Wednesday, January 30, 2013

So Long, Insecurity // Week Two

Welcome back! I am excited to dive into week two of our online Bible study. But first, here are some helpful links & tips to assist you through this experience -- especially if you have no idea what this study is about! :)

Blog Tips 
1. Read about the purpose of this online women's Bible study and how it works by clicking HERE.

2. To easily access all posts in this series, go HERE. You may want to bookmark this page. Or if you are starting at my blog's home page, simply click on the "Bible Study" button at the top of the page.

3. If you don't want to miss a post, be sure to subscribe to my blog. Keep in mind you will receive all my posts, not just those in the Bible study series.

Study Tools
1. Visit the So Long, Insecurity website to learn more about the study and see how other women are overcoming their insecurities.

2. Use sites like Bible Gateway and Biblos to compare various Bible translations and meanings from the original texts.

3. Join me in memorizing our weekly Bible verses! I absolutely love using Scripture Typer for memorization. I'm a visual & kinesthetic learner (need to see it and do it) so this is the perfect tool to imprint Scripture on my heart...and fast!


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

Chapter 2: Insecure Enough to Matter
Chapter 3: She Doesn't Look a Certain Way

Group Experience
Week Two - How Insecurity Affects Us


I really appreciate the discussions that are starting up on the blog posts! Thank you for sharing your insight and even personal stories. The journey to security may be slightly different for everyone, but we can still encourage each other along the way. Please feel free to jump into the discussions at any time!

This week we are digging in to how insecurity really affects us. It is important to understand exactly what insecurity looks like in our own lives and how deep it is rooted, so we can effectively pull it out.

First, I wanted to share a nugget found at the beginning of Chapter 2:
"Scripture claims that believers in Christ are enormously gifted people. Are our insecurities snuffing the Spirit until our gifts...are largely unproductive or, at the very least, tentative?"

Tuck that away and carry it with you as we unpack some more insight on insecurity. I believe it's helpful to keep in mind while assessing your own insecurities.

Now, let's try to put a face to this beast... ready?

In the book, we are given this description:
"Insecurity refers to a profound sense of self-doubt - a deep feeling of uncertainty about our basic worth and our place in the world. Insecurity is associated with chronic self-consciousness, along with chronic lack of confidence in ourselves and anxiety about our relationships. The insecure man nor woman lives in constant fear of rejection and a deep uncertainty about whether his or her own feelings and desires are legitimate." (Chapter 2, pg 17)

Read over that description a couple times if you have to, and try to identify the different elements of insecurity. Can you relate to any? Which feelings do you experience?

When gauging our own insecurity, we can measure it by two variables:
How intense are the feelings (of self-doubt, anxiety, fear)?
How often do we experience them? (Is it chronic?)

There is a difference between having a few "off" days and being consistently insecure. There is also a difference between being sensitive (compassionate or discerning) and being intensely crippled by self-doubt or fear. If what we are experiencing is constant and deeply emotional, we are more likely to see insecurity wreak havoc on our lives. Everything from our health, to relationships, to our ability to serve God will suffer.

So let's think about when these feelings might manifest...

  • Perhaps it is the fear of trying new things or meeting new people.
  • Maybe you place undue pressure on your relationships with high expectations to fulfill your needs.
  • Or maybe you feel you aren't worthy/capable of your job position.
  • Does it crush you when you find out someone doesn't like you? Or disagrees with you?
  • Perhaps you aren't sure if you are truly loved (or respected) by those around you.
  • Or is insecurity masked by perfectionism, careful planning, and your ability to make certain that nothing can or will go wrong?

Photo Credit
Beth Moore reminds us that an insecure woman can be a complicated mix of confidence and self-consciousness (Chapter 2, pg 19). So it can sometimes be easy to miss. But self-consciousness is simply an acute awareness and preoccupation with self - this often hides behind the face of confidence.

Which is why it is so important to be careful not to judge others in this process of evaluating insecurity. It is tempting to look at someone else's life and think, "THAT is security." Maybe it's a pretty a face, a great wardrobe, their air of confidence that fills the room, their perfect system for approaching life.

Beth refers to these as "false positives". The things people have going for them that seem to establish their security. The things we are quick to point out to them, to remind them of how great they have it. The things we wish we had.

We've all heard (given or received) these types of comments when it's hard to believe that person has an iota of insecurity:

"...but you have everything you could wish for."
"Everyone likes you!"
"Oh, you have such a loving and supportive husband."
"You ALWAYS look good!"
"Look how everyone looks up to you."
"You know they couldn't do this without you."

How many times do these comments pop out....out of a craving for what they have?

The truth is, we will never find security in false positives. Even the woman who "has it all" may be struggling with insecurity just as much as you are. The problem is not about the things they have that we lack.

As Beth Moore puts it: "An injured soul is the problem." We have to be willing to go beyond the surface. 
"That beloved, is our challenge. To let the healthy, utterly whole, and completely secure part of us increasingly overtake our earthen vessels until it drives our every emotion, reaction, and relationship. When we allow God's truth to eclipse every false positive and let our eyes spring open to the treasure we have, there in His glorious reflection we'll also see the treasure we are. And the beauty of the Lord our God will be upon us (Psalm 90:17)."  (Chapter 3, pg 43)
God's word shows us that when our security is rooted in Him, we reflect His beauty, His ability, His power, His purpose. Yes we fall short on our own, but in Him all things are possible!

I encourage you to spend some time in the verses below and let the Holy Spirit minister to you about who you are to God. If you have trouble accepting these truths for yourself, ask God to increase your faith in His desires for you. Healing from insecurity begins here!

Bible Verses:
Memorize: Ephesians 2:10
Reflect: 2 Corinthians 4:7
1 Peter 2:9-10

Discussion Questions:
This week is getting even more personal, so I understand if you do not want to share! However, if you feel your experience is one that can help others, please consider sharing anonymously. As before, you are welcome to answer just one, or all questions! 

1. Can you identify your own false positive - the one thing that would make you "secure"?  
2. Have you experienced insecurity in a way that affected your relationships? Have you set up unrealistic expectations have caused your relationships to suffer?
3. Go back to the first quote from Chapter 2 and think about this question: "Are our insecurities snuffing the Spirit until our gifts are unproductive or, at the very least, tentative?" Share a specific time in your past when insecurity kept you from using your gifts or doing something you knew you should do...and if you have been able to overcome that obstacle, share your victory with us too!

4. God gives us an encouraging and empowering perspective of ourselves. Read Ephesians 2:10, 2 Corinthians 4:7, 1 Peter 2:9-10. What do these verses mean to you in the context of our discussion on security and how God views us?


Valerie said... Reply to Comment

I think I have a couple false positives that I've struggled with over the years. But the most harmful is my desire to be liked and accepted by all. I've come a long way in that area, but as He usually does, God is refining me and I am seeing how this desire can interfere with His Spirit's work in me.

There are times I believe I should pray for or talk to people about a truth God's give me to share -- but I shrink back because I'm afraid the person will think it's weird,or won't agree, or will be offended, etc. On the flip side, I have also been drawn into discussions or situations I didn't need to be in because of some expectations (real or perceived) that I was trying to live up to.

I am excited to work with God in refining this area of my life - I WANT to do His will and not the will of others (or myself). I've chosen to memorize Ephesians 2:8-10 because it reminds me of both God's grace and His purpose for me. I have a job to do for His kingdom, but if I mess up, His grace covers me and empowers me to trust Him and try again!

Anonymous said... Reply to Comment

I have several false positives ranging from how I look, to personality, and the attitude/behavior of my husband. My greatest false positive is like yours Valerie, to be liked and accepted by all.

I do recognize how my insecurities hinder my ability to use my spiritual gifts and how they affect my relationships. There are times I shrink back from sharing the Truth for the same reasons as you Valerie. Other times I avoid speaking to new people or being myself, carefree and silly for fear of how I will look or what people with think.

I am angered by the damaging effects insecurity has on my life. I am looking forward to continuing with this study, becoming a secure woman, and to seeing how God is able to use this new found security to advance his kingdom :-)

Lisa Adele said... Reply to Comment

My false positive is definitely feeling the need for perfection. It's a lot of self-pressure that can become unhealthy at times.

The buggest way that this has hindered me in the past is when I was suffering from chronic anxiety a couple years back- It took away my ability to do my job well, keep my house nice and definitely hindered my ability to do anything bigger outside of myself. Thankfully, with the help of an amazing Christian counselor, I was able to regain self-control without forcing self-perfection.

It's not a verse you have mentioned yet, Val, but one that I memorized while going through counseling was Psalm 23- it reminds me (even now) that God is always with me and in control of everything.

As a side note- I usually take FOREVER to memorize scriptures, even when I want to- so I'm looking forward to giving the tool you mentioned a shot :)

Valerie said... Reply to Comment

@Anonymous Thank you so much for sharing! I am glad you are able to identify your insecurities and how it affects your ability to be who God created you to be. I'm sure it breaks God's heart to see His children afraid to be themselves. He has placed unique gifts, talents, and personalities within each of us -- for a purpose! Thankfully God is patient and compassionate. He coaxes the real "us" out of ourselves. And when choose to live fully as He intended, it is a beautiful act of worship to Him. I am still learning to live this every day! I will be praying for you throughout this study. I believe God will lead you and you WILL become secure in Him. God bless!

Valerie said... Reply to Comment

@Lisa Adele Psalm 23 is such a beautiful psalm - I am immediately set a ease whenever I read it. Thank you for sharing it, along with your testimony.

I am so glad you were able to work with a counselor and overcome chronic anxiety. Perfectionism is one of those tricky beasts that looks good on the outside but can be so dangerous. I appreciate you sharing your journey because the desire to do it all and do it perfectly can be too great at times. I often need to be reminded to "let go, and let God", as the saying goes. :)

Let me know how Scripture Typer works out for you. So far, I've been able to memorize a couple verses a week...and retain them. (Memorization has never come that quickly for me!) I hope it helps you as well!

Sharon said... Reply to Comment

Since starting this book I've been thinking thinking about snakes lately. Not that I like them - far from it. I'd rather steer clear of the black one that seems to live under our patio. But that's not the kind I'm thinking about. I've also been reading a book by Ann Voskamp, "One Thousand Gifts" and that led me to check out her blog. On there I came across her "25 Sanity Manifesto" - her plan for bringing order and peace to the day. One of the items listed is "Step on the snake before breakfast" "Before breakfast crush one hard thing that is tempting you to think there are impossible things. Before breakfast crush that one thing and prove that all things are possible with God". Then I begin this study and Beth starts out talking about rattlesnakes. So I began to wonder what is it with these snakes??? Do I have "snakes" in my life? And the answer is yes. Snakes are sutble and like these insecurities can pop up at any time and strangle us if we aren't on guard. As a young girl I was definately insecure, but over the years became less so as I learned and accepted that I am God's workmanship/masterpiece (Eph. 2:10) However I'm seeing there are still some things lurking in the shadows. Time to step on that "snake" or maybe use the shotgun like Beth does!

Valerie said... Reply to Comment

@Sharon "Step on the snake before breakfast" I love that! The day is so much better when we start out with renewed faith that with God all things are possible. I'm glad you are ready to tackle even the most subtle insecurities. Thank you for sharing with us!

Brenda Krames said... Reply to Comment

Q4 - This is a healthy, soul searching lesson! I loved the scriptures - Ephesians 2:10 is especially encouraging. If I can just tap into the "prepared" good works that God has for me - what a sweet life this will be! (I'm a bit of a planner.) I'm thinking about all of the time I could save and be way more effective.
My false positive, or one that God is focusing on right now, is trying to say just the right thing to people. I'm in a phase of life where I am realizing the impact my words have on people, especially the people I love the most. I hate confrontation and have avoided it most of my life. But when you are in a position of ministry and people are asking you for help - there will be confrontation. Which means I walk away not feeling "liked" so much but have to face the fact that true love is painful at times - but yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Valerie said... Reply to Comment

@Brenda Krames It's awesome that you desire to be even more effective in your ministry to others. It would be easy for me to praise you for what you already do, but I know we are all being perfected in our callings. ;) I'm encouraged by your testimony and I know God will bring you to that next level of security, to freely minister even when it hurts. Thanks so much for sharing your heart!