Living with Insecurity

Every generation seems to recreate the myth of a golden age when all was well with the world, peace and prosperity reigned (or, at any rate, everyone had enough to eat, a job to go to, and a home to return to) and life was tolerable if not actually enjoyable. Of course, the truth has always been otherwise. Except for a very few, life has always been insecure; and even those blessed with material riches have been subject to emotional loss, health scares and natural or man-made disasters. Why, then, do we cling to the idea that life ought to be secure? That security is the norm; insecurity somehow a deviation?

Could it be that inside each of us there is the desire for ‘something more’, the ‘divine discontent’ which leaves us restless until we find ourselves in God? As a Christian, I would certainly agree with that sentiment. The cold beauty of the snowscape around us has reminded me how very fragile our lives are. We so easily forget our vulnerability. Bricks and mortar, money and status, even family and friends can all be taken away; and sometimes it is only when we have nothing and must stand before God defenceless and with empty hands that we realise the truth of the psalmist’s conviction:

O Lord, you search me and you know me,
you know my resting and my rising,
you discern my purpose from afar.
You mark when I walk or lie down,
all my ways lie open to you. (Ps 138)

It is in God’s knowledge and care for us that our security lies.


16 thoughts on “Living with Insecurity”

  1. Insecurity is the very air that I breath these days. Ill health, no job and only a very small monthly allowance to live on, which I am now at a serious risk of losing. This due to some new council regulations, that have no consideration for the fact that people then have no income. I am seriously afraid of losing my home, because very soon I maybe won’t be able to pay my bills, not to mention not being able to care for my animals or even myself.

    Where to turn to for help when the prayers have dried out and only a deaf God’s ear has been turned my way?

    • You are experiencing insecurity in an acute form and it is understandable that you should think God is deaf to your prayers and the prayers of those who, like us, are praying for you. But do you think you are only heard when God answers your prayers as you would choose? If God is God, then surely he is with you in the insecurity and pain of your life. I have myself known tremendous insecurity, so I don’t say this lightly: can you find something, anything at all, perhaps your animals, that makes you see something worthwhile and happy in your life? That isn’t being glib or escapist, but when one is feeling down and fearful about the future, it is easy to think that everything is bad; and then one’s ability to cope with it all diminishes, and everything gets worse and worse.

    • I am so sorry for your present anguish. The Lord who suffered so in Gethsemani is with you and understands your pain. He is holding you and my prayers are especially for you.

  2. We have processed and thought about times past, what was good, bad and come to terms with it.
    However we cannot look at what is happening to the most vulnerable in our society and think that this is right because similar things have occurred in the past.

  3. When I feel insecure and vulnerable and not at all in control, I like to say Ignatius’ prayer:
    Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will,
    All I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
    Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.

  4. Suffering is part of the human package and we are prone to anxiety and insecurity, but, as God’s children, are designed to depend upon him who promises that he will not fail nor forsake us. He will take care of every need. If he cares for lilies of the field and sparrows that fall, how much more will he care for us.

    It is all in God’s hands and when we feel powerless and can make no sense of it all, we can offer it up for his glory.

    In all our distresses, we need to reach out in prayer. ‘Arrow prayers’ are very effective. It’s not so much about avoiding difficulties and sorrow, though that can often happen, when we pray: it’s about the best outcome for everyone in the situation, to teach us that Grace can carry us through and alter our perception. There is a Resurrection side to everything. Our prayers are a contribution towards the salvation of mankind.

    We are bidden to live as if we have already received Christ’s promises, on the cusp of a whole new dispensation. That is what gives power to prayer and strengthens faith…living as if…

    I like Claire’s prayer, above. It sums up everything. On a personal note, in a crisis, I tend to fly to Our Lady with Hail Marys.

  5. Thank you for all these contributions, its helped me a lot. I’ve been feeling these things a lot, and often feel alone about it, even though I am a Christian and attend Church.
    Its easy to think money buys you security, and it does to a certain degree, but not in God. I think that is what I struggle with most. The more I need God, the more he fills that need, and the less I am consumed with need to possess material things.
    In a materialistic world, this is a daily struggle, and one, I confess I am not brilliant at. But with the prayers above, I really feel his presence. Many thanks and blessings to you all xxx

  6. Just coming back to Claire’s comment about not feeling in control, just reminds me how out of my control most of my life has been – and remains so.

    For the greater part of my adult life I was in uniform, subject to Military law and had taken on oath of obedience to HM The Queen and those Generals and Officers set over me. So, while I had essentially a freedom to do what I liked, it had to be within norms of behaviour that were acceptable “The Values and Standards” of the Army. Effectively, they sought to control behaviour, although they could not control what I was thinking. But I was compliant, obeyed the rules and lived a fairly disciplined life (as did my family) as a consequence.

    When I signed up for the Army it was a voluntary surrender of my freedom in exchange for a secure life in terms of salary, somewhere to live, to be fed and clothed and to do adventurous things. It also of course called for sacrifices, constant separation from family on exercises or operations and the danger and uncertainty that went with those activities. But, I signed the contract and lived with it’s consequences.

    Now, I made a commitment greater than any contract, when I accepted Jesus into my life in 2008. Perhaps I didn’t realise the consequences of that action, I don’t regret it, but it meant a total surrender to his will. It has led me down strange paths, some difficult and hard, particularly when you are required to take stock of your life, to face your mistakes and repent for them. It has caused considerable changes in my (our lives) and has meant an enormous amount of insecurity as we seek to discern what God’s plans might be for what remains of my (our) lives. But, what Joy!

    Now, I have no control whatsoever of what happens. I just wait and see where God will be taking me, eagerly and joyfully awaiting the next step. It’s insecurity of a wonderful type – it’s God giving me gifts and grace to share with others through ministry with people who are in need and just being part of communities that are looking outward to the world to serve and to love. Jesus has given us joyful insecurity – what a bargain that is. 🙂

  7. I have had many bouts of insecurity and in those terrifying days I did lose my conscious contact with
    God but I did realise by having Footsteps on my cupboard door he was never far away. Thankfully I am far
    less insecure now and all I ask is for peace of mind which is pricesless.

    • Thank you, Susan. I think being conscious of God’s presence is a great grace not given to all. Thérèse of Lisieux, as she lay dying, lost all sense of God’s presence but refused to let go of her faith.

  8. St Therese of Lisieux! I’m in awe of her. How could someone so young have such deep understanding?

    I want to add (from St Teresa of Avila):
    Nada te turbe
    Nada te espante;
    todo se pasa;
    Dios no se muda.
    La paciencia
    todo lo alcanza
    Quien a Dios tiene,
    Nada le falta
    Solo Dios basta.

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