I am insecure.
Way more than I'd like to admit. WAY more.
When we get home from parties, I replay social interactions in my head because I'm afraid I might have said something strange or wrong or unintentionally hurtful.
Often I find myself hesitating to initiate conversations because I convince myself that the other person wouldn't want to talk to me.
Sometimes I wonder if my marriage is okay for no reason at all.
Because I told you, I am insecure.
I can actually pin-point the moment it all started.
Seventh grade. The Earl H. Slaughter Middle School cafeteria. Lunchtime.
My family had moved to Texas a few weeks earlier, after having lived in Alaska my entire life. I had grown up with two parents who loved me, a community that cared about me and a wonderful parcel of lifelong friends. For a twelve-year-old girl, I was remarkably un-self-conscious.
North Dallas was a culture shock. The girls had highlights in their hair, sweaters from The Gap and L.L. Bean backpacks. I had bad bangs, hand-me-downs and hadn't even started shaving my legs yet.
Still, it seemed to go well at first. Kids were nice to me and I made friends.
The culture of seventh grade included a lot of note passing. A LOT. As in we were writing and intricately folding and passing notes all day long. One of the signs of being "in" was to get notes and have someone to give them to.
One day at lunch time I found a note passed between two of my new friends. It was open and I started to read it.
The note was about me.
In it, she made fun of my bangs and bushy eyebrows, my hairy legs and old clothes. She laughed at the fact that I was from Alaska, wrote that I probably "lived in an igloo or something." She called me clueless.
I was devastated.
Just heart broken.
My whole world changed.
It was the first time in my young life that someone was not who I thought they were. And more than that, the first time I'd experienced betrayal. I'd trusted those girl's friendship and they ridiculed me behind my back.
Suddenly every relationship felt suspicious. Did people really like me or were they just pretending? How could I ever know what people really thought of who I am?
A pattern began, a pattern of self-doubt and social anxiety and insecurity.
A pattern of distrust in my relationships that over time was well trod into my heart.
I think that's part of what made discovering new life in Jesus so powerful for me.
“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” Romans 5:1
Peace with God because of Jesus.
Our faith and Christ's sacrifice make us right in God's sight.
I never have to ask God - "Are we okay?" - because Jesus makes us okay. I know God and I are on good terms because Jesus death and resurrection make it so.
When God looks at me, He sees me as righteous and loveable and worthy because Jesus is all of those things.
I can trust Him completely to love me like He says He does.
And over the years of walking with Jesus, of letting him speak to my hurt and my doubt and my shame, I find that voice of insecurity about my relationships with people around me becoming quieter, easier to ignore.
Being loved can do that, you know?
It can give you confidence, make your hard places soft, change you into a better version of you. Love makes things new.
Thinking about the contents of the note now, it all seems so silly.
If I could go back, I would wrap my arms around my seventh-grade-self, sobbing in the middle school bathroom and tell her how truly small that moment was. I would hold her face in my hands and try to make clear how very little what other people think matters, even though I know now that mean girls exist long after middle school is over.
And I would tell her again about the Friend who sticks closer to a brother,
whose death makes way for life,
Life at peace with God, with other people, with yourself.
I might also tell her I liked her bangs.
Friends, are you fighting a battle with insecurity? What gives you confidence? I'd love to hear your stories.