Insecurities have a way of sucking the life out of me. Like, really. I’ve never usually been one to struggle with insecurities…but every once in a while, they creep in like a tiny pebble—you know, the ones that painfully make their way into your sneakers. They look insignificant, but once they wedge themselves in, they feel like a giant boulder has been lodged into your heel. Right as you’re getting into the swing of things, jogging at a comfortable speed, putting miles in and feeling good, one of those pebbles sneaks its way into your foot and immediately throws your groove off completely—it’s always the smallest of them that messes everything up.

And so, just as I was getting in the groove of things and life was feeling good…the tiny pebbles (aka, insecurities) made their way into my mind.

You know what I find so troubling about these insecurities? Each time they show up, they come to steal—and they never do so in disguise. It’s like if the same burglar came to rob your house in plain sight over and over again. We willingly allow our pesky thoughts to walk right through the front door after a slight knock and a yawn. “Hey, it’s me again,” it says as it pushes it’s way through, taking whatever it desires from your home. You’re left standing with a look of confusion and defeat. You might shrug your shoulders, take a seat on the couch and start flipping through channels nervously as you watch your possessions make their way out the front door. “Wait, don’t take tha….” You half-heartedly plead as the TV you were just trying to use as a distraction is lifted and moved. Before you can complete your sentence, the burglar’s gone…along with all your stuff.

This is what insecurities inevitably do inside of our minds…but instead of taking jewelry and TV’s, they go for the goods: joy and peace.

Insecurities usually rest contingent upon other people—it can be attention, approval, or comparison. No matter how we look at it, we allow other people (real humans or those through a screen) tell the burglars when it’s time for another B and E (Breaking and Entering. Dane Cook, anyone?)

But what’s warped about this whole thing? Insecurity is really just pride decorated in silver wrapping paper with a giant bow pasted on top. We open the gift excitedly, only to find a really yucky Ben and Jerry’s flavored ice-cream with an “it’s okay to feel bad for yourself” Hallmark card attached to it. Before long, we’re feasting on our own self-pity. Pride is essentially seating ourselves on our own weak pedestals…we just allow it to take different forms and wear different hats.

Funny thing is that in my journal this morning during my early devotions, I scribbled a few phrases down. They looked (written by hand, of course) something like this: “You’re lifted up, I’m brought low; I bow, You stand; I’m humbled, You’re exalted; You’re the sun, I’m the moon.” I don’t really know why I wrote that. Maybe God was preparing me for a day of mental struggle. It wasn’t but a couple of hours later that my morning requests were shoved to the back of my mind as my worldly desires dangled carrot-sticks in front of me and whispered lies into my ear, “focus on this…pay attention here…” Before long, I was following their scent like a zombie on autopilot.

I came home after a long day of a few rounds of a mental boxing match with some bruises and scratches. I sat in bed, took out my Bible and started flipping through. As I desperately searched the Psalms trying to find a chapter that matched my “feels” at the moment, I realized where I had started to go wrong. You see, I was, in that moment, taking the precious, holy, and gloriously infallible Word of God and trying to rub it like a genie’s bottle while making a mental request to Heaven, “make me feel better.” This selfish gesture revealed the condition of my “insecure” little heart struggle. I really was dealing with all sorts of self-centeredness. I immediately opened my journal to write this thought down, and my eyes were drawn to the very last sentence that I had written under the scribble of phrases from the morning, “Remain on Your throne in my heart. Don’t let me put myself there.”

Insecurities, pride, whatever you want to call them, have a way of exalting us—making our wants our center focus. As we’re sitting on our gold-plated (not even the real thing) throne 30-feet in the air, the wobbly foundation is given a small “push” and we come crashing down, hitting the hard and cold floor. It was the same carrot-dangling, lie-whispering burglar that convinced us to climb to the top of the weak pedestal.

Giving too much attention to yourself is never a good thing. In fact, it’s a recipe for disaster—or a really long, unexpected fall. Insecurities remind us how desperately in need we are of our Savior. He is gracious to exalt Himself, because He is the infinite source of any and all peace and joy. When we are brought low, there’s nowhere we can fall—we are free to gaze up and marvel at His firmly-planted, rock-solid, golden throne. There’s no room to crave attention or approval when your knees are to the ground—all you can see is His majesty—and your audience is that of One. Unlike when you’re falsely exalted on your fake throne…you look out and see everyone else making their weak attempts to do the same…some crashing down around you while others are following the carrot on auto-pilot on their way up, forgetting that they will also will soon be headed for the cold floor. It’s only when you, too, are on your way up…in preparation to fall down…that you can play the game of comparison.

Dear friend, don’t make the same mistake I did yesterday. Don’t make yourself the focus. Your fickle desires won’t find you any peace or joy. The Throne Room is the only place they can be found. I encourage you to search there.