Insecurity destroys relationships

October 21, 2009

relationshipsOn Sunday, I preached a message called “What destroys relationships and what builds them.” I focused on two attitudes: selfishness destroys relationships but selflessness builds them and pride destroys relationships but humility builds them. Today and tomorrow I want to share two more attitudes that destroy and build relationships.

Insecurity destroys relationships

 “The fear of human opinion disables.” Proverbs 29:25

When I’m so insecure that all I’ve got to think about is your opinion and what you think of me, that disables my life. What is the problem with that fear? What does that problem cause us to disable in relationships? Well when I’m afraid, it tends to cause us to try to control each other, and that destroys relationships.

Do you know what’s beneath that control?

Fear.

Insecurity causes us to try to control others, and insecurity causes us to resist the control of others and that destroys relationships. It’s an amazing dilemma that as human beings we have. We long to be close, but we also fear being close. We want it, but we don’t want it. We long to have intimacy with others, but we are also scared to death of having intimacy with others.

Insecurity prevents intimacy. You can’t get close to somebody if there is fear in the relationship, which is why living together doesn’t work in the long run because you never know when somebody is going to walk out. There’s no lifetime commitment in that situation. It’s only in a situation where we are willing to say: “I’m committed regardless of whether we get along or not. We’re going to make this thing work” that the fear will vanish. Then the intimacy will begin to rise.

What do we fear in relationships?

Well, we fear a couple of things.

1. We fear exposure.

We fear that someone is going to find out what we’re really like. So we hide ourselves, and we don’t want people to know what we’re really like. And this is the oldest fear. It goes all the way back to Adam. In Genesis 3 verse 10, Adam says, “I was afraid because I was naked and so I hid.” When we’re afraid, we hide ourselves. We cover up. We wear masks. We pretend to be people who we’re not.

What I find very interesting in today’s world is that many people are not afraid at all of their physical nakedness. They walk around half-naked. They walk around showing off body parts that I don’t want to see and they do this with no shame at all. But the ironic thing is that they are scared to death of their emotional nakedness. That’s what really scares them.

And as a result, nobody ever gets to know them and they don’t understand that one of the things that God put them on earth to do and that is to be fully known. Everybody deserves to be fully known and to fully know somebody else. This has to do with soul-to-soul intimacy and God designed the family, the church, to do this.

2. We fear rejection.

But there is another fear that is even deeper than exposure and it is the fear of rejection. And this may be the greatest fear in human beings. We’ve all been rejected at some point, and we know how much that hurts. And so, we fear it and we close ourselves off and say, “I’ll never let anybody hurt me again,” and we build up walls.

Now maybe you have been hurt by rejection by somebody and I want to challenge you to not let that harden your heart. Don’t build up a wall. That’s a self-imposed prison that you don’t want to be in. And when we won’t let anybody get close to us because we don’t want to get hurt again we’re making a terrible mistake.

We’re not living. We’re just existing. I want to encourage you to take the risk. Have the courage to risk love again because if you do you will come alive again in a way you have never ever experienced. Ask God for the courage to take that risk again, to be open, and to be vulnerable.

Insecurity destroys relationships but love builds relationships.

“Love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we’re afraid, it shows that His love has not been perfected in us.” 1 John 4:18

How does that work? How does love expel all fear?

Here’s what it does: It takes the focus off of you and it puts the focus on another person. That’s how it makes a difference.

In any relationship, any place you feel nervous and insecure when you focus on the other person, it has the power to throw fear out of your life. And how do we find that power to focus on other people? We have to realize how much God loves us. We have to realize that He loves you more than you could ever imagine. The moment we begin to realize how much God loves us, that we don’t have to prove ourselves anymore, that we don’t have to spend our life trying to impress other people it is incredible freeing.

Do you know how freeing that is? Do you know how enjoyable it is to live life that way? All of a sudden, our identity, our self-worth, they are not caught up in what others might think of us that day. They’re now caught up in our relationship to Christ. We are not pressured by everybody else’s expectations anymore.

We all want to live with that kind of confidence but where do we get it? The Bible tells us.

“All who proclaim that Jesus is the son of God have God living in them.” 1 John 4:15-17

We know how much God loves us, and we put our trust in Him. As we live in God, our love grows more and more perfect, so we will not be afraid. This is a lifelong process. This is a journey. This is a little bit every day. If I try to have this confidence all at once, I’m going to have to fake it. That’s the only way you can do it quickly. It’s something that grows little by little every day.

If you expect complete confidence tomorrow, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. But you can grow in this. You can grow in this little by little. You can’t defeat insecurity overnight. It doesn’t happen for any of us, but you can take the first step right now. And that is beginning a relationship with Jesus Christ or strengthening you relationships with Jesus Christ. When you say yes to Jesus Christ, you’re saying yes to a kind of love that can throw fear out the back door of your life.

Have you been afraid of being real with other people so you’ve held your cards close and you’ve denied your emotions and you’ve hidden your emotional nakedness?

A book I recommend:

Kevin Martineau

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I am the Pastor at Port Hardy Baptist Church on Northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I am married to my best friend and I have three beautiful daughters.

20 responses to Insecurity destroys relationships

  1. This was a great post that summarized our fears about intimacy — and encouragement to get out of them! :)

    It's always a challenge, navigating relationships. It's an ongoing desire to connect. Even when I've been burned.

  2. There was a time when I thought this was no problem, when I was willing to be vulnerable. Now, I read this and want to stick my fingers in my ears and say "na-na-na-na."

    I don't care who you are, rejection hurts.

    But the Lord wants us to be a part of one another. So I'll still reach out, I'll still love, I'll still get hurt. In the end, would it really be worth not getting hurt to not love others? Love must conquer!

  3. "It's always a challenge, navigating relationships." YEP! But relationships are what God has called us to live in. :) I believe the church needs to be MODEL what true healthy relationships look like!

    Thanks for sharing Bonnie!

  4. "In the end, would it really be worth not getting hurt to not love others? Love must conquer!" Some more great words of wisdom Anne! This is not easy to live out but this is what we are called to do as followers of Christ because this is Christ's example. He faced the greatest rejection of all and yet He still chose to love! Praise God for His unconditional unfailing love!

    Thanks for sharing Anne!

  5. This is something I've been thinking about lately. Good post.
    My recent post Back in the Kitchen

  6. thanks for the insight God Bless you. Recently i have been feeling insecure in my relationship but after reading your article i realised its not worth Gods love and acceptance is worth it all.

  7. This is such a positive message. I began a relationship about 3 months ago, and I’m plauged by insecurity. Recently, I began wanting to go back to church (I’m 28), an went with some very dear friends of mine. The preacher was amazing and preaching a similar message about letting go of control and so forth, not just with relationships, but all aspects of life. Remembering that God loves us and WANTS us to be HAPPY, not insecure. I recently began praying for stronger faith, not only in God Himself, but in who he puts in my life. Whenever I begin feeling insecure I pray for these things, and have a wondeful time with a wonderful man.

  8. I am glad to have read this message. I am struggling with what seems to be chronic insecurity. I have been going to a counselor and it has helped some, but I still be strangled and held captive by this daily fear. I know this low-self esteem is devastating to my relationship. I constantly ask for his reassurance or make unjust assumptions about his thoughts. I am afraid of every magazine he sees and every girl he meets! Can you please give me any advice on how to overcome this issue before it destroys me relationship and my mental health?

  9. I also think Koren that you can strengthen your closeness to God and allow God to make you feel more secure about yourself so you don’t have to feel insecure if a person or your man does not give you the approval or security your seeking. People are not always able to love as perfectly as God… Just a thought I hope helps…

  10. I believe this all to be true but, I would like to add that its in our sinfull nature to want our cake and eat it too. Thats why some of us fear intimacy, due to our selfish nature. We want someone to be intimate with us, but want to be able to lust, sin with the opposite sex with our minds, which in the bible it says, in Gods eyes its adultry. We are halfstepping thinking its ok to look and lust, flirt etc… this causes discord in our relationships and we never stop to figure out the root of the problem, we just attribute it to men and women being different. That may be true, we are different but, God didnt make a mistake when he created men and women to be with one another. The mistake is us, the sin in us>..amen!!!! I love the Lord for allowing me to discern and realize this! I pray that all who read this will also hear God speaking through me to you. He loves you and has never made a mistake, notta one! God bless us all…

  11. I’m so glad I found this post. I needed it today. I think we all deal with insecurities and they can definitely damage our relationships. Great thoughts!

  12. I am insecure tonight as my g/f is out on a hen night in a large city, I have been with her 13 years and have kids together, when a boy a man exposed himself to me, this affected my life a lot. I also lived with my step father who never worked in his life and used to gamble drink and smoke and leave us in poor condition, my mum did the best with what she got. Also when a kids , in the back of my mind my father didnt want to know me, I also knew he was rich and that affected me as I felt rejected,. I am a decent looking bloke and feel lucky that I can get up in the morning , brush my teeth, wash and provide for my kids, all the other things in life are bonus. I feel there is a lot worst off than me.why am I so insecure, can I get rid of this insecurity by getting help, thank you mark

    • I do believe we do don’t have to live with insecurity. For me, my security comes from my relationship with God. That doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle with insecurity from time to time. When I do I have to be reminded of God’s unconditional love for me and what He did to have a relationship with me.

  13. I’ve been married for 7 years and my husband is a pastor. We are older he was married to his deceased wife for 20 years but this is my first marriage. I never thought as I grew in my Christianity that I should get married because I struggle with a sever insecurity, jealousy, envy, and lack of trusting a mans love, but I did get married. The first 4 years were almost unbearable, my insecurity made a prison for my husband, and I had so much rage because I believed I was right and he kept telling me I was wrong, and that enraged me, because I believe what I believe about men. Well now it’s coming up on 7 years, and although my rage has diminished in outward rage, I still struggle with my husband just watching tv when I’m not home. I’m consumed with wondering what he’s watching, or better yet who he’s looking at. He doesn’t watch anything inappropriate, I freak out from him just seeing commercials or attractive women on regular shows, even the Bible movies. I feel like a freak, like a total syco. This continues to be a huge struggle, and he’s threatened divorce several times, but I don’t know how to change my thinking or my beliefs. My emotions kick in so fast, and I really think what I believe is true. I even think the only reason he wants to have sex is because he has visually stimulated throughout the day from seeing women here and there. It’s me, it’s my head, my brain, my wounded soul, but I don’t know what to do. he won’t go to counseling, he’s very angry that he married someone with this issue, and so we have so much tension, and irritability. I cry out to the Lord to heal me, so that He can be glorified in my life and so that I can serve him. The church the ministry is being affected by my issues, and I just want to die sometimes. I feel like a curse. I don’t want to be like this, I didn’t ask to have this, but it’s so big it’s so deep, it’s so beyond me, and I just wish I could disappear. I do understand where this comes from, I come from a very very rejected, abusive childhood, but I’m tired of my past having such a strong hold on me as a new creation in Christ. I feel so afraid, afraid of what’s going to happen to me, to my marriage, and that in the end he will leave because I’ve pushed him right out the door. Please pray for me.

    • Hi Kristin:

      A big help for me in overcoming my faulty thoughts was first learning that they were faulty and then learning the truth. Here’s an example: I believed for a long time that all conflict was bad. This caused me to avoid it all costs. The truth is that not all conflict is bad. A lot of time conflict is healthy and helpful for relationships. The Bible tells us that the truth will set us free! We need to embrace new thinking that is based on truth and not on lies. The lies are powerful (A lie believed as truth will affect us as if it is true) and if we do not overcome them they will eventually destroy us. I encourage to seek out a good Christian counselor who will help you distinguish the truth from the lies.

      Blessings,
      Kevin