Wednesday, January 23, 2013

So Long, Insecurity // Week One

Welcome to Week One of our online Bible study!

I'm so glad you are joining in, especially for this study. Beth Moore is one of my favorite women's Bible study authors. She knows how to dig in deep to God's Word...and dig in deep to the hearts of women. She is fun, down-to-earth, and so compassionate toward women from all walks of life and all experiences. Her heart is for women to fully realize God's love for them - and I share that desire as well!

Which is why this study is so gripping for me. Insecurity is at the root of so many (maybe most...or all?) of our issues as women. And Beth Moore is downright angry about it! (See Chapter 1 of her book.) Frankly, I am too. I hate it when insecurity creeps up in me, or when I see it crippling the women around me. Thankfully, we can do something about it. This study allows us to join Beth Moore in her journey to discovering true security in Christ. Her goal is for an insecure woman to open the book and a secure woman to close it (Group Experience, pg 3). I hope you are ready!

If you are following along in the print materials, this week's post and discussion questions are based on:

Chapter 1: Mad Enough to Change

Group Experience
Week One - Insecurity: A Bad Friend

*The introduction and Chapter 1 are available for preview at the So Long, Insecurity website, along with some other awesome resources.

Photo Credit
I love word pictures and Beth Moore is full of them. She starts her book with a description of her daily walks during which she is often listening to her iPod, praising God, while carrying a shotgun at her side. The reason - rattlesnakes.

She says:

"The way I see it, either I can get out in the fresh air and enjoy myself well-equipped, or I can sit in the stale house like a wimp and sulk about a path full of hazards. Throw me a shotgun. I'm not missing life over snakes."

I love that tenacity! And it's with the same boldness we must approach our insecurity. Insecurity may be widespread among women, it might be very present within your own heart, but it is not unbeatable. We all just need to be willing to take a stand and become "well-equipped" for our journey.

Take a moment to think about the presence of insecurity in your own life. Are you face to face with it? At what moments does it creep up? How much do you value yourself, really? And how do you determine your worth?

Some of us may only feel beautiful when our spouses say so. We may only feel intelligent when our boss recognizes our job well done. We my only feel like a good mom when the children behave well in public. Or we may only feel appreciated when someone says thank you.

But Beth Moore asks the tough question: What if no one tells us that? Can we still find a way to be okay? (Chapter 1, pg 5)

The fact is, we cannot use other people as mirrors to determine our worth. No one is capable of the amount of trust and responsibility required to validate someone else. Married women listen up: Not even your spouse!

This week we get a taste of true security and its source:

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit."
Jeremiah 17:7-8

According to Beth Moore, "...what we don't want [is] a sense of self-worth that balances precariously on someone else's opinion and leaves us fragile, overly sensitive, and unable to look beyond ourselves." 

Instead, we need a place we can go where we will be loved for eternity, a source that never runs dry. God knows how fragile we are, and how temporary our existence is. Yet he lavishes us with an everlasting love out of compassion and mercy. Hopefully, as we learn to dwell in the presence of our Father and Creator, the voices of others will become very small.

Bible Verses for Reflection:
Join me in memorizing each week's Bible verse, so we can be well-equipped for life's hazards!
Memorize: Jeremiah 17:7-8
Reflect: Psalm 103:13-18 

Discussion Questions:

Feel free to answer just one, or all, of the following questions in your comment post below.

1. Beth Moore postulates that insecurity is an issue most widespread among women, and that the primary basis of our insecurity is founded in our relationships with men (our need for male validation). Do you agree? In what ways do you observe this within society or among those you love?

2. What problems can arises out of our need to be validated by men, or others?

3. Read Jeremiah 17:7-8. In what is security rooted? What does this mean for us?

4. Read Psalm 103:13-18.  What does this passage say to you about how God relates to us even when we struggle with insecurity?

5. Can you think of a time that you were able to remain secure in the Lord? What was the result?

Prepare for Next Week:
If you are following along in the printed resources, next week's post will be based on Chapters 2 & 3 of the book, and Week Two in the Group Experience workbook. Feel free to read ahead, or simply let this week's content soak in a bit!


Lisa Adele said... Reply to Comment

I'll start with Q3. I LOVE analogies in the Bible with nature. I see the verses in Jeremiah as a great example. A tree (us) that is near water (God) is going to be strong in all situations. I think this is a great reminder to be rooted in God daily, then even when life gets rough, sticky, stressful or insecure, we can know that we will be okay.

Valerie said... Reply to Comment

I love those analogies too Lisa! And the verses in Jeremiah are rich in meaning. It is interesting to me how "green leaves" and "yielding fruit" are natural byproducts of being rooted by a river (a lifesource - full of water, minerals, nutrients for growth).

Jumping back to Q2, I know when I've acted out of my need to be validated by others (instead of placing my hope in the Lord), I end up striving. I worked so hard to produce and flourish, often in things I was not designed to do in the first place. I grew weary, spiritually starved, because all the energy I invested into living up to other expectations was essentially wasted.

But my choice (it's a daily choice!) to trust in God, hope in Him, keeps me rooted at the life-source. Then the processes He placed within me to be who HE WILLS, will thrive and produce --- like you said, Lisa, even in the roughest situations.

I also believe I'm not the only one who benefits from a choice to be rooted in God. If I am producing fruit, I can be a blessing to God, myself and OTHERS. Perhaps the very ones I am tempted to try to please!

I believe if we remain in God's will, our fruit will be more desirable and effective for ministering to others. If we do our own thing, we may produce no fruit at all - dishonoring God and completely useless to those around us. It's hard to make choices that may go against others' expectations. But when we choose to be secure in God, everyone benefits in a way that most glorifies God. And that's why we are here, right?

Brenda Krames said... Reply to Comment

Hi Val. Great comments. Thank you! Not sure what happened to my other post - Google shut me out. Q3 reminded me that when my father passed away in 1986, Psalm 103 perfectly expressed my loss. My father had so much to do with my securities and insecurities. For instance, Daddy always included me in hands-on projects. The result: I have little reservation about taking on home improvement projects, and know just enough to get into trouble sometimes. However, he did not know how to give verbal affirmation. He never told me I was pretty or looked nice. Once he did say my haircut was "cute" when I positioned myself between him and the television. On the upside, I was able to sit sweetly in my father's lap until I married while in college. In my quiet times, I often see myself sitting in Father God's lap. Sweet stuff! Thankfully, God saw fit to give me a husband that is VERY verbal. Carl has been used by God to work so many insecurities out of my life, and vice-verse. As the decades with God and Carl have passed, I don't think about my physical imperfections and inadequacies (much - lol)but try to focus on what's really important - my impact on others for His kingdom - being a good steward of the blessings I have.

Valerie said... Reply to Comment

@Brenda Krames Thank you so much for sharing such tender memories with us, Brenda! Such experiences remind me that while our security should not be founded in people, God will often use others to help us find our way. And it really is about refocusing on what matters -- as you said, how we contribute to His kingdom. :)