And the women sang to one another as they celebrated, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” And Saul eyed David from that day on. —1 Samuel 18:7-9
Even leaders are sometimes insecure. People who seem to have everything “going for them” can be very insecure. But insecurity undermines effectiveness, service, and life itself. Here are five clues that help us identify insecurities in ourselves so we can respond to them by trusting God.
1. I know I’m insecure when others do well and it bugs me. “How come they’re being honored?” “How come she’s being recognized?” “Why didn’t I get the raise?” Note Saul’s response to the recognition David was receiving.
2. I know I’m struggling with insecurity when I’d rather do nothing than risk looking bad. After God called him out, Saul became paralyzed as a leader, afraid to do the wrong thing.
3. Insecurity is involved when I take myself too seriously. I can’t admit my faults. I can’t laugh at myself. I told my kids from the time that they were small, if you can’t laugh at yourself, the whole world stinks. Are you one of those people who, when you say something silly or make a mistake that gets the people around laughing, end up seething with anger? You just need to chill out a little bit. We all make mistakes, don’t we? King Saul couldn’t see himself. He was so stressed out he could no longer enjoy laughter or lightness. He lived in a funk.
4. I know I’m struggling with insecurity when I put myself down and I can’t accept a sincere compliment. Saul refused David’s persistent honor and respect.
5. But the worst of all is obvious in Saul’s life: I know I’m drowning in insecurity when I think people are out to get me. “I know what you’re all about. I know what you’re trying to do.” Bouts of paranoia provoke attacks on others. Saul almost speared David and Jonathan to death, neither of whom had done anything disloyal at all!
Insecure people often become tiresome, annoying, and self-absorbed, which leads to their rejection by others. If you find that people are pushing you off because you’re consumed with yourself, you’re in danger. Security is a bi-product of a right relationship with God. “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned”(Romans 12:3). —James MacDonald
· How has awareness of insecurity pushed me toward greater trust and dependence on God?
· What is it about my relationship with God that fosters and maintains security?
Prayer: Dear Father, I realize that the more I depend on my own resources, abilities, and wit the more I will be plagued by insecurity. When I’m trying to fill Your role in my life, I’m in trouble even when I don’t realize it! Thank You for the gift of insecurity in places that remind me I can only be ultimately secure in You. Show me today places in my life where I’m not depending on You enough to overcome insecurity. But even more, I simply want to trust You today, no matter what! In Jesus’ name, Amen.