I just finished up my study of “So Long, Insecurity” by Beth Moore tonight. What an incredible journey these last few months of this study has been. All the girls have agreed that our eyes have been opened to things we never would have pegged as insecurity or would have labeled ourselves as insecure about. It’s given us applicable and practical ways of dealing with the insecurity that undoubtedly plagues us all. I am so thankful for having stumbled upon this study and for the three girls that were brave enough to venture through this study with me. 🙂
You can read my past posts about insecurity here and here.
These last few chapters were all about actually dealing with your insecurities. Facing them head on, fearless, with full trust in the Lord to get you through them. Beth tells us that this process won’t be easy…but there’s no other way than just holding up the mirror and facing the reality of it.
The Power to Choose
If you know me or have been around this blog for any length of time, you should know I’m pretty transparent. I often get talked to by my family about “telling it like it is”. I try not to be blunt in the way that it offends others (though I’ll be the first to admit that it certainly happens, and more often than I’d like), but I am definitely honest about my life and surroundings. For me, I don’t really know any other way than to just say it as I see it, because I don’t know how to mask things and pretend they don’t exist.
That said, I think several of you know my past. You know that I was married young at 19, and also divorced young at 21. You may know that my past relationship was really rough, with instability and unfaithfulness.
When I read Beth’s words, “In our insecurity we want to know everything, because how can we control what we don’t know? But trying to know more than what’s healthy for us can cause deep wounds,” I knew exactly what she was talking about. That’s how I was in my past relationship. I wanted to know everything about his unfaithfulness. I wanted to know the details. I wanted to know where he’d been and who he’d been with. And for what? I was thinking I could control the situation better, the more that I knew. Looking back, I see that no good came from trying to “know what God knew” as Beth put it. Knowing those details only fueled my insecurity and hurt me even more. It did more damage. It caused deep, deep wounds. Wounds that made me insecure in my current marriage, even when my husband Skyler gave me absolutely no reason to be insecure about anything. Wounds which then inflicted unnecessary worry and fear, which undoubtedly have affected my relationship with Skyler, like it or not.
“When we scratch and claw to dig information out of the dirt, however, we don’t get the same kind of grace that accompanies divine revelation. God graciously forgives, restores, and even resurrects as we bring Him our needs, but the pursuit of omniscience costs us dearly in the meantime.”
-Beth Moore (pg 218-219; “So Long, Insecurity”)
I had never thought about God setting boundaries on our knowledge in order to protect us from further pain and hurt. I always thought, “the more I know, the better I can deal with the situation”. Only since reading this, have I thought about how good boundaries can be. As a mom, I set boundaries for my toddler. I set them for his protection, safety and well-being because as having more life experience and knowledge, I know better than he does. I had never applied this to my relationship with my Father. I know He knows more and knows better for my life than I do, but I had never thought that perhaps He had set boundaries on my knowledge – not to keep me in the dark, but to shelter and protect me.
Beth encouraged us to let go of our desire to play God. To let go of our desire to control. Once we begin that process of giving God full control and letting go, we can begin using one of the most important tools that God has given to us: the power to choose. “By choosing to have a different reaction even prior to having a different emotion, we can effect an immediate sense of heightened security.” (Beth Moore; So Long, Insecurity Study Guide)
I remember my dad telling me something very similar. Actually, he wasn’t even telling me specifically. I remember it being some time within the first year of my marriage to my ex-husband that I found myself sitting in the back row at my dad’s church, listening to him speak at the youth group that he led. He shared a story about his friend who had hurt him in some way (emotional hurt). It became a habitual hurt and my dad experienced this pain inflicted by his friend over and over again. He said he finally had to just choose to forgive his friend for the next time he was going to hurt him, even before he actually hurt him again. I’m not sure that my dad even knows that I remember him saying that still. That I vividly remember that story, remember sitting there that night, and remember holding back tears. How completely appropriate and timely was that story for where I was at in my relationship with my ex-husband. I sat there with this new profound wisdom. Forgive him, BEFORE he hurts me again. This was at a time when I had been repeatedly finding my ex-husband on dating websites. Every time I questioned him about it, he asked for forgiveness and said he wouldn’t do it again. And two weeks later, we were going through it again. Over and over. And I was hurt. I distinctly remember sitting there that night, offering up my situation to God, and asking Him to help me have the forgiveness in my heart for my ex-husband for the next time that I was to be hurt again. This process completely changed me. I could feel myself begin to have more forgiveness, to release the hurt even before it happened. I think this played a huge roll in not being angry, hurt or bitter towards my ex after we separated.
“One of the most common human claims is that we can’t change the way we feel. That may be true, but we can change the way we think, which will change the way we act. And as we change the way we act, the way we feel also begins to change. In the breaking of every habit, someone wills it first and feels it later.”
-Beth Moore (pg. 239-241; “So Long, Insecurity”)
I’m a very visual person. Thankfully Beth appears to be as well and the woman was able to paint many pictures in my mind that just resonated truth within me. She told us to set boundaries on insecurity; to refuse insecurity the right to stalk every other reaction. She said that we must make up our mind that the only way someone is going to take our security from us, is for us to actually hand it over. That we have the right to hold onto it for dear life in every situation and relationship. I immediately pictured myself being vulnerable in a situation and feeling insecure, hanging my head in defeat and literally handing over my security to someone who doesn’t deserve to take it from me. What a powerful mental picture for me. Now just take that visual, change the situation to me boldly and fearlessly holding my head up high, and clinging to my security as if my life depended on it. Because it does.
Looking beyond Ourselves
Beth surveyed several men about their take on women’s insecurities. One man said this:
“Most obvious is when women are around other women; they try to size each other up and look for reasons to not get along rather than to get along. They seem easily intimidated, whether by physical beauty, character status, or whatever makes them feel that the other woman has more going for her, and a barrier goes up.”
(pg. 275-276; “So Long, Insecurity”)
*Crickets* …. Does anyone else feel as much shock (and guilt) as I do about how this guy hit the nail on the head about us women? I am completely guilty and ashamed to say that I have very frequently done exactly what this guy calls us out on. Walked into a room and determined where I sit on the “beauty totem-pole”? Yep, do that all the time. Listened to a group of mom’s talk and label how good (or bad) of a mom I am, based on what they do with their kids? Uh huh. Watched a woman with a kind and gentle spirit lift up another person with encouraging and loving words, and felt jealousy over their amazing character and ability to speak with such gentleness and love to the other woman? All. The. Time. (Especially for this blunt-say-it-like-it-is woman. I envy the woman who can tame her tongue and know just what to say and when to say it.)
Stop making comparisons.
Beth calls it “bad math”.
“Where on earth did we come up with the idea that we have to subtract value from ourselves in order to give credit to someone else?!”
-Beth Moore (pg. 279-280; “So Long, Insecurity”)
AMEN. Where did we come up with this “bad math”? Just because she’s beautiful, why does that make me uglier? Just because she’s encouraging and uplifting, why does that make me less in character? Just because she is a super mom, why does that make me a not so good mom? Only in my “bad math” equation does this make sense. Only then does 2 + 2 = I suck more than her.
“When we work from an activated mentality of God-given security, we are fully capable of thinking another woman is beautiful without concluding that we are ugly.”
-Beth Moore (So Long, Insecurity Study Guide)
We need to stop looking at each other as contenders. As someone to “beat” in all of life’s unending competitions. We’ve got to see each other as people. Real people who deal with the same things we are dealing with. Because likely, if I’m looking at her saying “she’s more beautiful than me. I’m ugly next to her. I’m going to keep my distance from her,” she is probably also looking at me saying, “she is really witty. I’m not as humorous as her. She won’t think I’m enjoyable to be around, so I won’t be friends with her.” Or something along those lines. Realizing that another woman is just as insecure as I am about one thing or another helps to “humanize” the other woman again. To realize that she is a broken woman with pain, heartache, struggles, dreams, ambitions and goals just like I am. Once I bring her back to my level, I no longer see her as a contender or a threat. She’s another woman just like me.
Beth points us to the Message Bible which paraphrases Galatians 5:26 in the following way:
“We will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.”
If we realize we all have struggles and life problems, we can have more sympathy, love and compassion towards each other and less competition.
Moving Past Fears into Trust
Fear is gripping, isn’t it? It takes hold of us and we really have to fight against it to be able to shake it off of us. For those of us in relationship with the Lord, we should be fearless, right? We should know that He is always there for us, protecting us, looking after us and loving us and we should have nothing to fear. Easier said than done.
“Whenever you get hit by a wave of insecurity, the wind driving it is always fear… Get down to the bottom of what frightens you, and then pitch it to Him like a hot potato.”
-Beth Moore (pg. 320; “So Long, Insecurity”)
Me: “But Lord, what about this? What will I do if this situation happens?”
God: “Do you trust me?”
My mind immediately goes to the balcony scene in the Disney cartoon Aladdin, where Aladdin is standing on the magic carpet, holding his hand out to a hesitant Jazmin and asks her, “do you trust me?” She replies with a yes, takes hold of his hand, and steps onto the carpet. Do you trust me? Do you trust ME?” I keep saying it over and over again in my head. “Yes Lord, I do trust you.” I really do trust Him. Do I trust Him at all times? I try. There are times when I think I know the perfect answer and pray that He answers my plea in the way that I see it fit. But that’s really me trusting me, not trusting Him.
“Sometimes trusting God means taking no further action. That’s when a verse like Psalm 46:10 speaks loudest: “Be still, and know that I am God.”
Be still. Don’t do a thing. Not a darned thing. Just trust in Him to take care of you and the situation… because He will. He always does.
Beth told a story of how God challenged her to picture her worst fear becoming reality, which in her mind was her husband leaving her for someone younger and more beautiful than her. God told her then to get all the way to the other side of the fear – the part where she actually starts healing and moving on from the hurt. The part where she trusted Him to help her move on, because in her lifetime of thinking up terrible possible future outcomes of her worst fears, she had never gotten any further than the hurt.
God told her, “As long as you’re going to borrow trouble on the future, why don’t you go ahead and borrow the grace to go with it and see yourself back up on your feet defying your enemy’s odds…Just as you and I have done a dozen other times.” (pg. 328, “So Long, Insecurity”)
She challenged us to do the same – to picture the end of our fears and worst nightmares too. The part where we actually overcome our fears and heal. The part where we trust God fully to restore our lives and our hearts.
I know this exercise. I learned it several years ago from my own experiences. As I moved through the healing process from my painful divorce, I would often visualize myself sitting on God’s lap. I would picture Him just sitting in a big arm chair with arms wide open and I would run to Him and curl up on His lap, and He would wrap His loving arms around me and just hold me and give me a hug. I was welcome to stay there as long as I needed. Since then, I have frequently found myself going back time and time again to be comforted and restored while sitting on my Daddy’s lap. I’ve often gone to Him and asked Him to just hold me a give me a hug.
Back in April I attended a women’s retreat that was comprised of my church and a couple others. Right from the gate on the first night, the women leaders opened up with sharing words of knowledge about us ladies in the group. These women didn’t know any of us and hadn’t seen any of us until we arrived there that night. The week or so before the retreat, they were given our names and asked to pray for us and ask God to give them a word from Him about each of us. This is what the lady who was given my name said to me:
You are energetic, expressive, genuine and systematic. Everything you do has a purpose. Routines are thorough and help keep order in your life. I have a sense you are “an on the ball” person. Whatever task needs to be completed, you are determined to do well informed and know what you are doing. Energy wise, you “give it your all” until completion.
Your child-like faith gives you the freedom to trust and know that His strength is your strength.
So when you are tired or overwhelmed, you sit on your Father’s lap and He restores your strength. This is why you seem to have a sufficient supply of energy.
I heard the words “releaser of hope”. You have a positive attitude towards life and are always aware of God’s blessings.
You see the goodness and potential talents in people you talk to and develop relationship with.
You are a “twinkle” in God’s eyes.”
When she read those words to me, words that God gave her scripted perfectly and precisely for me, I couldn’t help but practically bawl like a baby. I knew that my going to God to sit on his lap to be restored was something special to me. When she spoke those words to me, I knew that my doing that must also be so special to Him because He thought enough of it to share it with her. That alone was so encouraging to me – to know just how special I am to Him and how much He cherishes me and loves when I come to Him for comfort. When I trust in Him to take care of me.
It’s something to continually be worked on: trust. After finishing this study, I’ve seen how important it is and that the more I can just trust in God, the more my insecurities will crumble away. The more my fears will diminish.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation – so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?
Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.”
“[She] will have no fear of bad news; [her] heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. [Her] heart is secure, [she] will have no fear; in the end [she] will look in triumph on [her] foes.”
[Her] heart is secure, [she] will have no fear.
Let your heart be secure. Let yourself be fearless and trust in the Lord. For, “it may hurt in the beginning, but it’s going to be beautiful ‘in the end’.” (Beth Moore, pg 331, “So Long, Insecurity”).