This Life Group is definitely getting me out of my comfort zone.. Surprisingly not the actual meeting with everyone as I thought, but rather my commitment to publicly journalling about the experience and what I learn along the way. These are topics that are truly hard for me to think about, and more importantly to express, especially out loud to other people. Every time I get done writing about a topic and publishing it I think I couldn’t possibly have to write about something harder, and then ... BAM! “Really? I have to write about this? Ok ... here we go...” My exact thoughts.... and so as it goes.... I am on to this weeks discoveries and takeaways...
In Chapter 4 we learn all about different people in the bible who displayed strong behaviors driven from insecurity. She tells the story of Saul & David, from scripture 1 Samuel. The story is about Saul, the 1st crown of Isreal, and David, whom Saul promoted to high rank in army, despite greatly envying him. Beth suggests that “he [Saul] liked David and despised him at the same time.” (pg 54). She says that this isn’t “an uncommon response toward people we admire but who also make us feel threatened and insecure. We aren’t jealous of people we see nothing admirable” (pg. 55). Ok... confession,.. as awful as a person as it sounds to be this way, as I read this I had to admit to myself that I have been that girl... sadly, not once, not twice, but many a times... and I wish I could say that I dealt with these types of emotions back in the day, and that I am beyond that way of being now.... but embarrassed to admit that unfortunately I STILL often battle with this very issue. The bright side is that back in the day I was NOT self aware and had no idea of how I was acting, thereby letting my emotions run wild and highly dictate many of my actions, which greatly affected my personal relationships with some people. It’s strange to feel envy or jealously toward someone you also feel love and compassion all at the same time. In my experience of dealing with this two sided coin, on one end of the spectrum I find myself so excited as they succeed and grow and learn and transpire... and then all at the same time I find myself envious, almost feeling left behind, as if they have something I don’t. When in reality, the only thing they usually have that I don’t is the guts to pursue what they are doing, to move boldly into action rather then inaction, and to be willing to try something new even with risk of failure, rather then sit back and try nothing out of fear of failure. Presently I am much more self aware, I can usually notice when these types of emotions start to creep in, and I can I can grow past these emotions & thoughts through prayer, before I act on them and impact my relationships in an unhealthy fashion.
Chapter 5 & 6 go over the several most common roots of insecurity in great detail. Beth says, it isn’t about correcting our past (as obviously we can’t do that) but understanding why we may have developed certain insecurities and where they developed from so that we can move past them. The list includes: Instability in home (this includes but is not limited to divorce, abuse, substance abuse, mental illness, & financial struggles), significant loss )(person,home, relationship), rejection(from significant other, friend, parent), dramatic change (good and/or bad), personal limitations (handicap, acne, disabilities), personal disposition and temperament (IE being extremely sensitive), culture and pressure put on women to be youthful & beautiful, and lastly PRIDE.
She asks us this week to identify which two or three are most likely our biggest root causes of our insecurities in our lives and to take them to God and pray. While admittingly so, I have definitely struggled on some level with ALL of the above causes, my thoughts are that the top three go to 3. Rejection, 2. Instability, and 1. PRIDE. Oddly enough, when I first read that pride was one of them, it made no sense, until I read further on. Then I realized that there was a part of that chapter that I felt like she wrote just for me - go figure. She explains that when prideful “we get fixated on every self-gain and every self-loss...” (pg. 105). She says, “Pride. A root of insecurity if there ever was one. We will never feel better about ourselves by becoming more consumed with ourselves” (pg. 105). She then goes on to discuss pride and PERFECTIONISM, stating that it is “perhaps our culture’s biggest temptation” (pg. 105). What got me more then anything was when she actually quoted a psychiatrist’s (Richard Winter) insight on perfectionism. It’s long but I must share it, because it really hit me in the gut when I read it...
"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 then others" (cited on page 105).
Yikes.. perfectionism really does suck... So glad to know that I work daily on overcoming my need for perfection. I know this is one area in my life that I have definitely grown tremendously over the years, and it shows in the quality of my life and my relationships. It's funny though, how the very act of striving for perfection is exactly what often leads to complete imperfection, often through total inaction.
What I loved best is that Beth reminds us to bring our insecurities to God to release them. She says, in her moments of pride she whispers, “That’s nothing but pride. God, forgive me. Self, get over it” (pg. 107). She says God can jerk pride up in a moment. All we have to do is own it and confess it to him.
What roots do you think are your primary sources of insecurities?