When I published my very first Christian fiction novel four years ago, I had no idea what a roller-coaster ride I’d just jumped onto. Cue late-night writing binges when I felt so stoked to finally be doing what I always dreamed of, followed by days spent in bed when book sales dipped and the voices in my head started whining, “Doesn’t anybody like me?”
There were months that passed and I wondered if I should give up writing altogether and weeks spent battling the terror that comes from realizing your words are out there for anyone to read, dissect, and potentially hate.
I wish I could tell you that I’ve arrived at some fairy-tale mental paradise where all I do is write and never spend an ounce of my energy worrying about what people will think of me or how well my next books will be received, but that would be a terrible lie.
Over a dozen novels later, I still struggle.
3 Common Reasons for Insecurity
We don’t all write Christian fiction, but whatever role God’s called us to fulfill and whatever dreams He’s place on our hearts, chances are we’ll face mental roadblocks we have to overcome. Do you struggle with any of these common insecurities?
1.) Fear of Criticism
I knew I wanted to be an author from the time I was a little girl. I still remember the day my dad pulled me aside and said, “You know, maybe writing isn’t the best idea. You’re so sensitive that I’m not sure you could handle the criticism.”
He wasn’t knocking my writing skills, by the way. (To his credit, he’d always encouraged me in that area.) But he knew that writers have things like negative reviews or bad sales months to worry about, and he didn’t think I could take it.
Know what? He was almost right. Until I realized that I’m writing to please God. Does that mean that poor reviews don’t bother me? I wish! But when I struggle with that every-annoying do they really like me question, I remember that I’m not in this for praise from others.
Whether you’re a mom worried about others judging you for the way your kids dress or act, a business woman afraid about getting passed over in a job promotion you deserve, or an entrepreneur who feels like her self-worth is tied up in her sales — or just the woman in church who feels like everyone else around her is prettier, happier, skinnier, or better off than you — remember that God’s the one we’re supposed to please. It’s His opinion that matters, and I happen to know for a fact He thinks you’re pretty swell.
I never thought about envy having its roots in insecurity until lately, but it’s true. If I were completely content and confident with the novels God has allowed me to write, would I be comparing myself to others? Would I be wishing I had their level of success?
If I weren’t insecure in my own looks (or family situation, or job, or home, or whatever it is I find myself insecure about) would I compare myself to others?
While insecurity might be a mental roadblock to overcome, jealousy is a sin to confess and repent from. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. I need to ask God to forgive me each time I find myself falling into the envy trap.
When I’m able to rejoice in the joys and successes of others instead of seething in silent jealousy, it can help me overcome my own insecurities as well.
3.) Imperfections Exposed
This one’s huge! Especially as a pastor’s wife, I feel like I’m expected to have the picture-perfect home with a perfect-picture family.
My insecurities regarding my own imperfections can be crippling and can keep us from serving the Lord. I don’t want to invite the new family over. What if they think the house is too cluttered?
I can’t lead singing. My voice isn’t good enough.
In the Christian fiction world, there are two mindsets when it comes to characters. Some authors and readers prefer characters who serve as allegories for the victorious Christian life. These people act like examples of the faith that Christians can learn and be encouraged by.
My writing, on the other hand, deals with messy believers who struggle with messy sins (yes, even some of the “big ones,”) characters who don’t have it all together even by the end of forty chapters.
In a way, I find it freeing to write about people whose lives are as broken and imperfect as my own going through struggles that I’ve dealt with (and probably still do).
Do You Ever Feel Insecure?
Whatever it is you’re feeling insecure about today, remember that you can take all those cares to the Lord, and He will shoulder them for you. You don’t have to face them alone, and you also don’t have to try to present the picture-perfect Christian life. Inviting others to see your struggles (or your wrinkles or your dirty piles of laundry, etc.) can encourage those around you embrace a life of deeper authenticity and freedom as well.
What about you? In what areas of your life do you experience insecurities? How has God already helped you overcome some of these?
P.S. If you’re interested in reading my newest release, a Christian women’s fiction novel about an imperfect couple confronted with a medically fragile baby struggling for life in the NICU, request your free copy of Beauty from Ashes at www.alanaterry.com/free-book.