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Most of us realize that continually giving handouts to the financially insecure will not help them long-term. This is not to say that we should not help an otherwise financially secure individual who has had a setback. We should. But the truth is, the more we give to the truly financially insecure, the more insecure they will become. Rather than believing that they can provide for themselves (or that God can provide for them), they will come to expect you to save them. Not only will the helpee feel more insecure, but her resentment toward you as her benefactor will grow, too.

While I have understood this principle in the realm of finances, I have failed to recognize its validity in the social realm. If an individual is chronically insecure (and isn’t just having a temporary setback), there is no amount of emotional handouts that will satisfy. Compliments, encouragement, and even vulnerability on our parts will not create social security for those who have not discovered the means for claiming security for themselves. Further, as your insecure other continues to be dissatisfied with all you do to lift her up, she will often decide to tear you down.

If you’re writing social insecurity checks your spirit can’t cash, consider:

  • Asking your insecure other questions to provoke insight. If she is a believer, you might ask her what keeps her from experiencing God’s perfect love and approval. If she is not, share with her how God has given you a deep and lasting security.
  • Relinquishing guilt for your insecure other‘s suffering. No one feels insecure because of someone else’s happiness. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Chronically insecure people choose to feel insecure.
  • Focusing your attention on those who are willing to take responsibility for their own self-image. There are women whose identity is solid, but could use a little encouragement. They don’t get it from us when we’re busy trying to help the chronically insecure.
  • Praying for your chronically insecure person. Only God can fill the hole that you keep trying to fill up. Trust Him to create the circumstances most likely to create change. You may have suggested therapy, books, and Bible studies to your insecure person to no avail. If you’re working harder to help than the insecure person, it’s time to transfer the case to Jesus. He’s the best therapist I know!

LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. (Psalm 16:5)

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