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Olympic-Level Insecurity: 5 Mistakes We Make When We Think We’re Not Enough

Sep 8, 2015

“If you live for people’s acceptance, you’ll die from their rejection.” -LeCrae

I got a text message from a friend last week. “Congrats on being tweeted by that talk show host and the Catalyst piece, dude.”

He was trying to affirm me for some nice accomplishments in my work as a writer. I appreciated the encouragement. But from tone of his following texts, I felt like I needed to make sure he hadn’t lost perspective about identity and insecurity.

I replied, “Remember Cool Runnings?”

 

One of my favorite movies as a child was Cool Runnings. It’s from that golden era of Disney “sports” movies like The Sandlot, Little Giants, Heavyweights, and The Big Green.

Cool Runnings was inspired by the true story of the Jamaican bobsled team which competed during the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

On the eve of an important round in the competition, we watch a significant conversation between Derice and his coach, (played by John Candy). You can watch the clip here or in the embedded video below.

“If you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.” – Cool Runnings

What is your “it?” The thing, place, or achievement which you’re working towards or longing for? You’re thinking – when I get or reach it, I’ll be enough!

If you’re a writer, it’s selling publishing a book or getting on the New York Times’ Bestseller List.

If you’re a coach, it’s winning a championship.

Maybe it’s winning an election, getting a promotion, making a certain salary, getting married, living in a admired neighborhood, or hitting your goal weight.

I told my friend, “Retweets, comments, likes, guest posts, the size of the crowd you speak to, your platform. If you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.” I know this from personal experience – because this is my story. 

Here’s why this kind of insecurity-driven thinking is so dangerous…

1. We confuse real life with our dreams. Our daily existence looks far more gritty than our crisp high-definition dreams. Most of our dreams downplay the adversity and up-sell the ease. We’re guaranteeing ourselves disappointment when we fail to hold our expectations loosely. In effect, we’re choosing grief, pain and even cynicism.

2. We respond poorly to life’s biggest moments. The impact of life’s biggest moments has less to do with what happens to you and more to do with how you respond. When you’re waiting for that moment to erase your insecurity, the letdown leaves you reeling and you miss the choices you have in front of you. Best-selling author Jon Gordon has identified what you can control in the middle of life’s biggest moments.

Insecurity, Control, Attitude, Jon Gordon

3. We spurn our achievements and victories. Why? Because we unfairly expected them to provide ultimate meaning. After working hard and earning a victory, we end up resenting our accomplishments because we’re still left wanting more. We think winning more will help, but winning more begins to mean less and less. A win will never remove our insecurity – it was never supposed to!

4. We miss the transformation of our character. On the road to our goals, we often only care about getting there. However, adversity and conflict on the road transform us. Life’s challenges can change us, but they will pass us by when we have tunnel vision and only see meaning in the destination, not the journey.

5. We surrender who we are. We become willing to compromise our core values and convictions to end our insecurity. Our drive ramps up to unhealthy levels when we’re trying to eliminate our insecurity. “At all costs” means even who we are is a means to the end of being enough.

If only we understood this fact…we are already enough!

The internal (and external) voices of shame, comparison and insecurity will always try to convince us otherwise. And we trust our inner voices that demean and demoralize us far too often. Our inner voices are often the most dangerous.

Understand this…

today…

with or without a win…

with or without the promotion…

with or without him or her…

you are enough.

I’m a follower of Jesus and a pastor. I do my best to make this blog accessible to people of all beliefs but my perspective in this area is completely colored by my belief in Jesus and the Scriptures.

Consider these truths about you from the pages of the Bible.

You were created in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27)

You were fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139)

If you are a follower of Jesus, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you. (Romans 8:11)

Nothing can separate you from God’s love (Romans 8:35-39)

You are God’s masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10)

In Christ, you are a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

The text message exchange I mentioned earlier came the night before I spoke to a large group of college students. As I shared that clip from Cool Runnings and reminded them of what I’m sharing with you here, I realized that insecurity is not a problem of youth; it infects people of all ages. We never really get past the dynamics of the high school cafeteria, where we’re trying to fit in and find some people to tell us we’re okay.

We’re always looking for someone to tell us we’re enough.

Read the next three words carefully.

You
are
enough.

Not when you achieve “it,” not when you get “there,” and most certainly not when you fail. But today, you are enough. Because of who God is and what He says about you, you are enough.

So, pursue your dreams. Follow your calling. Do incredible work. By all means, discover the unique purposes God created you to fulfill.

However, never substitute your worthiness for achievement.

Do your work because it’s what God made you to do and know He’s never going to love you more. 

“Define yourself as one radically loved by God. Every other identity is an illusion.” -Brennan Manning

If you aren’t enough without it – whatever IT is, you’ll never be enough with it.

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