Authentically Insecure

| July 10, 2017

Authentically Insecure: 3 Common Reasons for Insecurity

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.

3 common reasons for insecurity

2.) Envy

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?

Alana Terry - Beauty from Ashes

 

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.

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30 Comments

  • Reply Terri Grothe July 10, 2017 at 9:00 am

    This is so good and something I really needed to read today, thank you for sharing from your heart
    Terri Grothe recently posted…Living with Chronic PainMy Profile

  • Reply Amy Christensen July 10, 2017 at 9:06 am

    I think all of us deal with insecurity of some sort or other. I am just trying to break in to writing for pay and it can be a scary venture, but as you said, what is the motivation and message? As long as God is there He will help us weather those storms of insecurity. That’s something I have to keep reminding myself of. Thanks for sharing! – Amy

  • Reply Heather Hart July 10, 2017 at 9:55 am

    I can so relate to this, Alana! And in so many different ways. Insecurity has been a huge issue in my life. One thing that really helped me was Beth Moore’s book, “So Long Insecurity” I highly recommend it.
    Heather Hart recently posted…Stuck in a Rut? 3 Steps to Spiritual GrowthMy Profile

    • Reply Alana Terry July 11, 2017 at 1:38 pm

      Yes, I remember reading that one too! It’s good.

  • Reply Alice Mills July 10, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Finding your voice in any vocation is like this. Say your piece and everyone will try to drown you out. The strength to do it must come from the inside or no one could sustain it. Just look at preachers. The more effective they are, the more they will be attacked…by other Christians as well as unbelievers.
    Alice Mills recently posted…Courting Miracles: Instructions for Walking on WaterMy Profile

  • Reply Jaime Hampton July 10, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Oh, my- I don’t think I can fit all my insecurities into one comment. Housekeeping, writing, parenting are all big ones for me. I loved how you stripped insecurities down to those three root problems. I find myself quoting Galatians 1:10 when I run into patterns of wrong thinking and insecurities: “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Thanks for such an insightful and challenging post, Alana!
    Jaime Hampton recently posted…Giving Thanks for the ThornMy Profile

    • Reply Alana Terry July 11, 2017 at 1:38 pm

      Yes, that’s such a convicting verse to me!

  • Reply Andrea July 10, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    Oh yes -only to be pleasing unto God and not to others!

  • Reply Susan Evans July 10, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    I think that for a lot of people, the fear of man (or of criticism) is a stumbling block to being all that we can be for Christ.
    Susan Evans recently posted…Río Dulce Boat RideMy Profile

  • Reply Amy Hagerup (@amyhagerup) July 10, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    I think it is important to show our own shortcomings to others. Then we are more believable and can get “me too” responses! It is also very humbling.

  • Reply Hannah July 10, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    I can so relate! This is sometimes how I feel about blogging, or preaching, or whatever it happens to be. It helps me to remember that it’s not about me at the end of the day! It’s about building the Kingdom 🙂 thanks for sharing xx

  • Reply Heather July 11, 2017 at 10:21 am

    I have so many insecurities, but comparing myself to others is big one. I don’t necessarily envy those around me and am genuinely thrilled for their successes, but I am always wondering if I measure up. If I will every be as good as them at whatever it is they are good at. I lose sight of the fact that it is God I am pleasing and working for, not the reactions of others. This was a great reminder of that.

  • Reply Chelsea Bolks July 11, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    What a well-written post! I often struggle with insecurity as I write my blog (the same old silly cycle time and time again). My husband is my greatest encourager…he helps me to see the worth in my writing. It’s so important to have Christian brothers and sisters to support us…it makes a world of difference!!
    Chelsea Bolks recently posted…Maligning The MessengerMy Profile

  • Reply Leslie July 11, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    Alana, this is a great post! #3 is the hardest for me. Oh boy, the battle I fought before I started to write publicly. I had a very difficult time with writing in public because of knowing that I would be putting my own imperfections out there for others to see. BUT God is good. When we are transparent, He uses it to help and bless others. I wouldn’t change a thing now. I really loved how you unwrapped this issue of insecurity. It’s one that I struggle with immensely. Thank you!
    Leslie recently posted…A Grace that DefinesMy Profile

    • Reply Alana Terry July 12, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      It’s probably my biggest struggle right now too!

  • Reply Kristi July 12, 2017 at 12:50 am

    Satan definitely wants us to feel insecure in the talents God has given us. If he can convince us not to use our talents to glorify God, he is very satisfied. So appreciate your article!
    Kristi recently posted…Praying James 1 (Part Two)My Profile

  • Reply Christia Colquitt July 12, 2017 at 6:48 am

    I have found that the more mature I am in my faith the less insecure I feel. God has used so many experiences to show me that He is enough, even when I know I am not enough. Sometimes those feelings of insecurity can bring me closer to my Savior. “Count it all as joy” Love this post!

  • Reply Valerie Murray July 13, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Thank you for your encouragement and writing about the reality of dealing with these kind of emotions even after writing books. I pray that I won’t let insecurity keep me from stepping forward in faith. God bless you!

  • Reply Jessica @ Solid Rock Ministry July 14, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    I can relate. I used to write and had several dozens of completed manuscripts but would never submit them to be published. “They’re just not ready.” But really it was the insecurity, the envy, the doubt, the imperfections being exposed… the criticism. The last one was major for me, as I was a book reviewer, a nasty “cold hearted truth” reviewer. Why on earth would I want that to come back to me!? No thank you. Now, I am married to an evangelist, we’ve been blessed with an amazing ministry, and all I can do is look back on what I used to write and thank our wonderful God that I never published a single thing that I had written.

    But this isn’t just for writing. I struggle with these 3 all the time in several areas of life.

  • Reply Maria Hass July 15, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    I always have a hard time selling myself. If I have a business idea or I think I would be a good candidate for a ministry or a job position, I stop short because I second guess myself and I never feel good enough. I used to audition for theatre plays until I got rejected so much I stopped attending plays altogether! The fear of rejection is so pressing on me I don’t handle it well.

  • Reply Aimee Imbeau July 20, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    #1 – that’s my fear. It is so easy to get caught up in that one when we read so many cruel comments on social media and in blog post comments. People are so mean! But we can’t live in that fear – especially when so many others are blessed by our words. I signed up for your newsletter and look forward to checking out your books – I enjoy Christian suspense.
    Thanks for sharing on Grace and Truth this week.
    Aimee Imbeau recently posted…What I Found At His FeetMy Profile

  • Reply Robin Revis Pyke July 28, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Love your post and your openness. I posted a blog post a while ago about writing and vulnerability. When a writer is vulnerable and shares their self-doubt, readers respond and engage because they too have the same struggles or self-doubts, it opens up dialogue and the healing begins. It feels good to share our concerns and discover they understand because they have the same concerns or they have had the same experiences. I love to write and share my story. Our stories connect us! Thank you for sharing your story!

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