Male Insecurities Day 4: Relational Insecurity
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:10, ESV)
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3, ESV)
We sincerely doubt that you stand in front of the mirror and have this one-sided conversation (but we are really starting to wonder): “If I act like a complete idiot, people will probably like me better. So, let’s game plan this get-together. Be a loudmouth, tell raunchy jokes, humiliate everyone, swear left and right… yeah, solid plan. What could go wrong? Let’s do it!”
Our request is very simple. Please stop. Immediately.
The other 7.865 billion people on the planet
Yet another common insecurity men face (and women, too, for that matter) deals with relationships. All too often we are afraid to be ourselves, even when we are around friends. This insecurity is what leads to men acting like completely different people, depending on who they are around: A loud, obnoxious group? The louder, more obnoxious side of the person appears. Around quiet, serious people? The quiet, serious side comes out. It can lead to a lot of confusion. Who is the real person? Underlying all of this is the basic human fear—will I be accepted for who I really am? If I feel the answer to that is “no,” I will often change based on what I think will be accepted. I won’t be authentic but rather a cheap knock-off of myself. And as all women likely can attest, I will show off. I’ll try to outdo other guys so I’ll be the one that is noticed and accepted. It might take a lot of guts to admit that, but be honest with yourself. I know I’ve been there all too often.
And doesn’t that fly in the face of Scripture? Doing whatever I can to be noticed isn’t exactly in keeping with Philippians 2:3, now is it? Instead of counting “others more significant” than myself, that behavior suggests I believe I’m far more significant than others; it bears out “selfish ambition” and “conceit.” Plus, it’s a cruel two-sided trap: not only will many people (at least the genuine ones) dislike the “new me,” the “real me” still yearns for acceptance even while being buried in the shadows. It’s not a solution to help deal with insecurity at all! And the showing off that comes along with it? As I try to outdo the other guys in the hope of attracting attention (and half kill myself trying, probably), Romans 12:10 gently prods my spirit. Is that what God wants from me? Paul says that if you want to outdo each other, guys, outdo each other in something that matters. See who can honor the other person more. “But it won’t make me look like the man!” Exactly. That’s the point.
When it all comes down to it, we need to be our authentic selves. Sooner or later, it’s going to bubble to the surface anyway. That doesn’t mean we don’t have sharp edges that need to be chipped off; it doesn’t mean “the real me” is perfect. But it absolutely needs to be the starting point of how I portray myself to others. Listen, I have a huge blind spot here, because I have a strong need to be liked (to a fault). But it just might be a fact that I’m not going to be a human magnet that everyone gravitates to. And if that’s the case, I need to be okay with it. If I live a Christ-centered life, love others with brotherly love, honor others, and humbly count others more significant than myself, then I don’t need to change. I don’t need to become something I’m not. If another person won’t accept me if I’m living my life that way, then it is what it is.
And, of course, as I struggle with wanting to be accepted, I’ve realize already been accepted. I never have to have any sort of insecurity in my relationship with Jesus. What would be the point? He knows everything about me! And guess what? He loves me just the way I am. He loves me despite my poor choices, behaviors, and actions. He will never stab me in the back. He will never betray me. He will never desert me. He knows who I really am, is still my closest Friend, and loves me so much that He thought I was worth dying for. Even if all other relationships claw at my insecurities, that relationship is 100% secure. He will always accept and love me.