Wednesday, March 20, 2013

So Long, Insecurity // Week Nine

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 15: Looking Out for Each Other
Chapter 16: A Passion to Look Past Ourselves

Group Experience
Week Nine: Looking Beyond Ourselves


Next week will be our last week in this study! It is hard to believe we are that close to being finished. I am so thankful that you have walked with me in this journey to greater security. I hope you have been encouraged in your relationship with the Lord during this time.

This week we are going to get outside of ourselves a little more - starting with the heartbreaking truth that we are part of the cause of the insecurity epidemic among women.

When we look at other women, it may be the norm to view them as competition, sizing up their personality, their outfit, their natural beauty, their man... and then we contend with them over it (whether it is all in our head or not).

Beth reminds us that if we want to end the cycle of insecurities in our own lives, we must also be willing to stop perpetuating the cycle for other women.  

Here are four ways we can promote security among the women around us:

1. Stop Making Comparisons
What we need to realize is that God created us each unique and each as His child. It is possible to look at and esteem another woman without making irrational assessments about her or bringing ourselves down. Beth explains how we often get caught up in "bad math":
  • "I tried to talk to her + she seemed really distracted = she hates me.
  • She's really gorgeous + she gets a lot of attention that I don't = she must be really conceited.
  • She's got this + she's got that = I've got nothing. 
  • She doesn't have this problem + I have that problem = she doesn't have a care in the world. 
  • Look what she's got on + look what I've got on = I have the fashion taste of a tsetse fly."  (Chapter 15, pg 280-281)
Can anyone else relate? I sure can! We have to learn to stop doing the math before we get to the "equals" sign. Let's take notice of other women and celebrate or empathize - but let's stop comparing.

2. Start Personalizing the Other Woman
Sometimes as part of our "competition" mindset (comparing us to them), we forget that other women are human also. They feel. They hurt. They have weaknesses. They also have legitimate victories.

We need to stop seeing each other as one-dimensional contenders, and realize we are all multifaceted individuals. This change of perspective can revolutionize how we view others and ourselves, as well as how we treat them.

3. Don't Trip Another Woman's Insecurity Switch
Have you ever acted out in a moment of weakness, sensing the other woman's insecurity and taking her there anyway? It most likely happens out of our own insecurities, or a weariness from dealing with others' issues. We have to recognize when the temptation creeps up, and realize it's time to deal with our own stuff.

However, there are also women that are so insecure, there is nothing you can say or do that will shield them. Beth gives us this tip to help find balance:
"The goal in our female relationships should be to encourage one another's security. Not enable one another's insecurity."
We should be cultivating relationships that allow us and the other person to grow safely. A healthy relationship isn't one made up of excuses; it is honest, while loving. Let's encourage growth toward a secure life, instead finding ways to trip one another up.

4. Be Example of a Secure Woman
The awesome thing about security is that, just like insecurity, it is contagious. If your faith walk is built on security in Christ, you will encourage the faith of other women. Seeing is not the basis of believing, but it can activate belief and give hope to those who see. Let's decide to be intentional about how we live, remaining secure, to encourage the women around us that it can be done.

Will you commit with me to do these four things to promote security in one another? I know we each may mess up, but it will be easier to pick one another back up if we are sincerely trying. I desire to be an encourager and giver of hope. How about you?

Photo Credit
It is hard enough living in a world that is feeding us lies every day: that money brings security, the perfect wardrobe brings security, a beautiful body brings security. But let's not fall into the temptation that by getting these things, we are also receiving value, worth, true security.
"Human nature dictates that most often we will be as insecure as we are self-absorbed. The best possible way to keep from getting sucked into the superficial, narcissistic mentality that money, possessions, and sensuality can satisfy and secure us is to deliberately give ourselves to something much greater. We are under the constant indoctrination that getting is the way to receiving.
Christ, the Author of life more abundant, taught something totally different. He showed us that giving, rather than getting, is the means to receiving. I will say it again before our journey ends: to find yourself,  your true, secure self, you must lose yourself, in something larger. (Chapter 16, pg 309-310)
If we can look outside ourselves, God can use us. Not one of us is unqualified to be an instrument of God. If you are a believer, His Spirit (God Himself) lives in YOU!

God, in His mercy and richness of grace, will often take the ugliest and most painful parts of our lives and turn them into something beautiful we can use to bless others. God is a redeemer and restorer - what we only knew to bring death, He can (and desires to) use to bring life!

Think about how He has done that in your life. Has God transformed something painful into a wellspring of ministry? Do you see Him doing that now, as He is healing your insecurities?

My prayer for you this week is that you will begin to see the new-found beauty of security within your heart as a means ministry to others.

Bible Verses
Memorize: Isaiah 58:8-9
Reflect:  Isaiah 58:6-11
Galatians 5:22-26
John 13:34-35
Matthew 5:43-45

Discussion Questions
1. Is there a time that you have participated in the "bad math" of insecurity? How can you correct this thinking when it happens?

2. Have your feelings of jealousy or insecurity ever evaporated when something happened that "humanized" your rival?

3. How can we find a balance between not tripping another woman's insecurity switch and not taking responsibility for another woman's feelings?

4. Read Isaiah 58:6-11. What kind of attitude does God want us to have toward others? What will happen when we adjust our attitude outward instead of inward?

5. Read Galatians 5:22-26. How does celebrating each person's uniqueness help us avoid jealousy and unhealthy comparisons? How does the Holy Spirit help with this?

6. Read John 13:34-35. What are some specific things that would happen if we followed Jesus' command in these verses?

7. Read Matthew 5:43-45. Why do you think we are commanded to pray for our enemies? How does the act of praying for them change us?