No one can make us feel quite as unsure about ourselves as another woman. And nothing can wound as much as the words that sometimes come from a friend or from inside our own head. That’s why (in)courage exists as an online community committed to making safe spaces for women to connect.Every Wednesday this month we’ll be sharing some of our stories of overcoming insecurity in order to choose friendship on purpose. We hope you’ll read along and then join us in a weekly Community Challenge geared toward kicking insecurity to the curb and connecting more deeply with our friends.
Week 3: Trespassing Trolls
Some days, we find ourselves living at the bottom of the pit of insecurity. That’s the simple truth of the matter. We feel ill-equipped and overwhelmed and quite sure we are not the person for the job God’s called us to. We are passionate about the work God’s given us, and we would run through forests or leap tall buildings in a single bound, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t pleading for a way to wrest our trembling hearts from the grasp of insecurity, when we wake up with a gasp in the middle of the night.
The other night, I had a dream. In my dream I had an urgent message to deliver, so I was running at breakneck speed, like I was playing the lead role in an action/adventure movie. I could feel the pressure to get the message out there, to the people who needed to hear it, and I was getting closer and closer to my destination.
However, for the entire dream — from beginning to end — I was carrying a lumpy, disheveled, stinky troll on my back. He was greasy and sticky, like the floor of a movie theater, and he had his funky, hot mouth right up next to my ear, and he was screaming right into my brain, “NOooooooooo!!!!!” Over and over again, he screamed it, as he clung to my back and stuck to my clothes, jabbing his gnarled arms and fingers into the air. His voice was raspy and cackly, and it screeched itself into the air around us.
And do you know what the crazy thing is about that?
The crazy thing is that I was holding him there while I ran up the hill and burst through that door. I had my arms hooked beneath the bends of his knees, and I was carrying him — piggy-back style — as I ran through the woods (or was it a city street?) to get the message to the people who needed to hear it most.
In my dream, I never gave that guy a second thought. I never wondered why he was there, or what right he had to try to make me doubt myself or my mission. I never thought to shake him off or give him a stern talking-to. It wasn’t until the very next day, when I was driving down the highway that I remembered that trespassing troll, stuck to my back like gum that’s been chewed up and spit out on the side of the road.
Driving down the highway, I was all absorbed in getting to where I needed to go, when God dropped a question into the air. He said, “What about that trespassing troll on your back?”
In all my years, I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t dealt with some sort of insecurity along the way. We know how to show up and, for all intents and purposes, give the impression that we are calm, cool, and collected, and quite the opposite of insecure. We get so used to faking it we don’t even notice when trespassing trolls show up in our dreams, screaming their hot mess of untruth and blather into our brains and our souls. And, on the days we do feel ourselves falling down the hole into the bottomless pit, we are tempted to surrender and to believe all is not well and it will not ever be well.
Driving down the highway that day, I imagined myself back in that dream and, in the dream, I stopped dead in my tracks. I disentangled myself from that trespassing troll and let him slither to the ground. Then, I turned around and faced him — eye-to-eye. He was shorter than I thought. And not so menacing after all. In fact, he seemed to be lacking in confidence, standing there with his two small feet on the ground, and his stringy hair hanging in his face.
I told him what I thought of him. I told him he had crossed the line and that he was being pushy and that if he took a bath he might feel better. He shuffled from one foot to the other and I left him standing there. I decided I didn’t need him weighing me down. This is not to say he and I won’t have to have another heart-to-heart some day in the future.
I don’t know anyone who’s immune to insecurity. But I do know that once we’ve honed in on it and given it a name, we are better able to defend ourselves against it, and one of the ways we can do that is through the power of the promises of God.
What if it’s true? What if — no matter what the people say about you, or how you feel, or what your bank account or your followers or your book sales seem to shout — what if God is for you? What if you’ve been toting around a trespassing troll who needs to take a bath and step back over to his side of the line, where he belongs?
God speaks through generations, and through space and time, and He whispers into your heart, above the accusations and the doubt and the clamoring that threatens to undo you, and his words to you sound like a solid place to stand, don’t they? “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”
This week, let’s take a deep breath and have a little heart-to-heart with the trespassing trolls in our lives.
Start here: Write out the words of Isaiah 43:1-3 or click here to download and share this free printable and place them where you can see them.
Next, imagine that you disentangle yourself and take a good look at your trespassing troll of insecurity. Can you describe him? Is he as menacing as you’ve been led to believe? Grounding your words in Isaiah 43:1-3, have a heart-to-heart with that troll. Then, come back here and tell us what you learned about God, and about insecurity, and about yourself.