So Long Insecurity: Week 8

Your homework this week will include Chapters 14, 15, and 16 and the following three questions –  one per chapter. Try to be as succinct as possible in each answer so we can read through many of the comments. 1) As you surely noticed, Chapter 14 is more of a testimony than a teaching but it concludes with a charge to deal with our female insecurities for the sake of young girls coming up behind us.  Annabeth was my big inspiration for the journey. Briefly describe someone who is worth doing what it takes to you to live abundantly and effectively in Christ. Help us picture her so that she inspires us, too. Needless to say, don’t share more than she’d want you to.
2) I wish we could discuss all of Chapter 15 in person but this is the next best thing. Name a couple of ways pertinent to your sphere of life and influence that you could look out for your own gender in our battle with insecurities. In other words, how can you (not others but you in particular) start becoming part of the solution in your female relationships rather than default into part of the problem. No condemnation here. Goodness knows, we’ve all been both. Our challenge is to learn to be deliberate. How are you prepared to do that?
3) I can’t wait to see your answers to this one. Based on Chapter 16 and the challenge to look past ourselves, what is your passion? If you don’t have one presently, don’t feel pressured or unnerved. You might be too deep in toddlers or school work to think past the urgent. Those things are priority and need to be your passion right now. If, however, you long for something that makes you feel fully alive and part of something specific God is doing for the greater good, ask Him to nurture that vision in you. It will be ultimately be the key to life on the outskirts of self-absorption. Keep in mind, your passion may not be anything you’re currently engaged in. Maybe you don’t have the opportunity to participate right now. Maybe it’s just in dream-form. Or maybe it’s just a place God has tendered your heart. Try to give it a name. What is something outside of yourself that you feel passionate about?

So Long Insecurity: Week 6

I read these chapters weeks ago, so I had to go back and check my underlining and notes to see what I thought here!

Here is Beth’s assignment for chapters 10 & 11:
Your assignment for this week is to read CHAPTERS 10 AND 11 and answer the following question:
1. Based on Chapter 10, in all truthfulness, has your historical tendency been to view men (generally speaking) as gods? Or devils?

2. Based on Chapter 10 and your own day-to-day observances, what differences do you see between men’s insecurities and women’s?
3. On p.208 in Chapter 11, I suggest that women who struggle with insecurity tend to be particularly taken with 2 divine attributes: omnipotence and omniscience. Did either of these resonate with you? If so, how? 

So Long Insecurity: Week 5

You probably thought I decided not to finish this journey! Basically, I just got overwhelmed with life, and anything non-essential went by the wayside, reading included.  But I was determined to FInIsH this book and blogging about it.  I finished it all in a couple of days, but I wanted to come finish my answers here.  I’m sure digging into the book for answers will require more engagement than reading alone.

God has used this book in magnificent ways!  I am finding myself being able to take thoughts captive (especially ones that would have led me to jealousy in the past) and recognize them for the foolishness that they are.  This leads to such freedom!  There is less (not no) stress, anxiety, wondering about others’ thoughts about me, and a beautiful lack of mistrust. There is rest and peace in my brain!  And oh! how welcome it is!

Here is the assignment for Chapter 9, as written by Beth:
Here are your very simple assignments this week:
1. Do (don’t just read but actually do) Chapter Nine. In your comment to this post, simply reflect back on your time with God and share anything specific that you received from it.

2. Go to last Saturday’s post (3/6/10) and look at all the verses in the comment section. You will find a wellspring! Pick five Scriptures that speak most powerfully to you right now – five that you feel like you need the most – and write them on the inside of the back cover of the book. (This should be a lot less intimidating than what I asked you to write inside the front cover at the beginning of our journey!)

This one isn’t one that leads itself to much writing material!  I did read the prayer in Chapter nine, though I found it challenging to “do” something that hasn’t been laid on my heart.  I’m not one to pray something (commit to doing it) unless I’m really there, if that makes sense.

And as far as the scriptures, I confess, I did not read all 1000 comments!  Though, I think I’m weird about this too.  I think scripture might move other people in a different way than it does me.  I don’t tend to fall on a scripture and think, “Oh, wow.  That is what I needed today.”  Not saying it has never happened, but it doesn’t seem to happen much for me.  I usually have those “aha” moments during my quiet time or during a time when I’m in the middle of searching him out.  I guess I have to be more focused or something.  I don’t know!  And she says choose the ones that I “feel like I need the most.”  I have to say, there is such freedom in the journey for me thus far, that I’m past the “needing them the most” stage.  I’m just rejoicing at the liberty and joy He has brought as a replacement for the insecurity and jealousy I started with.

But I wanted to include this assignment for anyone who might come back later and look for all of them.  🙂

So Long Insecurity Week 4

Chapters 7 & 8 already!  I’m catching up on posting because Beth has already posted week 5 questions!  Between reading So Long Insecurity and doing Breaking Free at church, I have to say I’m getting worn out!  But I have no excuse to not be a totally new person by May, so beware.  I am thankful that I’ve done this book along with the schedule of this online study.  It has required me to only read two chapters at a time and given me time to digest the changes the Lord is trying to make in me.  

1. What part of Chapter 7 hit home with you most and why?
Some time this week I came to the realization that in my insecurity I have mistreated Robert, and I owe him an apology for that.  In wondering if I was good enough to come home to, fearing that he would be led astray, and feeling like I had to work to keep him happy, I was dehumanizing him as much as this book talks about the dehumanization of women.  In all of that insecurity I wasn’t trusting him to be the honest, loyal, man of integrity that I married him for!  There are soooooooo many marriages being compromised around me (in very close circles) that I fell into the trap of being fearful that surely we were next.  And because Robert was out of town so much with work, it made it even worse.  But I have seen evidence already that the Lord is filling my mind with things of HIM thus leaving less and less space for the fear, lack of trust and insecurity.  What a blessing to relieve Robert of the responsibility of my feeling of security.  And how unfair of me to put that responsibility on him to begin with.

2. (If you’re choosing only two, please include this one.) Based on your journey so far in chapters 1-8, list your own personal top three reasons why it’s time to deal with your insecurity. (We’re not looking for right answers. We’re looking for YOUR answers. Don’t copy off your fellow sojourners’ papers on this one. Grin.) So that you don’t get your numbers confused here, list your 3 reasons under A.B.&C. 

A) I think my answer here would have to be how much we allow ourselves to be robbed of the JOY of life by our insecurity.  I have fallen prey to this in two different ways: I either avoid activities because I don’t want to be subjected to whatever situation causes me to feel insecure, or I participate in that activity feeling nothing short of tortured while I’m there.
B) It’s physically and emotionally draining.
C) It’s unfair to others to put the responsibility of my security on them (whether or not they know it).

3. Based on Chapter 8, briefly describe a recent trigger of insecurity and whether or not it got a rise out of you.
No!  I was recently in two situations that in times past would have left me feeling sick to my stomach.  While the decisions I made were not one of right vs. wrong, I knew I’d possibly displeased people by handling them the way I did, but I made decisions that were best for my children and me considering everything going on at the time.  It was freeing to act on the principle that I did not sin, and I don’t have to worry about being understood by every single person with whom I come in contact.  While I’m not out to cause irritation, I can’t be responsible for someone else’s choice to agree or disagree with my decision.  I also can’t let my decision making be motivated others’ approval.  That’s quite a breakthrough for this people pleaser!

“The cycle begins to break when even though we may still feel insecure, we make a very deliberate choice to not act on that feeling.”  p. 149

4. Also based on Chapter 8, what does dignity mean to you? 

Dignity is hard for me to define, I think.  I’d like to just look in a dictionary, but I don’t think that what’s she’s looking for!  I think the best way for me to explain my perception of dignity is this:  

I’m worthy of respect.  
I’m worthy of love.  
I’m worthy of being fought for.  
I’m worthy of protection.  
I’m worthy of loyalty.  
I’m worthy of being heard.  
I’m worthy of being treated honorably.
I’m worthy of forgiveness.
I’m worthy of mercy.
I’m worthy of grace.
I’m worthy of understanding.

Only, ONLY! because I am His handiwork, and He has redeemed me.

On the other hand, so are you, and that means you are worthy of all of the above also.

So Long Insecurity Week 3

I’m catching up a bit on these So Long Insecurity Posts.  I am still reading the book and am thoroughly enjoying how the Lord is using it to enlighten me in areas of insecurity, but for a while there it seemed like my blog posts were so heavy!  I felt like I needed to give you guys a break from being my therapy group.  🙂

Week 3 was on chapters 5 & 6.  Here are our questions from Beth.
1. After reading these two chapters, what do you believe to be the TWO primary roots of your struggle with insecurity? Keep in mind that more may apply but try to lock in on two that you believe to be most impactful. I have to say, I’ve had a hard time identifying one root of my insecurity, much less two!  I wasn’t abused as a child, we did move a lot, but I think that helped me be more secure and outgoing and always made friends easily, I don’t remember being constantly criticized (but I do remember feeling like my identity was in being the “good” child).  I know pride has a part in it for sure.  And I don’t remember this being an option, but my answer for number two would have to be hurts and betrayal from adult relationships.

2. What, if any, insight did you gain about the roots of insecurity and did you sense that God was trying to speak to you in any specific way through it? (This answer does not need to be limited to the two roots you identified in the previous response.) 

I really don’t have any answer on this one!  🙂

So Long Insecurity: Week 2, edition 2 : )

So after typing out this entire post, I had a lot to think and pray about. Being forced to make it all make sense (because someone may read it) is so good for me because it forces me to get all the way through an issue in my brain as opposed to thinking about it and putting it in some brain file that never gets brought to the Light.  

Interestingly enough, I thought I had quite a bit of praying to do, chewing on the issue of the fear of abandonment, rejection, etc.  But I realized there isn’t any praying to do except to thank the Lord for his light.  The acknowledgement and confession of the sin of jealousy and fear was what I needed!  

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  1 John 1:9 

In asking the Lord to show me my sin, His conviction, and my subsequent confession there is freedom and forgiveness.  He has shone His light in my darkness and exposed the sin for what it is.  (I saw it as insecurity, He showed me the fruit of that insecurity was sin.)

“The light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.”  John 1:5

Praise the Lord for His light that He shines in the dark areas of our hearts!  Praise Him for being willing to walk this journey with me.  Praise Him for the freedom I have today from the sin I carried yesterday.  Praise Him for the freedom He offers me when I take every thought captive and choose to praise Him for the way He made me.

“I will praise You, because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.  Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well.”  Psalm 139:14

And Praise Him for the rest there is in knowing that He created me with this set of characteristics, so He must have thought I was acceptable, delightful, enough.  Praise Him for the lightness in my relationship with Robert as I realize how unfair it is to him when I look to him for my security.  And like my anonymous commenter said, God is big enough to get me through people’s failures when they happen.  (Thank you for that encouragement!) And remembering our challenge in chapter 3, praise Him that I’m one step closer to letting “the healthy, utterly whole, and completely secure part of  me increasingly overtake my earthen vessel until it drives my every emotion, reaction, and relationship.” 

I’m procrastinating – So Long Insecurity Week 2

I think this gets the award on my blog as the most real post ever.  Well, most real, ugly, embarrassingly immature post ever.  And it’s a long one.

Here are Beth’s questions for chapters 3 and 4.
1. Based on Chapter Three, what tends to be your own “Prominent False Positive”?  
By “prominent false positive,” in short, Beth means something we assume (that if we had it) would make us totally secure in ourselves.  As far as a prominent false positive, I really don’t know what that would be for me.  I know every woman probably struggles with insecurities, and I know the grass always SEEMS greener on the other side.  Being one of those people that appears confident to those around me (yet second guesses myself left and right), I would assume that others who appear confident might not be either. 

2. What is the challenge stated at the very end of Chapter Three?  
My challenge (personalized) is “to let the healthy, utterly whole, and completely secure part of  me increasingly overtake my earthen vessel until it drives my every emotion, reaction, and relationship.”

Praise the Lord that He is in the business of working miracles, because that is what that sounds like to me.

3. Based on Chapter Four, what Biblical figure (or statement about him/her) resonated with you most and why?  
This week has been hard for me.  I keep thinking if I put off answering this question in writing, that maybe my answer will change to a less horrible one. :blush: (I keep reading the chapter over again hoping that maybe one of the other characters’ stories will resonate more loudly so I can use that answer instead.)  But here goes nothin’:  I relate most to Sarah, Hagar, Leah and Rachel.  All of them put together, because root of their struggles was jealousy.  I had to define jealous to see if that’s really what it is that I’m feeling.  Here’s what I found and how I mean jealous here: Fearful or wary of being supplanted; apprehensive of losing affection or position.

I struggle with jealousy.

Ick.  It doesn’t get any uglier than that.  In comparison to these women, mine doesn’t have anything to do with Robert loving another woman.  I don’t say that flippantly as I know many woman are hurting desperately for exactly that reason and my heart hurts for you.  I, on the other hand, struggle with the “in” crowd.  Embarrassingly enough, Robert has pinned me on this one a number of times, but I’ve tried (unconvincingly, I know) to explain it away.  Honestly, I don’t think I realized this for what it was until I’ve had to look at it squarely in the face.

I have never been part of the “in” crowd.  I was too much of a prude to be cool in school, too afraid of trouble to be the class clown, too average looking (with too many zits) to be any sort of beauty contest winner, too average to win any vocal contests.  Sooooooooo many times in my life I have been in conversations with people who talk to me until someone more appealing (better looking, more interesting, more popular, more animated, funnier, you get the idea) comes along.  And I mean this literally and figuratively.

Interestingly enough, I don’t want the more appealing characteristic “they” have.  I am not jealous of the looks, voice, personality, money, like-ability factor “they” have.  As immature as it sounds, I am jealous of the attention they get because of it.  I think it might be that I want to be that appealing, interesting, preferred, … with the package I’ve got.  I want to be appealing enough just as I am.  I know God chose the package He put together in me for many reasons, and I’m okay with how He made me.  I think my struggle comes in when I face the reality that while I know God loves me, and quite frankly older people love me for who I am (I’ve always felt very safe spending time with people who are older than I), my peers prefer someone else.  You just don’t even know how scary it feels to write this down where you can read it.  It’s hard to not want to go crawl in a hole and cry as I write this, but that’s cheating!  I committed to do this thing.

This jealousy is the root of all sorts of insecurity in my heart.  It manifests itself in fears of many things, the most prominent one I realize even as I’m typing this is a fear that Robert will choose someone else one day.  That the person with whom I have shared the most and been most vulnerable, to whom I’ve committed my life on Earth and given my heart, will one day decide that another woman is more appealing and choose her – for five minutes or a lifetime.

Not sure how I type a sigh of relief.  Processing something like this that drives actions and behaviors of mine every day is kind of big.  And I’m praying that the acknowledgement of it will allow me to open up the the Lord for His healing.  What an opportunity I have before me!

More on this another day… I’ve got to pray about and chew on this awhile.  And maybe I need to go back to question 1.

ETA: More on this subject here