Wednesday, February 6, 2013

So Long, Insecurity // Week Three and GIVEAWAY!!

We are going to dive right into week three 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 4: Good Company

Group Experience
Week Three - Good Company


I hope you are enjoying this Bible study as much as I am! Ok, "enjoying" may not be the right term. In many ways, this is a hard Bible study. Beth Moore has been asking us to poke and prod ourselves to shed light on some of the darkest places in our hearts. It's not easy to be completely honest with oneself. Especially when those ugly things we are trying so hard to hide are exactly what we are required to face.

But, like Beth Moore expressed in the beginning of this book, I am mad enough to change! And I have hope for change, knowing that in Christ, I can have a better, stronger, more secure life. I hope you agree and you are sticking with it!

We are Not Alone
This week is a slight (slight) reprieve from being entirely introspective. I hope you can catch a little bit of a break by looking outside of yourself into the lives of others. We can easily look around us and know that we aren't alone in our insecure struggles.

Even from the discussion posts for this Bible study, we see that many of us can relate, in one way or another, to various insecurities: the pressure of perfectionism, the desire to be liked/accepted, our looks or personality, even the way our spouses behave.  

Our journeys may be different, how we respond may be different, but we can all see the far-reaching and very real impact of insecurity.

In Chapter 4 of the book, Beth introduces us to several of the Bible's greatest - the ones who accomplished great things for God, but also carried loads of insecure baggage. We are going to see how their insecurities influenced their lives and what we can learn from them.

So the bad news for this week: we still need to keep assessing where we are at. The good news: we aren't alone and God can still use us in tremendous ways!

Let's take a look at a few of the "greats" from our spiritual heritage.

The Line-Up
Eve (Genesis 3) who thought she was missing out on something, ate the forbidden fruit, then covered herself because of her shame.

Sarai and Hagar (Genesis 16) who were both wounded by insecurity. Sarai felt God did not favor her and, because of her doubt in His promise for Abram to have an heir, she offered her maidservant to him. Hagar was able to give Abram what Sarai could not (a son), and became a threat to Sarai. Sarai mistreated Hagar; Hagar despised Sarai; and God's original promise was still yet to be fulfilled.

Rachel and Leah (Genesis 29:31-30:24) engaged in another child-bearing battle. Both married to Jacob, each one struggled in their value as a wife. Leah was not loved by Jacob and believed she could earn his love or affection by bearing him children - and she bore children quite easily. Rachel was loved by Jacob but remained barren for many years. Their insecurities and jealousy created a nasty tug-of-war and tense family dynamics.

Moses (Exodus 3-4:17) did not believe he was qualified enough for the calling God had for him. Even after several miraculous demonstrations of God transforming one thing into something else, Moses still argued God could not use him.

Saul (1 Samuel 10:9-27) was specifically called upon to be king of Israel. Yet when they were looking for him to crown him, he was found hiding in the baggage.

Paul (2 Corinthians 11:5-6, 12:11) often struggled to keep his ego in check, flip-flopping between humility and the desire to be esteemed.

Can you relate to any of these people? I know I can...and not just one of them! They all dealt with a tangled mess of fear, doubt, jealousy, pride, and loneliness. Then they responded (often in unhealthy ways) to situations or people that seemed be a threat to them.

Threat is a key word in this part of the study. Beth Moore writes:
"More often than not, if we're willing to make the connection, we can trace feelings of insecurity to a perceived threat, especially when it comes in a sudden rush....
What are we afraid of?
Who are we afraid of?
What are we afraid of losing?
Why are we afraid of being displaced?"
(Chapter 4, pg 48)
Asking these questions can help us figure out the root to our insecurity so we can then know how to respond.

Perceived or Real?
I love that Beth made this very important point: our fears or threats can be either perceived or real. There is a huge benefit to being able to distinguish the difference.

Perceived threats are the result of an imagination gone wild, the "what ifs" that are very unlikely to happen. They can also arise out of lies we have believed about ourselves or others. If we can stay rational, we can remind ourselves there is no real threat and save ourselves a lot of trouble.

But then there are times that threats to our security are real: getting fired from a job, a spouse who has an affair, a friend's betrayal...

Here is Beth's advice:

"My suggestion is this: even when fears are founded and threats are real and we are about to be swept away in a tidal wave of well-earned insecurity, there is divine power, wisdom, and clarity of thought to be found. The person who responds with strength instead of hysteria at a time like that may be a stranger to you right now, but finding that person is precisely what we are doing here." (Chapter 4, pg 49)

The thing about insecurity is that it tempts us to sit in our negative emotions and live there. It invites us to believe there's no other way and we sink deeper into despair. The truth is, there is a way out. God has promised it:

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 

This week I encourage you to start praying for God to show you the way out of insecurity's grip. Even if you do not respond to the discussion questions on this blog, spend some time on them with God. He will begin to reveal your threats and how to respond so you aren't trapped in a pit of insecurity.

Bible Verses
Memorize: 1 Corinthians 10:13  
Reflect: Psalm 34:1-4
2 Corinthians 12:6-10
Psalm 46 

Discussion Questions

1. Review the line-up of some of the Bible's greatest examples of insecure people. Which one(s) can you relate to and why?

2. Have you experienced an insecurity that resulted out of a perceived threat? What were you afraid of that most likely was not going to happen? And how did you deal with it?

3. Review the four questions about threats from the excerpt above. How might these questions help you when you feel insecure?

4. Read 1 Corinthians 10:13 and Psalm 34:1-4. Can you think of a time God delivered you from fear or the temptation of insecurity?

5. Read 2 Corinthians 12:6-10. How does this verse change the influence of insecurity on your life?

6. Read Psalm 46, especially verse 10. What is it like to "be still" in the midst of our trouble? What freedom comes from that decision?


You were probably wondering when I'd get to this! I wanted to save it for the end because I believe the giveaway item is something that will most benefit those of you who are dedicated to this study -- or at least doing what you can to follow God to greater security in Him. So here it is:

Beth Moore's "The Promise of Security"
A booklet of Scripture promises for almost any instance of insecurity. "When You Lack Confidence", "When You are Looking for Love" and "When You Need Strength and Dignity" are just a few of the topics listed for easy reference to God's promises.

How to Win 
I have five of these little books I'd love to give away. Simply send me a private message by clicking HERE. Be sure to fill out the entire contact form and include the following in the Message box:

1. Your Mailing Address
2. What you are learning or enjoying most about this study

That's it! The first five people to respond will receive a book!

(PS-Your information will be used for this giveaway ONLY. I do not share or sell emails or addresses.)


Lisa Adele said... Reply to Comment

I definitely used to get very caught up in a cycle of "what ifs"...the underlying fear was usually about ending up alone or unprotected... Psalm 46:10 is a great reminder to me that if I just stop, slow down and refocus on Him it helps me break the cycle of what ifs (which I'm pretty sure was a major part of what Moses went through too) and allowing me to know that my best is good enough for God.

Sharon said... Reply to Comment

Lisa, I've experieced the very same. Always going through a list of "what ifs" and making excuses like Moses. It's been encouraging to learn that these people in the Bible were human like me but God used them in mighty ways. And though I've learned that I still have periods of insecurity. Just have to keep His word and promises before me continually. "Be still..." a good reminder to slow down, focus on Him and praise Him.

Valerie said... Reply to Comment

I can be a weird mix of Moses and Sarai. In some circumstances, I'm afraid of how God wants to use me (am I good enough?) and at other times I am too impatient for God's will to be done. In the past, I would end up striving in my own abilities to accomplish whatever I thought God wanted -- and just cause a bigger mess. Just as Lisa and Sharon have shared, I also take comfort in the command to "Be still..." Knowing that God IS and WILL DO what He has promised releases me from the pressure of trying to make things work out.

And I really appreciate the series of questions Beth gives us for identifying a threat. My husband (who is usually more perceptive than I) can see my fears a mile away and, for years, he's been asking me those questions when various issues arise. It's easier for me to now identify threats before I start reacting irrationally. As soon as I know what is causing me fear, I know I can leave it at the feet of Jesus. What freedom!