The Secret to a Miserable Life
Growing up, I was never allowed to go trick-or-treating on Halloween. I wasn’t even allowed to go to those church-y trunk-or-treat hallelujah parties. My parents told me that Halloween was a night where pets were being sacrificed to the devil. So while you were out enjoying your pillowcase full of Butterfingers, I was at home praying that your chihuahua would make it to see the light of day. Regardless of how you choose to spend the 31st day of October each year, I have a theory about Halloween, one I think we might all agree on. My theory is that although Halloween is the only day we wear a mask on the outside, we actually wear masks on the inside all year long.
At the root of the matter, the reason we wear masks is that we feel insecure and we buy into the lie that we aren’t good enough. So, instead of dealing with the lie, we wear a mask as a defense mechanism to cover up the insecurity. But let me tell you this: Living out of your insecurity is the secret to a miserable life.
Look at the life of Gideon and his journey from miserable insecurity to vulnerability and, finally, power. Gideon was haunted by a low opinion of himself and it made him uncomfortable with who God called him to be.
The story of Gideon comes in the book of Judges at a time when a people called the Midianites had taken control over the Israelites, God’s people. They were super stressed out, as you can imagine, and they did something they hadn’t done even in their days of prosperity: they cried out to God. In response, God raises up what the Bible calls a “judge.” Gideon, 90 pounds soaking wet, was the deliverer God chose for his people. And what was he doing when he got called? He was threshing wheat in a winepress.
Perhaps you don’t live on a farm, so let me explain. Threshing wheat is an activity where you take a pitchfork, get a scoop of harvested wheat, and throw it up in the air. You’d always do it in a windy place so the wind could come through and separate the chaff from the wheat. The chaff would be carried away and discarded. Because the kernel of the wheat is heavier, it would fall to the ground and you could collect it and have it to eat. The problem is that Gideon was doing all of this indoors in a winepress. Do you see any problems with this plan? Why didn’t he go out to a hill where they would normally do it outdoors? The text was clear: the reason was fear. It is in this cowardly moment that the angel of the Lord (Bible code word for Jesus) shows up and greets Gideon as a Mighty Warrior…the opposite of how he looked and felt. You would think that would be enough to convince him that he was the one for the job, but it is at this point that Gideon’s insecurities pop up hardcore.
To make a long story short, Gideon accepts the challenge and raises up an army. God planned on stacking the deck against Gideon in such a way that it would be unmistakable as to who the credit should go to when he was victorious.
There is a valuable lesson to be learned in Gideon’s story. One that took place in the threshing floor: Before the battle of the fist comes the battle of the mind. The cure for insecurity is understanding your true identity. That is to say that when you know who you are, it doesn’t matter who you are not. That’s why God told Gideon he was a mighty warrior. Don’t focus on what you aren’t, focus on what you are! You are loved by God. You are loved by God. You are loved by God. Hello! And the good news for us insecure mask-wearing phonies is that if we were the ones who put the mask on, we can just as easily take it off and begin to walk in the power and the purpose set out before us.
Questions to ask yourself:
What insecurities do I see in my life that I would be willing to address so I can begin to tackle them?
What “mask” do I wear to cover my insecurities?
What are three statements I can tell myself when I need to flip the script in my mind and remind myself of who God says I am?