Blog | Lindsey Smallwood

Insecurity

On Anthropolgie Bedspreads

Lindsey Smallwood

A few weeks ago a new friend from my mom's group invited me over for a playdate. 

I always kind of get the first-date jitters when I hang out with someone for the first time. Little pricks of insecurity and fear, made worse by my instinct to put unrealistic expectations on new relationships.

Will I say the wrong thing?

Will she like me?

Will our kids get along?

Will we become besties and then will our husbands become besties and then can we take family vacations together every spring break for the rest of our lives?

Yeah - there's some crazy in there. 

But as I walked into her house I was overcome with a different but not unfamiliar emotion. 

photo  via , edited under  license

photo via, edited under license

Jealousy.

It was like a physical presence in my chest. An attack of the "I wants". I want that Pottery Barn lounge chair and this open floor plan and that eight person hot tub and this farmhouse dining room table. I want. I want. I really really want. 

The truth is most of the time I like my life just like it is. Sure I wish we had extra in the budget for a housekeeper (please and thank you) or twice yearly trips to Hawaii. But still, I'm grateful that we do have enough for Clorox wipes - heck, I'm thankful that those exist, period - and rental fees at the KOA campground. Yet somehow, when I get in new situations, my tendency is to assess and compare and categorize the ways I find my life wanting. 

I wish my husband came home from work at 5:00 like hers does.

I wish we could afford a place with a guest room so our friends could stay with us.

I wish I could find a part time job where I made enough money to pay a nanny. 

Last week I saw on Facebook that a friend is pregnant with twin girls and, no joke, my first thought was "Where are my twin girls, God?" And the not-crazy part of my brain says "Really Linds? Is that what you need today while you try to get your toddler to eat anything at all without throwing it on the floor and you can't see your bedspread because the laundry volcano that is your bedroom finally erupted and you're massaging your own neck because it's all warped and tired since your infant never wants to be put down? Should we toss you some pregnancy brain and two more babies on the way?"

I'm telling you, things get ridiculous up in here. 

But I've been fighting back.

The most concise treatise on how to fight jealousy that I know of comes from Romans. 

Rejoice with those who rejoice. Mourn with those who mourn.

That's it. 

When I go over to someone's house and they have an amazing light fixture made of reclaimed barn wood over their Anthropologie bedspread, I rejoice for them. I don't mourn for me. If I do, I'm getting it all backward. 

I celebrate their home-early husbands and their cool part-time jobs. 

I celebrate their twin babies on the way and their freshly painted guest rooms.

I celebrate whole-heartedly. Because there's no joy in jealousy but there's great fun in celebration.

And I'd way rather have joy than Pottery Barn patio furniture. 

Bad Bangs, Mean Girls & Insecurity

Lindsey Smallwood

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,

REAL 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.