Causes of Insecurity

            How did you do avoiding complaints for the last week? I have to admit, I kept realizing I had let slip another complaint. But at least being aware of the habit is a first step to breaking it.

             Complaining and negative thinking are obstacles to experiencing Joy. Another obstacle, even more widespread, is Insecurity. We all feel it sometimes, but some of us feel it chronically. The origins are different for each of us, and our reaction to insecurity may look different (some might withdraw while others cling). However, we all swindle ourselves as we settle for a limited life, rather than an abundant life, because we are afraid. When we try to protect ourselves from any hint of failure, we cheat this world of the truly powerful contribution we could be making.

             This week I’ve been listening to the audio version of Beth Moore’s new book, So Long Insecurity: You’ve been a bad friend to us. She writes of many causes or roots for feeling insecure. Read through these possibilities and consider how your insecurity began:

  • An unstable home

Relational instability

Financial struggles

A Parent’s physical illness, mental illness, or addiction

An unloving parent

Any abuse – emotional, physical, verbal, or sexual


            Unprotected as a child, we seek protection and so are often drawn to the wrong type of person. Only God can always protect us from what really endangers us.


  • Significant loss of anything you derive security from. This can happen at any age.

Death of loved one

Loss of face or respect, public shame

Loss of innocence


  • Rejection

            Any relationship holds potential for rejection. However, if we won’t risk rejection we won’t find intimacy.

            Our perception of a rejection could simply be a boundary – we can’t claim ALL of a person’s attention, even a spouse.

            A rejection tells lies about our personal value, and sadly, we often concur. “I must not be valuable, worth loving, or even liking.”


  •  Dramatic change

            None of us can avoid change; only God is unchanging. We see security in sameness, even if it is not a good situation. A history of unwelcome changes leads some to dread, always expecting something bad is about to happen. Others become psychologically dependent on crisis. If there is none, we create one.

            God uses change to change us, to coax us to the next level of growth.


  • Personal limitations

Learning disability

Physical disability

Abnormality – anything that makes us feel different/inferior, even if just through our perception.


  • Personal disposition

            Tender heartedness or sensitivity can predispose us to insecurity. The more sensitive we are, the more vulnerable we become. God gave us our tender hearts for a reason. Life is brutal, but He knows it is scary to be us and doesn’t take our pain lightly.


  •   Culture

            Today’s media bombards us with unachievable perfection and the worship of youth. A mark of security is being able to be around anyone, no matter how intelligent and attractive and still maintain personal confidence and contentment. But with today’s media, we’re now tempted to feel inferior to thousands!


  •  Our own pride

            Pride! Unlike other roots, this is within our control, not imposed on us.  If I can’t be The Most Attractive, I’ll at least be…

The Best…

The Hardest Working…

The Most Congenial (or Popular?)…

The Most Noticeable…

The Most Religious…

             Instead, we end up joining the ranks of the most exhausted.

             Pride carried to extreme can become Perfectionism. Moore calls perfectionism, “Insecurity in an art form. Looks pretty, acts deadly.” Perfectionists are insecure despite (or because of) their high personal standards, emphasis on precision, and aspiration to be better than others. Perfectionists alternate between feeling horrible about themselves and superior to others. Low self esteem and pride coexist.


            Look at the above list. Does one area explain the underlying source of your insecurity? Or are you a poster child for having every root of insecurity planted somewhere in your psyche? Whether your insecurity stems from a difficult childhood, or your own pride and perfectionism, you can turn your pain over to God. In some instances you’ll be asking for forgiveness, or the ability to forgive. In others, for healing. Moore reminds us, “Time doesn’t heal. God does.”

             God sees and knows 1000 times better than we do where we are wounded and weak and what graces we need to be renewed, healed, and empowered. WE don’t need to be perfect, because HE is. In fact, he tells us “His strength is made perfect in our weakness.”

             This week we’ve used Beth Moore’s book to help us discover the roots of our insecurity. The “Quick Start” answer to growing out of insecurity is to focus on and trust God, rather than ourselves. But next week we’ll look deeper into practical steps to overcome our insecurity, and by doing so, knock down or sail over one more hurdle to Joy.

 Blessings on your week!

Betty Arrigotti

 To read more: Moore, Beth (2010). So Long Insecurity: You’ve been a bad friend to us. Tyndale. Or visit

Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (NASB)

4 Minutes 4 Joy – Chronic complaining?

Each Lenten Season during the past few years, I’ve written 4-minute emails about various topics for growth: healthier marriage, premarriage preparation, and thriving in hard times. This year I will summarize what various experts share about overcoming obstacles to Joy.

Happiness is a temporary, personal feeling. Joy is a deeply held conviction that all is well, despite our individual circumstances, because of a transcending Good.

 One shortcut to Joy involves removing negativity from our thinking.

Recently Fr. Craig Boly challenged his congregation to go a week without complaining. By the next Sunday he relieved us of the challenge, saying it severely limited conversation. Much of our small talk grows from commiserating about the weather, sports team losses, or the state of politics these days. But if our focus is more negative than positive, it can’t help but affect our mood.

Are you a chronic complainer? I didn’t think I was until I tried to be mindful of my words for a day. Then I realized that I was usually cheerful around friends and acquaintances but much more likely to complain to my family.

I promised myself long ago that I would try to avoid the negativity that often develops as people grow older. I watched one of my grandparents change from a fun loving, gentle soul to someone who could only see the world speeding to “hell in a hand-basket.”

We complain because we are fearful or feeling hopeless or because it has become habit. If our griping is because of fear, let’s tackle the problem that causes it. If it is simply routine, let’s change it!

 Jon Gordon’s book, The No Complaining Rule: Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at Work, is written for the world of commerce, but speaks to us as individuals as well. Gordon prohibits complaining in the workplace except under solution-focused circumstances. Workers are discouraged from griping to someone who is not able to correct the problem. Instead, they are encouraged to take their concerns to someone who can make a change and to always bring with their complaint one or two possible solutions. For this system to work, the whole company must develop a culture of welcoming employee input as a means for improvement. When businesses implement his recommendations, Gordon has found that the business morale and productivity both improve substantially.

Couldn’t we adopt the same rule in all our life?

Becoming more conscious of our tendency to complain would be the first step. If what we are complaining about is unfixable, we should work toward acceptance of life’s difficulties and concentrate on our blessings.

In fact, Gordon lists 5 things we can do instead of complain:

  • Practice gratitude – If you are focusing on gratitude, negativity can’t settle in.
  • Praise others – Focus on what they are doing right and if you must correct them, make sure you give them at least 3 times as many compliments as criticisms.
  • Focus on success – Keep track daily of your moments of accomplishment. Write them down.
  • Pray and meditate – Studies show these practices reduce stress, boost energy, and promote health.
  • Let go – “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things that I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.” Reinhold Niebuhr

“Courage to change the things I can.” If what we want to complain about is fixable, we should only complain to someone who can make a difference AND we must be willing to propose alternatives and work toward a solution.

Here’s Gordon’s suggestions for how to break a habit of complaining:

  • The But → Positive Technique. You’ve just let a complaint slip out so you add, “but..” and then a positive thought or action. My hay fever is driving me crazy, BUT I’m grateful I can take an antihistamine when I get home. I’m so bored at work, BUT if I ask for more responsibility I’ll feel more challenged.
  • Focus on “Get To” instead of “Have To.” Pay attention to our blessings instead of our stresses. “I HAVE to go to work” drags our energy down, but “I GET to support my loved ones” brings meaning to our morning.
  • Turn Complaints into Solutions. Let’s eliminate mindless complaining and promote justified complaining – identifying a problem and moving toward a solution.

I want to be a joyful person, the kind whose company gives pleasure to others and whose attitude demonstrates an appreciation for the life, grace, and gifts God bestows.

 There’s no room for negative complaining in a quest for Joy.

 Blessings on your complaint-less week!

Betty Arrigotti

 To read more:

Gordon, Jon (2008). The No Complaining Rule: Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at Work. John Wiley & Sons.

Jubilee Women – Biblical Advice

8 ” Count off seven sabbaths of years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbaths of years amount to a period of forty-nine years. 9 Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. 10 Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan. 11 The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. 12 For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields. 13 In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to his own property.” (Leviticus 25:8-13 NIV)

Leviticus has advice for the Jubilee Woman.

  • Day of Atonement – Forgive others’ debts to you. Forgive yourself. Ask for other’s forgiveness.
  • Sound the trumpet – Rejoice! Celebrate!
  • Consecrate the fiftieth year – Declare or set apart sacred time, a year to discover the better life God offers you.
  • Proclaim liberty throughout the land– Commit to release for all (yourself included) from the shackles of injustice, addiction, dependence, negative habits, and attitudes.
  • A jubilee for you – Focus on yourself, for others.
  • Return to your family property – Return to your homeland. Go home again and see what home can teach you about yourself, now that you are a woman who has earned her wisdom.
  • Each to her own clan – Reunite with family, reconnect, reassert your roots.
  • Do not sow, reap, or harvest – Refuse to worry. Trust in God’s provision and even abundance.
  • Eat only what is taken directly from the fieldsSubsist or simplify, so you can ponder.
  • A jubilee holy Where is God in your life? First? What does holy mean to you?
  • For you Realize what a gift God offers us in rest. A whole day set aside for our renewal each week, a whole year every seven years, and an extra year every seventh set of seven years.

Could we really set a year apart to rest, contemplate justice, and discover God? How often do we take even one day a week off? Let a commitment to rest and renewal be part of your Jubilee wisdom.

We must start simply, with one day each week. Work hard for six days, but rest hard on the seventh.

    “I am more and more sure by experience that the reason for the observance of the Sabbath lies deep in the everlasting necessities of human nature, and that as long as man is man the blessedness of keeping it, not as a day of rest only, but as a day of spiritual rest, will never be annulled. I certainly do feel by experience the eternal obligation, because of the eternal necessity, of the Sabbath. The soul withers without it. It thrives in proportion to its observance. The Sabbath was made for man. God made it for men in a certain spiritual state because they needed it. The need, therefore, is deeply hidden in human nature. He who can dispense with it must be holy and spiritual indeed. And he who, still unholy and unspiritual, would yet dispense with it is a man that would fain be wiser than his Maker.”1]

[1](F. W. Robertson). Found in dictionary definition of Sabbath Source: Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary

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