My Life When Insecurity Paralyzes You by Emily Clare Burt We’ve all had those moments. Moments where you stumble into the perfect opportunity to say something, to act, to crack a joke, or to express yourself. Nothing seems to be holding you back from seizing this opportunity, yet, you’re frozen. You feel trapped inside your head and your body becomes paralyzed by the silent shadow of insecurity that engulfs you. For some, these moments may pass. For others, there is a constant seed of insecurity prying deeper and deeper into their daily life, so much so, that it becomes a new normal. Regardless of where you land between those two experiences of insecurity, we live in a time where insecurity seems to be dictating the way we live and pushing us further into the dark places of our hearts rooted in false fears. Insecurity is… Insecurity is selfish. I know this is harsh but hear me out. When we allow insecurity to control our lives we live in our own world of comfort. We internally decide that it is more convenient to be comfortable than to walk out on the waters (Matthew 14:22-33) of uneasiness, to bring truth into this world. When we deny who God is calling us to be by not sharing our honest selves with the world, we cut off the world from an opportunity to know Him through us. Even more so, our actions communicate to God that our comfort is not worth giving up to share His love with others. We are called to be Christ to others and when we minimize the person God has created us to be, we underestimate His glory. Insecurity is from Satan himself. Again, this might sound harsh, but take a moment to think about it. What better way to stop God’s will from being achieved than to make us doubt who He calls us to be? When we doubt ourselves, we doubt the gifts and goodness God has instilled into our hearts. Satan wants us to believe that what we have to offer is not enough, that we will be rejected, and we cannot live up to the expectations of those around us. In fact, insecurity elevates our own human faults and suppresses our gifts to drive a wedge deeper into the separation from God and ourselves. Insecurity is the exact wound where the devil attacks us with who we are, making his lies more believable and able to pierce deeper. Where does insecurity come from? There are so many ways insecurity creeps into our hearts and pushes us down into despair. One of which is comparison. As Catholics, we see holy, confident people proclaiming and living out the Gospel in the most beautiful ways. As much as we look up to them, we can be tempted to think to ourselves “I’ll never be as holy as them” or “I wish I could have the gifts they have.” However, these role models struggle with insecurity and temptations in their daily lives as well. The difference lies in how we respond to those thoughts fed into our minds and hearts. Do you allow those fears of rejection to fester and grow or do you respond by saying “Get behind me Satan. . . for you are not on the side of God, but of men” (Matthew 16:23). Likewise, we must understand that the world does not need another Emily Wilson or Mark Hart, or any other Catholic influencer for that matter. The world needs YOU. The world needs a confident, Christ-empowered, Gospel-proclaiming YOU. Because we are created in the image and likeness of Christ, we are sculpted uniquely and individually. Self-comparison attacks our individuality rooted in Him alone. Another way insecurity seeps into our lives is through fear; whether that is fear of being lonely, misunderstood, rejected, vulnerable, etc. If anyone felt deep insecurity through fear in the Bible, it would have been Peter. Peter was overcome with insecurity when he denied being an apostle to those questioning him (Luke 22: 54-62). Peter feared physical death, rejection from others, and his public image. These fears could have overtaken his life yet he repented and didn’t allow his sinfulness to define him. He later became our first pope. Finally, insecurity can be the rotten fruit of sin. When sin entered the world, simultaneously did shame and insecurity. Adam and Eve became insecure in their marriage, in their bodies (Genesis 3:7), and in their relationship with God to the point that they attempted to hide from Him (Genesis 3:10). Sin by its nature creates insecurity, simply because it causes us to mistrust God’s will — including His will for each of us. Sin has made us unworthy, but through the power of the Resurrection, Jesus gifted us the ability to conquer sin and shame. However, without the sacrament of confession and the Blood of Christ penetrating our sinfulness, we become swallowed by shame. How is insecurity conquered? 1. Look upon yourself and others with love. If you find yourself insecure while comparing yourself to others, try to identify why. Is it because you see holiness within them? Is it because they carry themselves with confidence? Most of the times, it is because we see good within others and shame within ourselves. By seeing the beauty and goodness in others, we see them through the eyes of Christ. However, God wants the same for us. Look on yourself with love, compassion, and mercy without discrediting your human faults. 2. Identify the roots. Is your insecurity based on the fear of being rejected? Does it come from shame? Is it because your self-confidence is rooted in yourself and not in Christ? Do you feel like what you have to offer is not enough? By discovering the roots of your insecurity, you are able to catch yourself even before those thoughts creep in. 3. Go to Confession. Allow God to work through you to overcome and conquer temptation. When sin is broken, so is shame; and we replace shame and insecurity with confidence through Christ. When we are in a state of grace, we are more of the person God yearns for us to be. You are uniquely and wonderfully created through Christ. By the power of His Resurrection and unending love, we are made new. By being His and His alone, we obtain an empowerment that the world can not offer. Live, preach, and practice the Gospel through the confidence of what is true, good, and beautiful: Christ living through you.