I used to crave success. I learned in my teenage years that doing well could make me feel good. The day I got my school exam results was like a shot in the arm. I did better than I expected and doing well made me believe, perhaps for the first time, that I could be successful. It made me feel important.
Every promotion or achievement, every contract won and each compliment from a colleague made me feel valuable. Just knowing I had a job with an impressive title made me feel positive about myself.
Insecurity drives many people in business. In fact, after destiny, it can be one of the greatest motivations. Maybe you were put down by a parent or humiliated by teachers. But you are clever and capable so the desire to prove your brilliance to the people around you makes you do extraordinary things.
We develop different strategies or habits to satisfy our craving for reassurance. You know when you’re starting to feel inadequate and so you do something or prime someone to give you your ‘hit’ for the day.
The call from within is, “Recognise my talent, admire my success or show me respect.” After someone has told you that you are brilliant, all is well. That is, until the craving builds again and you seek the drug of applause or reassurance once more.
But there are problems with all these patterns of behaviour. We can find ourselves relying on the approval of others rather than the assurance of God.
Insecurity in leadership
Of course, church leaders are far from immune. We can become reliant on the admiration of our people, or find it hard to make decisions that might upset the congregation. If we are secure in God and we believe the church is His then we won’t be insecure about how our people feel about us or whether they stay or go.
After a group of leaders left our church, insecurity tried to knock at my door once again. I felt uncomfortable if anyone asked to speak to me, especially if they wanted to raise a concern.
We have always encouraged feedback from our church family. It’s a great way to find out what we are doing effectively and what we could do differently to meet people’s needs. But in this season, I was not handling suggestions well. I went to God in prayer.
He reminded me that it is His job, not mine, to build His church. He took me back to Jesus. One day the Lord was teaching a crowd of His followers and got into some difficult doctrinal matters: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you…” Well, His ‘church’ members were not impressed at all:
“From that time, many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.” John 6:66
They left. All except the twelve, that is. And what did Jesus do? Did He panic, rushing around pleading with the few remaining followers to stay? No. Jesus was assured in His leadership. The size of His congregation did not affect His self-esteem. It did not alter the value He placed on His ministry or His significance in the kingdom. He was secure.
The example of Jesus pierced my heart. I wept in God’s presence and told Him, “I don’t mind who leaves or who stays! This is Your church and it’s Your job to build it, not mine. I only seek Your approval and Your faithfulness. I don’t mind what anybody else thinks.”
If you have been rocked by the actions of the people around you, go back to God. Ask Him to heal your heart while you deliberately move your attention back to Him. If you have suffered from insecurity for years, you need God to take you on a journey of healing. Then success can be built on a solid foundation of stability and security. Get hold of our books and come to Healed for Life – you will be amazed at what God will do.
Powerful blog. I think insecurity is one of the biggest challenges face by men. Thank you for that insight and revelation. It got me thinking!
Thanks for sharing this as I have been having bouts of deep loneliness in ministry but have also seen God do extraordinary things in me, through me and for me. I have been blessed reading this blog and felt reassured, to keep striving for wholeness and total surrender to God to build His Church and not mine.
I’m so glad to hear this has encouraged you. My book 30 Day Detox for your Soul will help too. God bless and strengthen you