You see, I had the best intentions. Even though I knew I would be heading to California for a week in the middle of the month, I figured I would be organized and put together posts beforehand so I would remain consistent even while I was gone. Unfortunately that did not happen, so all I can say is I will do my best.
This morning I am going to simply write something that’s on my heart. In other words:
CAUTION: THIS POST CONTAINS HONESTY.
Like I mentioned, I am in California. I am visiting one of my friends who lives here. Another mutual friend from London came as well, so that’s why I’m here when I am. I told my friend from London if she could make it to the states, I would make it to whatever state she was. So here I am.
Also let me just say it’s been a blessing to see friends and reconnect. My friends are honestly some of the sweetest and greatest people I know.
But this is only the start of day three, and I’m already feeling my insecurities in two ways.
First, I am from North Dakota. I love North Dakota. It’s a great place to be, and I love my home. However, when I was riding in the car with my friends yesterday, my friend from London mentioned the next trip she takes to the states should be to visit where I live. Now, honestly who knows where I will be in a year. I may not still be in North Dakota, but the assumption would be I’ll be in North Dakota. My other friend then made some comment about how it was too bad we couldn’t go to New York or the east coast or something. I laughed it off, trying to make it into a joke (“Ha, ha. Is it too boring to come to North Dakota?”). She didn’t deny it would be boring, and even though I tried to laugh, it really hurt me.
Which I know. I am ridiculous. I texted my best friend who is honest with me and tells me I’m ridiculous which I appreciate about her. I asked her if I’m dull because I am from North Dakota and I don’t have exciting things to offer someone for them to want to visit me. My friend told me I’m ridiculous and I’m not dull because she wouldn’t be friends if me if I was dull. Which is only a small part of why I love her, but still I am grateful she was able to be there via text message to break down the walls of insecurity I was building.
Brené Brown writes in her book, Daring Greatly:
“When I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens, I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary. I see the fear of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, to be lovable, to belong, or to cultivate a sense of purpose.”
Second (and I think this is much harder for me), I am an introvert. It’s hard for me to interact with people all day. It’s even harder to interact with a lot of people I don’t really know. Some people think I’m shy when they first meet me which is not the case. But unless I know you, I probably won’t say much so I definitely come across as quiet and shy right away.
I am no psychologist but I feel like this is also connected to never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, loved or belong.
You would think that since I know this is something I’ve been dealing with my whole life I would have gotten over it by now, but I haven’t. And alright, yes–as soon as I figured out where I’ll end up for the next little while, I want to get a counselor. My previous counselors have not always worked out in the past (and I believe you can stop seeing your counselor if you are not comfortable). I know I need to deal with some stuff on a level that is deeper than I have been.
I remember when I was a Resident Assistant at my college. I still hold to the thought I was an awful RA, but I remember meeting with the women who was in charge of the RAs (her title was Resident Educator, though in some schools it’s called Resident Director). It was during my midyear evaluation. She said something along the lines of “if I could only see how other people saw me.” And maybe that’s true. Maybe I am interesting somewhere in the midst of my ordinary life as an introvert in North Dakota. There’s no question I am my toughest critic.
Trusting God means handing my insecurities over to him.
I need to speak truth to the self-doubt and learn to love myself and others more fully. When I’m too focused on feeling dull or quiet, I’m not focused on how I can enjoy the moment and love my friends well. I’m focused on me me me. That’s not our focus as lovers and followers of Christ. I feel like I’ve often heard people say if you are to love your neighbor as yourself, you first have to love yourself. Recently I heard a sermon where they said we live in a culture where it’s all about loving yourself. And while I can see a lot of truth in that statement, individualism is not just about loving yourself. It’s also about how you look to others. If I am always focused on how I look to others, I’m not really loving myself or them.
It’s incredibly tempting to let insecurity break us down, but we are not meant to live stick in the swinging door of self-doubt.We are meant to speak truth to the lies. We are meant to love ourselves. We are meant to love others. We are meant to love God.