Archives For insecurity

I love Tom & Jerry. That playful cat and mouse bring back such beautiful memories of after school peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.

(Oh, and of course, gratuitous violence).

Remember those classic reels where Jerry would smash Tom with a hammer and a giant lump would grow out of his head? And then in a beautiful moment of animated realism, Tom would push the bulging lump back down into his skull only to watch it pop up again on the other side.

Watching these cartoons didn’t turn me into a violent criminal, but I wonder if I subliminally learned more from them than I realize.

As I wrote in yesterday’s post, we’re wired to build over the top of our broken places rather than dig them up from the roots. And just like Tom, we end up trying to push these giant, gaping wounds back down into place only to watch them re-emerge just as blatantly somewhere else.

We can put filters in place to help manage an internet porn addiction. But if we don’t dig up the root of lust, the issue will just find a new place to grow.

We can work through feelings of jealousy towards a friend. But if we refuse to address the core of our insecurity, envy will just find new victims to target.

Arrogance doesn’t always manifest as obnoxious overconfidence. Squelch it there, and it could find new expression in your piety. Spiritual pride is perhaps the ugliest mutation. Deal with it at the root.

What brokenness are you simply trying to manage? Find the courage to go back to the source. Dig it up. Or you may find yourself maneuvering around different expressions of the same root cause. Pushing down one cranial contusion only to find it popping up again somewhere else. Maybe somewhere you weren’t expecting.

Repentance is a beautiful thing. Jesus is ready to meet you there.

Last night our furnace went out. Yep.

As Icemageddon, Snoprah, or whatever term of endearment you gave this September baby boom to be, bore down angrily on seemingly every poor soul in this great nation, my 11 year old furnace decided to be a quitter. To take its warm air and go home. Stupid baby.

And my testosterone levels began dropping with every degree of the thermostat.

You see, I likely know more about the governmental policies of Albania than I know about fixing a furnace. In fact, I don’t know much of anything about fixing anything in our house (except a pot of coffee). And my wife’s concern combined with my kids cold noses quickly began mixing into a toxic soup of self-doubt.

Why haven’t you learned how to do these things?

Your family can’t count on you.

Their impending frost bite is your fault.

Why don’t you ever remember to replace the filter?

And instead of wrestling with the real issue at hand, I quickly engaged in battle with my own insecurities. The focus shifted from helping my family to swimming around (or more like ice fishing I guess) in worthless self-indulgence. I was in danger of quitting just like my furnace.

I think this happens with God, too. I wrote about it in a little different way last week, and even talked about it at City Community Church this past Sunday.

I think one of the enemy’s greatest tactics is to get us engaged in the wrong battle.

Jesus came to mess with our normal. To disrupt. His words are often disturbing. Challenging. Meant to leave us questioning our self-driven motivations. Jesus stands in the road with His hand out as if to say, “You don’t want to go that way. Trust me. You want to follow me. There is more to this life than the pursuit of yourself.”

These are realities worth wrestling with.

But many of us choose instead to clash with insecurity. With shame. With comparison. With condemnation. Why am I not more like that guy? Why don’t I have those talents? When am I going to be that way?

And we become easily distracted from true Kingdom conflict. The kind of conflict that really matters. That can change us and the world around us.

Self pity wasn’t going to fix my furnace last night. A few phone calls, a creative wife, a vacuum cleaner, a courageous trip to Menard’s for a new filter, (an angry, ignorant smack on the side of the unit here and there), and a desperate prayer for supernatural intervention, however? That did it. That was the battle worth engaging.

Are you engaging the right battle? The one that really matters? Are you wrestling with Jesus words in your life or just your own insecurities?

Deal With Your Crap

Erik Cooper —  June 2, 2010 — 6 Comments

You can get away with a lot in the minor leagues. A little slow off the line? No problem. So is everyone else. Can’t dribble with your left hand? No worries. Neither can your defender. Occasionally caught napping in the dugout? So what? There aren’t any TV cameras at a minor league ballgame.

But in the pros? Yeah. The bar? Higher. The pressure? Immeasurable. The competition? Scary. Your weaknesses?

Obvious.

Visible.

Exposed.

(like one of those dreams where you’re out in public in your undies…yeah, you have them, too).

One of the best pieces of advice I got before my buddy Nathan and I launched City Community Church was “deal with your crap.” All the issues and brokenness you were able to keep hidden from others (and even yourself) will come screaming to the surface when you jump to the big leagues. Boy was that good advice.

Saul, the first king of Israel, had some crap he never dealt with. Some see these verses as a sign of humility. To me, they scream of unfaced insecurity. An early sign of the disastrous future that was in store.

“But I’m ONLY a Benjamite, from the SMALLEST of Israel’s tribes, and from the MOST INSIGNIFICANT clan in the tribe at that. WHY ARE YOU TALKING TO ME like this? (1 Samuel 9:21 MSG)

Classic self-protection. A sign of rot at the core. And this crap that was never dealt with would torment King Saul, ravage his closest relationships, destroy his kingdom, and ultimately end his life.

Tragic.

Avoidable.

Courage. Honesty. Vulnerability. Relationship. True community. All these things could have helped King Saul expose his raging insecurities. And repentance and accountability could have healed them.

Yet many seem to think they can just jump to the next level, head to the pros, and skip over shoveling the crap. The next level doesn’t fix you, it exposes you.

Marriages, business partnerships, even church pulpits (honestly, especially church pulpits) are full of people hiding from their stuff. Ignoring their brokenness. Running from their pain. And leaving a holocaust in their wake.

The next level will always expose. It’s inevitable.

But dealing with your crap is hard. It costs. Sometimes more than we think we can pay. But the bill for hiding our junk will come due. And it may have eternal consequences (and not just for you).

Repentance is liberating. Grace is free. Admitting we’re broken is the expensive part.

Is it time to deal with your crap?

Unfaced Insecurity

Erik Cooper —  September 16, 2009 — 4 Comments

It’s taken me awhile to come to this conclusion, but I think the absolute, unequivocal, hands down most ugly and dangerous quality of any leader is unfaced insecurity.  I would gladly take incompetent over insecure.  Yeah, seriously.

Incompetence can be frustrating and paralyzing to an organization.  But incompetence can usually be clearly seen, even shored up with a level of humility and the right team around it.  And if it’s simply beyond overcoming, it’s an easy and objective exit.  Insecurity, on the other hand, can be stealth, appear kind, even empowering, but then slit your throat from behind (I don’t know about you, but I prefer my knives straight in the sternum).  Yeah, I’ll take incompetence every time.

I guarantee as you read this you’re picturing that boss, that politician, that obnoxious member of your home owners’ association, a co-worker, spiritual leader, or maybe even one of your own parents.  But where does your insecurity reside?

We’re all very good at hiding our faults, our failures, those dark hidden places we know are there but impulsively protect.  In fact, I would go as far as to say the ugly things we so easily see in others are usually somewhat of a reflection of ourselves, we just prefer to work it out in their life instead of our own (ouch, that one stung a little).  A tell-tale sign of insecurity is a passionate unwillingness to look within.

Insecurity is the result of protecting something we don’t want others to see.  God created within us an unwavering desire to be completely known and yet unconditionally loved.  Unfortunately, we live in a broken world of imperfect people incapable of perfectly providing what we so desperately need.  So we fake it.  We control our image, hide the junk, squash the reality because we’re afraid of being shamed or rejected for who we actually are.

And when we find ourselves in places of leadership (and really all of us are leading somebody whether we like it or not), our unaddressed insecurities instinctively force us to do almost anything to keep people from knowing our truth for fear of losing position, title, accolades…our fragile egos.  That’s a lethal combination.

So here’s my advice:  deal with your junk.  Face your insecurities and what they’re trying to hide.  Sniff it out.  Look inside.  Find a friend.  A counselor.  Be honest.  Confess.  Repent.  Live a vulnerable life.  Unfaced insecurities will destroy you and everyone that comes within striking distance.