Insecurity is inescapable for youth workers.

We’ll never be cool enough. (If you think you are, just wait a few years.) We revisit our leadership decisions. We wonder if people like us. And the deepest bowel-shaking, fear-spawned question: Am I spiritual enough?

Insecurity is debilitating fear and doubt. Some fear and doubt is good (hungry, angry bears will maul you). Too much fear and doubt will ruin a person’s life (for example, believing there is a hungry, angry bear around every corner).

The opposite of insecurity is confidence, which is the attitude that comes from an accurate understanding of what we can control and the faith that God controls everything. “Too much” confidence is pride which says, “I don’t need God.”

Insecurity has a million different shades of meaning. So you and I can be on the same page, I’ve tried to establish a clear definition: insecurity is too much fear and doubt.

Living with deep insecurities isn’t God’s design for our lives. Fear makes it impossible to be experience the joy and significance we can have in Jesus. Also, God is calling us to be more like him, and that often means leaving our comfort zones. We can’t take these risks if we are filled with too much self-doubt. In the tough times and wild seasons of life, we can’t rest in God’s peace if we don’t trust him. We know all this, we teach it to the teenagers in our youth groups.

Yet we let insecurity undermine our trust in God and ourselves. We forget that God is in control of everything and that he has entrusted us with control over a few things. God trusts us, when we don’t trust him, we can’t really trust ourselves.

How can we deal with our insecurities? Here’s how I’ve tackled mine:

After I can get over the pain (and sometimes embarrasment), I view an insecurity as an opportunity to grow. I want to turn my insecurities into a stepping-stone toward becoming more like Jesus.

Overcoming insecurity takes learning more so we can trust more. We can’t go in a new direction until we have a new perspective.

Once I become aware of an insecurity (they are such subtle creepers into our lives!), I make it a point to spend some time in focused prayer. Incapacitating insecurities are God sized problems. I need to keep my eyes on Jesus, the one who will never leave me and is working to draw me closer.

After devoting my heart in remembering Jesus, I engage my mind to reflect on what’s happening. I work hard to identify the specific source(s) of insecurity. I’ll ask: What’s causing my fear/doubt? How is my fear/doubt changing my life? This isn’t easy, but it’s always worth the effort.

I may find some answers…or I may not. Either way, I’ll connect with God’s Word to see what he has to say. I wish reading the Bible was like magic or Apple products, and that it “just worked,” solving my problem with a verse or two. Meh.

I’ll also talk with a few trusted friends to get their insight and perspective. (where would be be without good friends?)

All of this will lead me to two things: stuff I can control, and stuff I can’t. Then the excitement begins: obedience and surrender. I take care of the stuff I can, and trust God with the stuff I can’t.

Wish all this was as neat like this blog post. I also which dealing with an insecurity was a one time event, but it’s more of a rinse and repeat kind of struggle.

How about you: what do you do to short circuit insecurity’s impact on your life and ministry?