Many talk about peer pressure in the teenage years, but in truth, peer pressure continues to follow people long into adulthood. Peer pressure plays on the need to feel secure in our relationships and to be accepted. The need to feel secure in our relationships leads us to expect others to be like us, or we feel the pressure to be like others.
The lack of true identity in Christ is one of the prominent problems that brings much insecurity. People seem to be in search of their missing identity, but they insist on trying to find it in all the wrong places. At the same time, they have a high need to be accepted for who they are. Therefore, if they are not approved or affirmed by others for their ideas, then they feel rejected or hated.
Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
Martha seemed to be a doer, and she expected Mary to be just like her. Martha may have feared missing out on Jesus’ teaching, but the need to serve kept her in the kitchen. On the other hand, the scripture doesn’t tell us that Mary expected Martha to act like her. Mary was content with being herself and doing what was important at the moment, but Martha wanted Mary to operate differently. In the process, She accused Jesus of not caring and expected Him to correct her sister.
Interestingly, Jesus did not correct or rebuke Mary for sitting at His feet. Furthermore, He didn’t tell Martha to drop everything and sit at His feet to hear His teaching. He was accepting both of them with how they interacted with Him. However, when Martha confronted Him and complained about her sister, He told her that Mary had chosen the good part. Martha could have stopped serving others temporarily to ensure she heard Jesus’ teaching, but instead, she expected her sister to change what she was doing.
Most people desire to fit in. No one likes to be shunned or excluded. People want to be loved and accepted. It is part of how God has designed us to be in relationship with Him and with others.
The Lord spoke to me recently about the cycle of insecurity. If we have been raised with a deficit in being affirmed as a child it sets the person up to feeling insecure in life. This can result in a pattern of looking to others for affirmation and acceptance to fill that void. If the person doesn’t receive those continual affirmations, then they feel bad about themselves and their relationships. When a person thinks they are rejected, then they begin to act on those feelings and start treating others differently. This creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. The person begins rejecting others for what they are not receiving from them, and, in turn, their behavior produces rejection from others. This continues to reinforce the insecurities.
So How do we deal with these kinds of insecurities?
First, we need to start with our relationship with the Lord and remember that being right with God is the first and most important aspect of our sense of security. If we don’t have that as the foundation for our lives, our sense of security is fragile and in flux based on people’s feelings and needs.
Second, we need to accept that our personality, talents, and gifting are going to be different from others. We don’t need to try to be like others, neither should we expect others to be like us to feel secure. Valuing each person’s uniqueness gives us the freedom to interact with a variety of people without feeling the need to conform to others’ expectations or expect others to conform to ours.
Third, in the absence of information, we should not jump into the conclusion that we are rejected. We should challenge our feelings and give others the benefit of doubt. Pray and ask the Lord to give you a different point of view than the one you hold. We need to be willing to reject insecurities and not get trapped by them.
I will continue with this subject in the next devotional.