I didn’t forget about last week... There was actually no specific journal entries required. Last week was the opportunity to dedicate time and focus on mediation and prayer. A specific prayer that we were to recite over and over in the stillness with God. It was acknowledging our insecurities that both we are responsible for and not responsible for and asking for God to use his strength through us to overcome them. It was beautiful and powerful. Call me crazy but I feel a shift. A small shift... and I know that it will take dedication, commitment, focus, and continuos growth to make a trillion more small shifts. And this, I am ready for!
This week was an interesting read. The whole chapter was dedicated to men’s common insecurities, showing us, that as women, although we have very real insecurities, often around men, we are not alone. Men are human beings too, and they suffer from the same types of real and raw insecurities as women, if even they sometimes look different, especially in terms of expression. Which on a side note, most men tend to withdrawal when facing insecurities, whereby women tend to cling. This can be powerful knowledge when learning to better communicate in a relationship around insecurities. Also, the two most common insecurities men face that Beth points out, based on her research, are fear of failing to provide, and fear of failure to prove himself a man.
Beth also pointed out two common flawed ways women view men and how this effects our ability to relate fairly. Too often, as women, we either adore them or abhor them, to an unhealthy extreme. We either place them on too high a pedestal idealizing them as the solution to all of our problems, or we develop a cynical and negative view of them almost vilifying them. Often one of these occurs because of our past experiences with them. Either situation is not real, nor fairly justified, or fair. As we learn in this chapter, and throughout many biblical references, we are all simply human, both men and women, real, flawed, perfectly imperfect and equals.
This week we are asked to consider the flawed ways we have viewed men and some specific men in our lives that have played a significant role in shaping this attitude toward men in general. Ouch. So truth be said, more often than not I would say I have leaned more toward the side of abhorring men. However, with that said, I realize how because of some not great experiences I have had with men in my life that have left me with a not so great taste in my mouth, I also have found myself on the other side of the spectrum, adoring ones that may come into my world that seem so just stunning in comparison to what I have otherwise known most of my life. Therefore, I end up adoring them and putting them on a pedestal. So yes, I have had experience with both sides of the coin, directly related. On any account, it is not fair or healthy. What I realize is that it is not fair to put that much power in the hands of any one person, not positive or negative - both are unhealthy. To give someone so much power as to vilify them and allow them to have that much power over how I feel, react, or my level of insecurity is not giving my attention to God, whom of which is the only one I should give power over myself. Flip side, it is unfair and unjust to adore someone so much as to place them on a pedestal for two reasons. 1. again, only it should be God that is thought as above, and 2. it is unfair to the person themselves because it is too much pressure for any single person to handle, too much responsibility to live up to.
The request in our journaling this week is to think of the specific men who have played significant roles in my life and my attitude toward men, for the sake of respecting their privacy I am choosing to not outwardly express any further details regarding my experience with these situations, or to specify my experience with any specific men in my past or present. It is one thing if I choose to publicly write and share my stories, it is another situation if I, without permission, write about someone else. I will; however, in private, really meditate on this question and think of who in my life has played a big role and how. I strongly encourage you to do the same. Remember, this is not to dwell on, but to learn from and grow. Knowledge is power and truth can set you free. If we can assess the truth about how we feel mostly toward the opposite gender, and then determine the root causes of these feelings, we are then able to grow from them and move away from them, and most importantly move closer to God and our desire to only need his approval, knowing we are and always will be secure in his love and acceptance.
Just wanted to share a verse from the bible that stood out in our readings this week (which on a side note - also coincided perfect with the message from God that we heard this week @ Spring Hill Church - regarding setting our focus on above instead of on ourselves):
1 Do you see what this means - all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running - and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. 2 Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed - that exhilarating finish in and with God - he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.