The powerful truth that defeats insecurities

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photo credit: Creative Commons user Ingesting

Like that lonely thread all by itself that you pull on an old sweater, I found myself unraveling my calling recently.

It started off innocently enough, with someone pushing back on my theology. I didn’t get prickly or defensive. I went introspective. Let me try to get you in my mode of warped thinking.

Ever heard someone tell you how they hate they could only get to the gym twice this week and think, “Geez…quit saying I’m lazy!” Or maybe you’ve heard someone mention how they’ve switched to a new, healthy way of eating and all you hear is, “You’re so irresponsible with your diet!” Or maybe someone says, “I love getting up early to read my Bible” and all you hear is a heap of condemnation thrown your way.” They say one thing…you hear another.

The unraveling begins

That’s sort of what happened recently when I was questioned about my theology. Not “questioned” as in “What do you believe about ____.” Questioned as in, “Why would you ever say ____?!?”

The thread was hanging loose and I gave it a little tug, only to have more of the thread exposed. Another little pull left more thread in my hand. Another jerk and a hole appeared in the sleeve.

I started wondering, “Am I really a theologian? Do I even have any idea what I’m talking about?” I thought, “Has God really called me to ministry? Am I being effective? Have I ever been effective?” I let my mind wander: “Why would God call me into ministry? Why would He ever use me to lead people and communicate truth?”

I’m useless. I’m worthless. I have nothing to offer.

Feeding the lie

I stopped myself.

I was being fed a Lie. And I was tossing him more snacks. With every passing thought, that Lie was hastily burrowing itself into the fabric of my identity. My identity that is deeply rooted in Christ was being unraveled and dismantled, and I was watching it happen before my eyes.

If I didn’t do something quickly, the whole sweater was about to be a pile of thread in my hands.

So I did what you have to do if you want to stop the thread: I cut it off. I didn’t allow it to do more damage. I didn’t keep pondering the theological challenge. I didn’t keep feeding the Lie. I snipped it with a pair of scissors.

I can only think that if identity insecurities crop their nasty head up in my life, they do in yours, too. When we should find our identity in being called the King’s son, we often find it in

  • being a parent
  • our career
  • our church
  • our hobby
  • our insights
  • being right
  • our theology
  • our talents

Reorienting your identity

When someone questions one of those “identities,” the thread comes loose. You find yourself either lashing out in anger or turning inwards in deep introspection.

The answer to this spiral is to root your identity not in what you’ve earned, but in who God has declared you to be.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will… – Ephesians 1:3-5 (emphasis mine)

You’re a child of the King

No longer are you outsiders and foreigners and weird cousins. You’re now a son, with all of the inheritance and blessings that a son should receive. And nobody can take that name from you. Not even you.

Let that truth fight the Lie of insecurity for you.

* photo credit: Creative Commons user Ingesting




Christ follower, husband, father, writer, small groups pastor at Saddleback Community Church. Communications director for the Small Group Network.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Pierre

    Thanks for this Ben, there’s a few things I take away from it:
     – words are powerful, even (or especially) on leaders. That one single remark would eventually lead to such introspection, was probably not the intention of the person who said that to you.
     – there is a  time for pondering, there is a time to stop pondering. Once you are convinced of your calling, there is no need to keep tugging at it. And I’ll remind you you once tweeted that God’s calling to you was incredibly clear, so keep on being secure in it!

    • Ben Reed

      You should write this as a blog post, Pierre. Great follow-up to what I wrote!

      And thanks for the encouragement/reminder. You’re a good friend, Pierre!

  • @louisvillebobby

    Good post, Ben. When I feel insecure and it happens often, I just keep reverting back to Romans 8:1 “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. 
    I am secure in my identity (Galatians 2:20) but as a man still struggling through this wretched world as an alien, the guilt and shame can be so overwhelming. I just have to stay focused and trust in the promises of God.

    • Ben Reed


  • Matt Steen

    This is seriously good stuff… especially today.

    Thanks for this, Ben!

    • Ben Reed

      Thanks for the encouragement, Matt!

  • Arny

    Great encouragment today Ben…


    • Ben Reed

      Thanks Arny!

  • Pastor Rod Kesselring

    Good stuff Ben.  2 resources I return to in those times (outside of Scripture) are Victory Over The Darkness by Neil Anderson and The Lies We Believe by Chris Thurman.  Both foundational books that remind me of the traps the enemy uses in my life.  Insecurity and affirmation have always been a huge struggle. The older I get the more I grow to crave His approval (which is free) than man’s which costs.  Thanks for the reminder :)

    • Ben Reed

      Not familiar with the Thurman resource, Rod. I’ll have to look into it. Thanks for sharing!

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