The Isolation of Insecurity

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Proverbs 18:1 He who isolates himself, rages against all wise judgement and seeks his own desire.

When I think of this text or even just the idea of isolation, the culprit that comes to mind is insecurity.

It seems to me that insecurity’s ultimate end is isolation. If I fear rejection, if I am threatened by others, if I am guided by the approval or disapproval of people the ultimate end for me is isolation. It may not be total isolation, or even physical isolation, at minimum it will be emotional and relational isolation.

Not getting out of relationships what you could. Not doing as well as you could on a career path. Possibly finding independence but interdependence seems to avoid you all together.

If we truly look at insecurity, it involves us in pettiness, and pretense. Insecurity refuses to hear what wise voices say, it rages against the judgement of those trying to help.

It is such a contradiction. Needing peoples approval but being so insecure or afraid of rejection, we want people to approve but will not acknowledge that we need them. Thereby isolating ourselves from true, vulnerable friendships.

Insecurity seeks self, is focused on self, is centered around self, and cares only for self.

An unhealthy obsession with self will result in a self implosion, which is the ultimate result of insecurity.

How do we avoid the isolation of insecurity?

1. See people as partners, not competitors.
>Realize interacting with others even competitors can build you and
make you stronger if you take the right perspective. Don’t be
threatened, be inspired.

2. Learn to learn from others.
>Don’t be so busy trying to impress with what you know, that you miss
opportunity to learn something you don’t know.

3. Make it about purpose not about self.
>practice making things about the goal and not about the person.
EVERYTHING IS NOT ABOUT YOU. Know it, believe it, achieve it.

The sad thing about insecurity is that a lot of people who are highly insecure also have a high level of potential, and are incredibly talented. It grieves me to see potential greatness defeated before it really gets started over foolishness like jealousy, fear of failure, negativity, disrespect and approval addiction. Ultimately ending up alone, disconnected, realizing that what they feared has come upon them.

Be the you God intended when He created you with all your specific gifts, talents, personality and potential. Focus on that and you will find confidence not in your own abilities but in the purpose and power of God.

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Its not the Drowning but the Fear of it.

I’ve always loved the Biblical account of Peter walking on the water with Jesus. It is an incredible miracle, and unbelievable opportunity and a massive step of faith for Peter. Not only that but we have gleaned such great leadership teaching and phrases from it. Like…

“If you want to walk on the water, you have to get out of the boat.”

or

“Faith is all about focus, when Peter took his eyes off of his source and onto his circumstances he began to sink.”

or

“Its safer standing on the water in a storm in faith, than it is being in the boat in fear”

All of these statements have such truth in them. They teach us that faith is not about feelings its about focus. Another lesson is that true faith adventure in life is about taking a calculated risk. One of the most significant lessons we can take from this, is the will of God is the safest place to be, period.

My thought today about this account is simple, and a truth that I have embraced as I have matured (nice way of saying, getting older).

The real fight, the real battle with the devil, is not the big things. Its not the massive storms, its not the life challenging, attacks. Those are diversions from what is really going on.

The waves didn’t make Peter sink. The wind didn’t make Peter sink. The water didn’t make Peter sink. The fact the Peter wasn’t supposed to be able to walk on the water didn’t make him sink.

The culprit in this account, the enemy that caused the fall. The activity that brought his dissension was simple. It was his own mind, and the fear erupting in it.

In our lives especially when it seems like everything around us is about to sink us, don’t become preoccupied focusing on those things, realize in that moment, the enemy is coming after your mind. He will say things like, this is impossible. Why would Jesus call you out here? Have you noticed the confusion all around you? What business do you have thinking you can do something like this?

The enemy is sly. He is tricky. If something is big and in your face from him, realize, that is not his ultimate goal. The ultimate goal, is the simple little thoughts that always seem to come in the form of a question. Not merely a question but a doubt phrased like a question. I can hear it now when the snake tempted Eve, “Did God say?…” satan knew full well that Jesus was the Son of God, yet, in tempting Jesus he said, “if you are the son of God” questioning his identity.

When your kid is sick or there is a lingering problem, that you can’t seem to get resolved, does the thought not cross your mind, “where is God?” Why isn’t he doing something?” I submit to you, that is where the battle is. Not in the circumstance, not in the boisterous problem. Not the wind or the waves, not in the drowning, but in the fear of it.

Meet the devil on his turf, don’t let him fool you. Don’t let it become about the the circumstance. Surprise him by meeting him at the point of his deceit and challenge those doubt filled thoughts that he is using on your mind, and subject them to the will of God. RESIST him and he will flee. The exciting part is, the moment you do, circumstances change.

One last example. Ive heard people say, I don’t want to do to much for God, I don’t want the devil to attack me. What you don’t realize is, he already has. His attack was sneaky, but powerful. He has intimidated you with the thought that something bad will happen if you do something good. So he wins. There you sit, doing nothing, because your afraid. HE WON! Don’t let him win, take his lies and deceit head on and demolish them with the truth!

When you realize what his game is, then you can beat him at it.

Just a thought.

The Symptoms of Insecurity

Insecurity is weight around our necks. It is a result of fear and immaturity. I think the most devastating part of insecurity is its ability to perpetuate itself. When we are insecure we present certain symptoms and those symptoms are contagious and cause insecurity to be spread like a communicable disease.
An example:

1. Belittling Others: a sure symptom of insecurity is making others feel inferior to make yourself feel superior. When a person is fearful or threatened by the gifts or talents of someone else they can purposefully or inadvertently insult them to create personal emotional equilibrium.

This is unfortunate in two ways. The first is it doesn’t work and ultimately reveals the insecurity of the person doing it. Second it perpetuates insecurity by making the person being belittled begin to second guess themselves and feel inferior.

How to keep this from happening?

1. Be yourself and be confident in that.

2. Learn to love the gifts in others and realize if you work together their talents will compliment yours and not compete with them.

3. If someone belittles you, understand its their problem not yours, and don’t lower yourself to participate.

Inoculate yourself from this contagion by not letting fear or immaturity rule your life.

***leaders, you lose credibility when you belittle anyone on your team. No one wins, and trust is broken.

Something to Say about Leading Progress

“Leading to Progress Takes Courage”

Joshua 1:6-9 (NKJ)
6 Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

(MSG)
In the same way I was with Moses, I’ll be with you. I won’t give up on you; I won’t leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.”

Question: Why do we need courage? We need courage to be brave in the face of fear. Fear is our enemy. Any kind of fear is our enemy. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of resistance, fear of opportunity, fear of people, fear of leadership. Fear is going to raise its ugly head in us any time we face a challenge, courage is the answer to that fear. Courage is important.

In Chapter one of Joshua it says be strong, take courage, and not fear four times. God is trying to get across to Joshua that Courage is important to leadership.

Why do we need courage?

1. For the pursuit of the dream vs 6
a. Owning the dream takes courage.
b. Think about the disciples after Jesus ascended. They had to rely on the Holy Spirit to give them power to be courageous, most of them all the way to their death.
c. The enormity of the dream can intimidate you (just another word for fear)
d. The enemies of the dream can sidetrack you.
i. Distractions
ii. Procrastination
iii. Personal doubt
e. others opinions of the dream can scare us.
i. The only opinion that matters about the dream is Gods.

2. To do what’s right vs 7
a. It takes courage to be a leader because real leaders do what’s right even when its not popular. Even when its hard, even when no one else is.
b. It takes courage to stick to the plan
c. Joshua did what was right even when those following him didn’t.
d. Think of the Apostle Paul when he called Peter out for his obvious hypocrisy.

3. Fear itself vs 8-9
a. You have to have courage as a leader simply to combat fear. Not fear of things but fear itself. Fear paralyzes, it puts a pause in your purpose.
b. You have to have courage to push fear back when all your circumstances are screaming you should be afraid. God said to Joshua do not be afraid do not be dismayed. In other words don’t let anxiety rule you.

4. Fear of leading people vs 16-18
a. Jeremiah 1….do not be afraid of their faces.
b. Courage in the face of responsibility for people
c. Courage in the face of the inconsistency of people
d. Courage in the face of the complaints of people
e. Courage in the face of the imperfection in people.

Courage is the ability to look fear in the face, and keep moving forward. If we are going to lead to progress, then fear can not rule us. Opinion can not rule us. Courage must be our central charecteristic. Progress is necessary but not inevitable. Someone has to lead to it. So lets lead, and see people’s lives changed because we are not afraid to do it!

Something to Say About Leadership; What is Your Perspective of You?

Like I have said before the way to be an effective leader is to overcome insecurity (fear) in your life. The question is; How do you do that? I have introduced the idea that proper perspectives are key to dealing with fear. If I have the right perspective of God, and I realize he’s my father, and He’s good to me, and loves me, then what do I have to be afraid of?

However, even when people get that one right, there is yet another step to take. What is your perspective of you? So many people just don’t see themselves clearly. Janae (my wife) and I were talking about this just the other day. We are consistently evaluating one another in leadership, because we don’t want to have big blind-spots in our lives. You know what I mean, those areas of weakness everyone else sees but for some reason you can’t. We have committed we want to be aware of who we are, and how we conduct our lives.

What does having the right perspective of yourself have to do with overcoming insecurity or fear? Everything. If I see myself properly then i can be confident in who I am and not be afraid of people’s opinions. Many people are ruled by other people’s approval, its fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of not being liked. We can say all day we don’t care about that, but until we have the right perspective of ourselves we will be controlled by those kinds of feelings.

First as so many have written it’s important to know who you are. Know what your purpose/destiny is. However its my firm belief that you can’t know who you are, until you know who you are not. I realize that’s poor english, but true none the less.

How much time do we spend, or should I say waste, trying to be someone else. Trying to follow in the exact footsteps of people who have done great things. Instead of finding our own great thing. Its not the thing but the person that matters. There are lots of ways to do great things, but no one can do them all. You are created and purposed for those things, but insecurity creates competition and imitation. it’s fine to Emulate, but imitating is taking it to far. You can not be secure in who you are, if you’re trying to be someone else.

I use the example of John the Baptist. When the Pharisees came to ask him who he was, his answer was very interesting. Before he told them who he was, he said, as if to clarify, I am not the Messiah. This man knew who he was, and knew who he was not. He knew His role, and therefore wasn’t tempted to compete or feel insecure about Jesus role.

Look at who you are, and realize you’re not perfect, but you do have skills and gifts and talents, I believe God given. If we realize who we are is enough, and who God made us to be is the highest purpose for us, then we can do great things and feel completely confident, settled and secure.

I have been a Senior Pastor, I am now an associate. If feel no insecurity about that. I Know I excel in the role God created me for, and I do not fear what others think about it, or that it somehow makes me less important.

I am secure in who I am and am clear to finish my course with no regret.

Be the best you, and see yourself for who you are, a developing leader.

thanks
David

Something to Say About Leadership…It’s all about perspective

A great lesson I’ve learned over the years is all people see life through certain filters, or lenses. Our lives are truly a vision of the perspectives we have. Many people can’t seem to get ahead in life, because they see themselves as a victim, so they view life from that perspective. Everything that happens, every relationship, every opportunity, every rejection to them is about the fact that everyone is against them, they are doing their best and people are just keeping them down. It’s amazing what a little perspective change can do. Simply shifting the “way” we see things, can have a profound effect on our lives.

I believe there’s a cycle here. The cycle works this way. We have certain perspectives, view points (the point from which we see things). Our perspectives effect our view, which effects our thoughts. Our thoughts effect our actions. Our actions solicit responses, and those responses bring reinforcement to our perspectives.

Let me give you an example. If a person thinks that others don’t like them, then when they go to pubic gatherings, they are usually reserved, shy, disconnected. This action sends out a vibe that says don’t approach me, so people in response stay back, and this reinforces in that persons mind, “see, I knew people didn’t like me, I should have just stayed home.” Is there truth to this, no. There is no evidence that people don’t like them. They are just stuck in the cycle of fear of rejection, because they have a perspective, for whatever reason that they are not liked. Maybe it was a rejection by a parent, maybe it was betrayal by a friend in their youth. Who knows, but their perspective has them trapped.

On the other hand if you have a person who thinks everyone likes them, their actions speak of confidence and openness, the response is people are drawn to them, and it reinforces their thought, “see, I knew it, every one likes me.”

In either of these situations the fact that people do or don’t like them, doesn’t matter, what matters is their perspective. Because they will behave in ways directed by the way they see things, and their behavior will evoke a response, and the response will reinforce their perspective.

You can see how important perspective is. How do you see your life? What are the filters you see through? What perspectives need to change or even be done away with? If we’re going to lead, then we need to make sure our perspectives are not driven by insecurity. We can’t see the world through fear, and expect to be successful leaders.

There are two places this cycle can be broken. One is in a person changing their perspective, another is in people responding in love to a person regardless of their actions, which can break the cycle and give them a new perspective. Both of these are acts of leadership, and both of these take massive amounts of courage and security. We can do it!

What are perspective shifts you’ve had? How did they effect your life?

Next blog, we will talk about the next step towards security.

thanks
David

Something to Say About Leadership…What is Insecurity?

In life we hear the word insecurity often. We use this word to describe people who lack confidence, people who wear their emotions on their sleeves, and people who are enamored with the idea of pleasing other people.

What is insecurity really? The dictionary defines it as an unsafe feeling. A state of mind characterized by self-doubt and vulnerability. So insecurity is a feeling of not being secure. It is a feeling of being a target for hurt or harm, when you get right down to it insecurity in its true meaning is just plane fear, the fear that we are not safe.

We’ve thought of insecurity as an overly emotional state, immaturity, and a lack of confidence. All these things characterize insecurity. They also Characterize fear. Insecurity simply means I’m afraid I’m going to be rejected. It means I’m afraid I’m going to fail. It means I’m afraid I’m going to hurt. It means I’m afraid to risk. It means I just don’t feel safe.

We can all see how this can sabotage a leader. This type of thinking paralyzes a leader. Keeps them from moving forward. Keeps their focus on their performance not the vision. What we need to do however is remove the mystery from the word insecurity and just call it what it is, Fear. Say it after me. “I am afraid.” We all go through this at different times. It’s what we do in those times that matters. Will we see insecurity for what it is and eliminate it, or will we see it as a small weakness and let it stay. It’s fear, and if you are a leader fear is your mortal enemy!

Fear is the enemy of the leader. That’s the way we should look at it. We need to listen and believe the bible. Romans 8:15 says, “we have not been given the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the spirit of adoption whereby we cry abba father. It says in Timothy, “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love, of power, and of a sound mind. So Fear does the transverse of this passage. It eliminates love, makes us feel weak, and paints us into a corner of confusion. Fear is an enemy to the leader.

We need to understand the power Insecurity and fear can have if we allow it in our lives. What does it cause? If I fear people’s opinions than I can’t lead with a clear vision, If I fear taking a risk, or failing, then I will stick with the status quo. If I fear rejection from people I will be obsessed with my performance and never feel like I’m good enough. It really is a killer of leadership. We must force it out of our lives.

I taught our staff today, on the idea that leading progress requires courage. Its possible to lead and not be moving forward, Moses did it for 40 years in the wilderness. It took courage for Joshua to get it moving forward. God told Joshua in the book of Joshua chapter one, to “be strong and of good courage and not to be afraid” four times. He was getting the point across to Joshua that it was going to take courage to lead to the fulfillment of the dream, to do the right things, to stand against fear itself, and bottom line it takes courage to lead people. It requires us to do the uncomfortable, to confront, and to influence others.

When I was starting out, I wanted everyone to like me. I thought that was leadership. It made me second-guess my communication. I wondered constantly if I was measuring up. It caused me to compete with others in my own mind, and to compare myself with others. I was afraid I would be rejected or I wouldn’t succeed. It wasn’t until I realized leadership is a “stand alone” place much of the time and It takes courage to help people. You can’t help people if you are constantly seeking their approval, because then it’s all about you and not them.

There are ways to defeat this fear. There are perspectives we must have, and perspectives we must change to defeat this enemy. It can be done.

Next blog I will talk about the first way to overcome insecurity, and how our perspectives can create either a vicious cycle of fear, or a victories cycle of confidence.

Hope this is helping you. Please comment on fears you have faced in leadership and how you have overcome them.

-David