Wednesday, February 13, 2013

So Long, Insecurity // Week Four

We are going to dive right into week four of our Bible Study. If this is your first time here, you can check out all the posts from the "So Long, Insecurity" Bible study series by clicking HERE. Jump in where you can, when you can!


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

Chapter 5: Rooting It Out
Chapter 6: A Cocktail of Ego & Culture

Group Experience
Week Four - Digging Deep


Over the past few weeks of this Bible study, we have faced the reality that insecurity exists in each of us to some degree. We talked about how insecurity can cause damage in our relationships and it can quench the Holy Spirit's work in our lives. We see that insecurity is connected to fear and doubt, as well as our ability to handle real or perceived threats. Last week we were reassured by God's Word that we are not alone and He wants to still use us despite of our weaknesses.

We have come a long way!

Photo Credit
This week is going to be a challenging one as we look at root causes to our insecurity. Sometimes it is not enough to just identify insecurity when we see it. Sometimes we have to dig in deep and get it at the root. It is painful. But the result is experiencing true freedom.

I'm all about getting dirty for a huge payoff like freedom. How about you?

In chapters 5 and 6 of the book, Beth Moore lists some of the primary roots of insecurity:

Instability in the Home
Including various types of abuse, divorce, substance abuse by a family member, mental or physical illness in the home, financial instability...
This type of experience can lead to the feeling: I'm on my own. No one will (can) take care of me. Abuse especially solidifies this thought process and affirms that those who are supposed to care will instead cause harm.

Significant Loss
Of a person, a home, or relationship...
This experience can be something major, or a series of "minor" losses. But as Beth says in Chapter 5: "If it translated as something huge to your heart, it is huge to God on your behalf."

From a friend, parent, spouse, child, boyfriend...
While this is probably the most common experience, Beth reminds us that God created us for relationship. Disconnection is not the answer. Restoration is. It is important to see if our insecurities are founded in perceived rejections. Sometimes we feel were rejected when that wasn't the person's intent at all. In response to rejection, some of us try harder to be accepted. Others will become a loner and pretend we don't care. It is important to hear what God has to say about us so we can avoid either extreme.

Dramatic Change
Accidents, financial crisis, even positive changes like a move or new baby...
While dramatic change can be a negative experience, the change can also be a good thing. The problem is that big changes feel threatening because they are not what we were used to. Many of us avoid change because what we know feels safer - even if the unknown could be so much better.

Personal Limitations
Learning disability, physical handicap, scars, acne...
Beth reminds us that "attitude is everything....and the way you view yourself will acutely shape how others view you (Chapter 5, pg 81). We have to look beyond our limits to what God desires to do with them.

Personal Disposition or Temperament
While sensitivity is not the same as insecurity, sometimes those who are sensitive or tenderhearted are more likely to experience insecurity. Issues go straight to the heart and inflict deeper wounds. Having an awareness of our disposition can help us better gauge the severity of the threat.

Our Culture
Our most recent generations are hit with the challenge of competing with the media's portrayal of the perfect woman (young and flawlessly beautiful). We are bombarded with images and information that invite us to constantly critique and compare. Sometimes these messages are unavoidable, but can be limited by using the off-button -- something we should probably press more often?

This is the last on the list discussed in the book -- for good reason. It is the only root that isn't thrust upon us by other people or circumstances. Of course, we always have the ability to choose how to react to those situations, but pride is the one root that originates within our own hearts. Once we get it out of the way, God can really do a work in us.

It may seem that pride does not belong in the context of insecurity, but look at this quote on perfectionism by Richard Winter in his book Perfecting Ourselves to Death:
Although perfectionists seem very insecure, doubting their decisions and actions, fearing mistakes and rejection, and having low opinions of themselves, at the same time, they have excessively high personal standards and an exaggerated emphasis on precision, order and organization, which suggest an aspiration to be better than others.....Perfectionists' black-and-white thinking takes them on a roller coaster between feeling horribly inadequate...and then, when things are going well, feeling proud to be so good." (So Long, Insecurity, pg 105-106)
That's a hard to truth to face! (And it's talking about me...yikes!)

So how are you doing? Hanging in there with me? I hope you have been able to identify the roots of your own insecurities. But as you do, remember this:

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
Insecurity has hurt us in many ways, but it cannot take us away from the all-encompassing love of God!

Something to Consider
The discussion questions below will take you deeper into the exact source of your insecurities - a specific person, circumstance, or word spoken to you.... Please be discerning about what you share, remembering that this is a very public forum. Some questions may be best for you to address in your secret place with God.

Some of you may have to revisit past hurts or traumatic experiences in order to grab a hold of that root to pull it out. Know that God is with you in this process. If you feel this is something you cannot face alone, I encourage you to talk to your pastor about working with a counselor. Or if you are not connected to a local church, send me a private message and I will do my best to get you in touch with a Christian counselor.

In any case, please do not skip over this week! The work that God can do in you this week may be hard, but it is essential to healing and becoming more secure in Him. I say this with an empathetic heart as God has proven this to me before, and He is faithful to do it again!

Bible Verses
Memorize: Colossians 2:6-7
Reflect: James 1:17
Hebrews 13:8
Psalm 102:25-27
Psalm 121
Deuteronomy 31:8
Romans 8:38-39

Discussion Questions

1. List the roots of insecurity that you relate most to. What people or experiences come to mind when you reflect on each one? How did they affect you?

2. Think about a time when you thought you were on your own, without someone to care for you. What prompted the feeling?

3. Can you think of a time when you felt rejected, but looking back, you realize that wasn't the person's intent? How can we deal with rejection in a healthy way - whether it is real or perceived?

4. Think about any big changes in your life - good and bad. How have these changes brought on feelings of insecurity?

5. Can you think of someone you know who was able to rise above their personal limitations? How do you think they did it?

6. What correlation is there between sensitivity and insecurity in your life?

7. How do the media portrayals of women affect your view of yourself? Would you consider going on a media "fast" -- or take some other sort of action to be more discerning in your media consumption?

8. What is the difference between pride and confidence? How does humility play a role in security?

9. What do the verses listed above tell you about God's character? How can these truths comfort you in the midst of our insecurities?

10. Reflect on Romans 8:38-39 and Colossians 2:6-7. Remember that God's love never fails! He provides us with security. As you read through the verses in Romans, name the struggles in your life and realize not even those can separate you from His love.


Lisa Adele said... Reply to Comment

Since I'm going through a "dramatic change" at the moment, I was reflecting on this time compared to last time. I experienced my bout with anxiety after moving and starting a new job a few years ago. I was so worried about being perfect that I become completely overwhelmed and insecure about my ability to do anything. I think just knowing this about myself, and having the coping strategies I've learned from counseling have helped me cope much better with our current move/job change situation. I have found some activities that are familiar (FPU class is the same everywhere in the world) that are helping me to keep in mind that even though it seems like everything has changed, many things are also the same, including God being on my side.

PS. I'm loving the scripture typer website- I've got 4 passages memorized so far :)

Valerie said... Reply to Comment

I am so thankful for God's grace that enables us to view ourselves (and our past) in a healthy way, so we can see our weaknesses and mistakes, and know where God's strength should be enlisted instead.

@Lisa - I am glad God has used your past to show you more about yourself, and more about Him, so you can cope with your current change in circumstances.

He has done the same for me, helping me recognize what of my insecurities are rooted in pride or fear of rejection (whether perceived or real). It's scary to deal with stuff, and to look at the past. But I take comfort in the verses that remind us that God's love never fails, nothing can separate me from it! He loving;y me helps me see myself clearly...and slowly I begin to heal. I can now feel the sting of insecurity and respond to it the way He would want me too, instead of reacting out of emotions.

And I am happy that Scripture Typer is working for you!! :)