I stood on the edge of the pool. I looked over at my sister who was maybe 4 or 5 years old at the time. She was splashing on the steps of the shallow end.
I’m done with the shallow end, I thought. I’m 9 years old. I’m very grown and old enough to jump into the deep end.
I jumped. The cold water enveloped me. I let my body fall all the way until my toes touched the bottom, and I pushed myself back above water. It was exhilarating.
One day it occurred to me I could take my sister out into the deep end with me. I could let her get on my back and half-walk, half-bounce down that slope between the shallow and the deep.
Surprisingly, she was hesitant when I unveiled my plan to her. It took great convincing on my part and lots of promises not to go any farther than where she felt safe.
Finally, she got on my back and wrapped her arms around my shoulders. I walked slowly to the slope. One baby step down. Two steps. Three.
At the third step, I slipped.
We both went under very suddenly. My sister’s hands slipped from my shoulders to my throat. It felt as if she believed the only way she could be saved was to hold my throat with an increasingly intense amount of strength. Her grip tightened. My mind got foggy. And I couldn’t figure out which way to go to find safety. The only thing I absolutely felt sure of was that I was drowning.
As crazy as it may sound, I can’t remember how we were saved. Maybe it’s because we made it to safety, and it wasn’t as dramatic to everyone else as I remember it. But that moment of panic is one I think about often. And every time I think about this feeling of panic or feel it rising up in me over something I’m facing, I try to remember that panic usually doesn’t save anyone. Signaling we need help can be lifesaving. But most of the time, panic hinders rather than helps.
You know where I see this drowning — without water and a subsequent panicked response — most often? A woman’s insecurities.
You’ve probably felt the choking effects of insecurity even if you don’t call it that. False ideas like these creep into our thoughts …
You’re not as talented or smart or experienced as she is.
Protect yourself and your dignity. Don’t dare try this new venture.
If only you were as organized or intentional or creative as they are, then maybe you could accomplish this. But the reality is, you’re not.
You know this is never going to work, right?
How do I know you feel these things? Because I’ve experienced them myself.
Just like in that pool all those years ago, I can go from standing securely with my head above water to slipping down a slope with seemingly nothing to grab hold of. Then the insecurity, always kind of present on my shoulder, slips into a death grip around my throat.
My insecurities grip to the point where nothing life-giving can get in. I forget truth. I start pulling back from everyone. My mind gets foggy very quickly, and suddenly I can’t figure out which way to go to find safety.
That’s the thing about insecurity. When it grips us, the very thing we need most — truth — is the very thing we have a hard time grasping. I can be close to truth but still drowning in my insecurities. I can have truth sitting on my nightstand. I can have it preached to me on Sundays. But grasping it, standing on it and letting it shift my thinking away from panic — that’s something that requires truth to be more than just close.
That requires truth to be inside me, guiding me, rewiring my thinking, and whispering, “Safety is right here. Insecurity will stop choking you when you remove its grip. Insecurity only has power over you when you allow it control over your thoughts.”
And as we delight in and live out the truth of God’s Word, it truly becomes a lifeline to our souls. Something we see beautifully spelled out in our key verse: “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life” (Psalm 119:92-93).
I want to weave myself into your story. I’m standing in the shallow end. I’m holding on tightly to an immovable bar of truth with one hand — and with the other, I’m reaching toward you.
Grab hold. Come back from the sinking place. And from the deepest place of your soul, catch your breath.
Dear Lord, my insecurities are small things compared to Your truth. But they feel so big and powerful when they have a grip on me! Please help me grasp Your truth and let it change me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.