“I hate you!”
When people say that in relationships, it’s often a sign that somebody’s trying to control somebody else. What’s beneath that control?
It’s fear. Insecurity causes us to try to control others or resist the control of others. When you’re so insecure that all you think about is what others think of you, it destroys your relationships and disables your life.
It’s an amazing dilemma we have as human beings: We long to be close, but we also fear being close. We long to have intimacy with others, but we’re also scared to death of it.
Insecurity prevents intimacy and destroys your relationships. You can’t get close to somebody if there’s fear in the relationship. If insecurity destroys relationships, then what builds them? Love! Love builds relationships.
The Bible says in 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. Whoever fears is not perfect in love.” How does that work? How does love expel all fear?
Love takes the focus off of you and puts the focus on others. People ask me a lot of times, “Do you ever get nervous when you’re talking to a lot of people at Saddleback?” The answer is, “Of course!” But you know what makes the difference? I get the focus off of me and focus on the people in front of me instead. If I stood there thinking about what they thought of my hairstyle, I would have something to be afraid of, right? But the minute I start thinking about how much I love my church family and how we serve God together, all of a sudden the fear is gone.
It’s the same in any relationship. Focusing on the other person gives you the power to throw fear out of your life.
So how do you find that power to focus on other people? You realize how much God loves you. The moment you begin to understand how much God loves you, you don’t have to prove yourself any more. You don’t have to spend your life trying to impress other people, because you already know that God loves you.
Do you know how freeing and enjoyable it is to live life that way? Your identity and self-worth are not caught up in what others might think of you. When you’re secure in your relationship to Christ, you’re no longer pressured by everybody else’s expectations. God’s love frees you to love others fearlessly.
Talk It Over
- What insecurities or fears keep you from opening your life and heart to someone, whether it’s a friend, spouse or family member?
- How does our culture help keep us insecure in our relationships?
- What do you think God believes about you? What does He see when he looks at you?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, one of America’s largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times best-seller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.