Shift Your Focus
That first outreach I attended occurred just months after I had given my life to Jesus. I was fresh out a destructive lifestyle that had left me so insecure. Getting into the world of someone else to show them the love of Christ was like healing balm to my soul. It changed my life forever, and I discovered a beautiful, practical way to express Jesus. Serving others brings Him that much closer to us. We actually touch Him. One experience of helping someone in need can be more powerful in one’s life than a thousand sermons. That’s how it was for me. This is our best form of combat against a selfish, me-centered and insecure life; and it is something that all of us can do in some way. There is freedom in Jesus, and Jesus is in the face of a person in need.
Getting outside of yourself and into the lives of other people is a very significant step in overcoming the battle against insecurity. I’ll never forget when Hurricane Katrina happened. Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana became a rest stop for thousands of people who had evacuated south Louisiana and were stranded on the road. Many of us were there around the clock, handing out food, water, clothes, offering prayer, a moment of rest, and hope. By the end of it all, we were so physically worn out, but our hearts were so full. Not even for a moment did I have time to stop and think about myself. Whether or not I was good enough or smart enough or cute enough was the furthest thing from my mind (good thing, because “cute” was out the window!). Our focus was on responding to the needs of those hurting people. It’s times like this that God has used to teach me about the power of getting outside of myself. When our focus is on helping someone else and serving other people, insecurity loses its place in our lives. You know the saying, “out of sight, out of mind”? Well, taking our eyes off of ourselves long enough to actually see into someone else’s situation and responding in compassion to their need is like the key that unlocks the chain of our self-centered insecurity.
“A strong nation, like a strong person, can afford to be gentle, firm, thoughtful, and restrained. It can afford to extend a helping hand to others. It’s a weak nation, like a weak person, that must behave with bluster and boasting and rashness and other signs of insecurity.” – Jimmy Carter
Actively caring for other people is the perfect remedy because not only do we get a real sense of our purpose, but we also feel gratified in knowing that we can be useful in someone else’s life. Seeing the pain and challenges that other people experience, although sometimes difficult, can help us to remember how blessed we are. There are so many people who deal with way worse things than we do. When we compare our identity issues to the legitimate battles that people face, it’s a little embarrassing! Seeing the harsh reality that so many people endure can really knock things into perspective. Plus, it is only a matter of time before we are faced with our own battle, and carrying the unnecessary weight of a broken identity would suck some much-needed capacity away from us. Your freedom to be totally secure in who you are has everything to do with your willingness get outside of yourself. God has called you to be free, so that you can serve others in love. One was never meant to be had without the other. Set free to serve. Set free to serve. Set free to serve.
“It is when we all play it safe that we create a world of utmost insecurity”
– Dag Hammarskjold
I encourage you to pray for the people in your life. Look for ways to serve them. Write a letter, buy a latté, make a phone call, or share a meal and listen to them.
The local church is a place rich with opportunity to serve people. Serve on the weekends as a greeter or in a ministry that feeds the homeless or cares for widows. Simply attending a service isn’t enough for you to truly grasp what Jesus really meant for the Church to be. Making Jesus known to our communities isn’t just the job of our pastors, it’s a mission for all of us, and we all have a role to play. Serve the people in your church, serve the people of your community, and most importantly, serve the people closest to you. As we serve others, insecurity is forgotten, and it loses its influence. Therefore, serve, and serve often.
It is important to realize that you need people too. Get connected to the people in your church. We need each other. If your church has small groups, that is an excellent place to start. Invite people into your life. Allow yourself to be vulnerable to others. Though there may be risk, there is great and invaluable reward. There is strength in numbers.