Originally published Friday, 09 August 2013.
There are too many things I've allowed to have tenure in my life.
Not because they're honorable. Or that I even want to have them around. They've just been lingering, dwelling over me. They've become towering structures, bigger than my own hands and mind that conceived them.
I realized it in New York City last summer. Insecurity was built up into my life like skyscrapers.
I was walking, alone, down 42nd Street in New York City. I had my head held high, and my eyes narrowed sharply. Everyone was my enemy. Everyone I passed had the potential to hurt or rob me. I was feigning a sort of inner strength–and I did it so well that I was thrown off guard when a German tourist asked me if she was on the right path to Times Square.
I panicked. And looked around for help. The veil of busy-anger was torn from my face, and I was just as lost and helpless as she was.
Directionally-speaking, if I can tell my right from my left, I'm having a good day. I could have been trekking toward Pennsylvania for all I know.
There I was, in the city, exposed as a fraud. Exposed as someone feigning assuredness. Suspicious. Untrusting. And unsure. Small and quiet in the wake of a sea of skyscrapers.
The good news is that I'm not the only one.
There are probably hundreds of thousands of real New Yorkers feigning the same confidence and the same assuredness in direction.
And there are probably dozens of my closest, real girlfriends living all over the planet feel that way too in their lives. Like insecurity is a towering force about them.
I know this because one of my closest friends has straight, red hair and is absolutely gorgeous.
So gorgeous that there is no room for doubt or debate. It's a fact.
Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, and this woman is a total knock-out.
One night, with red wine–red like her hair–and getting to know one another, she looked at me solemnly.
I've been celebrated for my looks all of my life she said. But you could tell me that I'm beautiful until you're blue in the face. I just don't believe it.
I have to believe it's because of the skyscrapers. This gorgeous friend of mine has them, too. The insecure ramblings, the total lies she's taught herself to believe.
Girlfriend needs to tear those insecurities down.
And so do I.
And I'm tempted to just level these down to the ground. Wipe out these tenured insecurity trophies I've collected in my life over the last (almost) 25 years. Start building again. Enter some sort of witness protection program for women like me–those of us who are embarrassed or ashamed by the way that we've built up our lives so far.
Give me a new name. Give me a new street to live on. Give me new passions, new pursuits. Let me start over again. I'll even promise to do a better job of loving others, and standing up for myself this time around.
But, maybe it would be better if I held on to these skyscrapers? Made them small and collected them? Like sterling silver charms that would dance and clink at the end of my wrist.
Not like shackles. But something to bare on my arm. To have proof of the past behind me. And to be able to show other women.
See? I'm just like you. Look at these skyscraper charms hanging off of my wrist. Ask me how to get to Times Square and a more faithful, fulfilling, forgiving and loving walk with our Lord.
I think I can remember the way–I was just there. Staring up at my skyscrapers and feeling so small.
And now I wear them around my wrist. And it's a good place for them. They're there for me to remember. To touch and reflect on each one like beads of a rosary.
And they're there for me to share with you.
Ladies, I'd challenge you this week to think about insecurity (or other struggles) that you've given tenure in your life. What would it take to break these things down? Isn't it time to acknowledge these hindrances and start building again? Tell me what you think, leave a comment below!