The path of insecurity towards God

 

A couple days ago I had a bad headache and a sadness in my belly, partly because I felt like I was doing work that was harmful. I was organizing an activity for a high-energy networking event for 1,100 community leaders from the region. The activity was a network map that showed how these 1,100 people knew each other. The more connections you had to others at this event, the larger of a dot you were on the map. At times, I felt like I was helping create a shallow popularity contest that encouraged posturing. I was aware of how much self-doubt I had about my contributions to this event. As I prayed about it, I became aware of how much self-doubt many of the participants coming to the event were also bringing to this event and the potential connections they would make. Underneath the event preparation and activities, it felt like there was a strong, restless current, where most of us were trying to keep our heads above the water of these questions:

Do I really belong here? Will I be found out as a fraud?

Will my gifts be recognized and welcomed?

 

In the middle of this networking event, I was feeling drained and discouraged. At that moment, a community artist who inspires me happened to walk up to me to ask about the activity I was coordinating. In our conversation, this artist surprised me by telling me about the self-doubts he had about how he fit in this large group of leaders. As he vulnerably and openly told me about this, I felt a wave of grace wash through us.

 

I’ve spent much of my life asking myself why I was so shy, and why I had such trouble connecting naturally with people around me. The morning after the event, it felt like God woke me up early and asked me to reframe this history of self-doubt and insecurity. God seemed to be asking me to see the value of the path I’ve been on from intense shyness to choosing a career as a group facilitator that stretched my natural tendencies. Looking back, it appeared that God had been helping prepare my awareness of and compassion for these insecurities. I felt called to a new way of facilitating connections and collaboration–a way that acknowledges and redeems our insecurities about belonging. I felt God offering to heal my habit of believing that I can’t deeply and naturally connect with others. God was inviting me to continue my facilitation work, but from a place of compassion for those hidden insecurities about belonging that are in me and many others I work with.

 

What does it look like to build large networks that do effective work together, while those relationships are also grounded in healing and compassion? I think God is asking me to find out.

 

As I’ve been recovering from networking event I helped organize, I’ve been repeatedly reminded of this passage from Teresa of Avlia’s poem, “He Desired Me, So I Came Close” (translated by Daniel Ladinsky):

 

**

A thousand souls hear His call every second

but most everyone then looks into their life’s mirror and says,

“I am not worthy to leave this

sadness.”

 

When I first heard His courting song, I too

looked at all I had done in my life

and said,

 

“How can I gaze into His omnipresent eyes?”

I spoke these words with all

my heart.

 

but then He sang again, a song even sweeter,

and when I tried to shame myself once more from His presence

God showed me His compassion and spoke a divine truth

 

“I made you, dear, and all I make is perfect.

Please come close, for I desire you.”

 

**

 

 

I’m a 40-something man who is ga-ga about his 2 kids and wife. I also feel warmly about bikes, mountains, and Jesus. I do consulting work with religious and secular organizations, walking with them as they look for where there is the most life and vitality in their work. My occasional blog posts are at:http://spiritofinstitutions.blogspot.com/.

 

 

 

 

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