show love to the world and rest in our identity found in Christ.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
(2 Corinthians 12:9)
This week let’s come together and ask ourselves the following questions as we wrap up this mini-series on facing our insecurities:
- What if you surrendered that insecurity to God this week and offered yourself fully to His service?
- What might He ask you to do? What unexpected adventures might He send you on? Will you willingly follow Him, even if it is risky?
- Who is God calling you to love and why might you be the one He has chosen for the mission?
Our weakness is the very thing God wants to use to show His love in powerful ways to someone else. It’s risky to be vulnerable, but do it anyway!
Missed some of the other posts in this series? You can find them here!