Monday, August 29, 2011

Just in case my insecurity actually came across as lack of interest...

I was working on my So Long, Insecurity homework this afternoon when I came across the question:
"Has insecurity ever robbed you of what could have been a rich friendship with another woman?"
And I was reminded of a post that I wrote on 11/8/08.  It was long before Beth Moore ever mentioned--or even wrote--her book on insecurity, but I feel that it is totally relevant to what we will be discussing in our small group tomorrow.  I hope it gives you some insight into the reality of how insecurity can affect our friendships even when we don't recognize it!  Thank God, I am reconciled to this dear sister!

Saturday, November 8, 2008
Fruit of the Spirit: Partly Inspired By Your Blog...

"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and
there remember that your brother has something against you,

leave your gift there in front of the altar.
First go and be reconciled to your brother;
then come and offer your gift."
Matthew 5:23-24 NIV

What if you were a "stumbling block"... and didn't know it? How can you "go and be reconciled"?

On October 20th, I completed the last day of homework on the study of patience of The Fruit of the Spirit.  Beth Moore ensured that we were well aware of the Greek word makrothumia which is the quality of patience found in the fruit of the Spirit. "The word means 'long-suffering in respect to persons' and is inspired by mercy. Mercy is fueled by forgiveness..."

She encouraged us to ask the Lord to "reveal the names of any whose hearts are hindered because of us" so that "fruit would result." I wrote a quick prayer in the margin. ... help others forgive me so that they can bear fruit!

Of course, I forgot about my little prayer. Until the other day...

On October 22nd, one of the gals I volunteer with shared that she had been weepy that day. Due to circumstances we could not finish our conversation. On the way home, I kept reminding myself to follow-up with an e-mail offering a compassionate listening ear if she was so inclined.

On the 23rd I did send the e-mail... and on the 24th... the Lord answered my prayer...

Here are a few excerpts from the e-mail I received from this dear sister... with her permission...
Please know that I’m not in any way trying to infer that you have caused me pain or problems. I just sense I’m supposed to break down some walls that keep me held back and laying myself out there seems to be the next step. My honesty is partly inspired by your blog, too btw.

...and I’ve spent time wondering, off and on (ok, pretty much whenever I have run into you, or something random brings you to mind, which is often enough to be called ‘regularly’) what exactly happened. So here I am pouring all this out, knowing that you may be feeling totally on the spot, as if you need to now reassure me of this or that. I hate that thought. So why am I going to push ‘send’? It comes down to 1) I just feel I was supposed to share without any expectation, 2) I believe I can count on you to be honest and 3) Just in case my insecurity actually came across as lack of interest, I wanted to let you know that was not the case.
And some excerpts from my response...
First and foremost... I treasure you! Thank you for trusting me with your honesty. All I can say is... "Wow!" I remember how we used to get together when you first moved here... we were building our friendship... and then something happened... and it was if we could not go back. Yes, unknowingly I did interpret your insecurity as lack of interest in our friendship.

And so Wednesday night when you were talking I felt a little jump in my spirit... maybe this is why I am here... for you. But I realize now... it is for me. I am sorry for the years we have been apart, but perhaps God had a reason in it all. Now, we can move ahead in honesty... and in security.

I am so sorry that I have brought you pain. I am so glad that you are such a strong woman... to risk it all... and put it on the line... and that we can trust God to bring healing to each of us individually and together.

I love you, sister!

And so, my dear sisters, I challenge you to pray the prayer... ask God to help others forgive you so that THEY can bear fruit. It may not turn out the way you think it should... but being obedient to the Lord is everything...

Be patient, then, brothers,
until the Lord's coming.
See how the farmer waits for the land
to yield its valuable crop
and how patient he is for
the autumn and spring rains.
James 5:7 NIV
Sisters, let us bear much fruit...

As of Late - August 29th, 2011

 Lately, our family traveled to Arizona.  
And experienced Cathedral Rock in Sedona.

 Lately, we traveled to the Grand Canyon.  
And experienced the majesty of God's sunset.

  Lately, I've learned that being prepared can mean 
all the difference in your successfulness.

 Lately, I've learned that a change in location 
can mean a change in perspective.

Lately, I've learned that the sun can come out 
whenever it pleases.

Lately, I celebrated my 23rd Wedding Anniversary 
with the man I love (and respect!) the very most!

So, what have you been up to... as of late?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Not Just Holy.

...the whole earth is full of his glory

And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; 
the whole earth is full of his glory.” 
Isaiah 6:3 NIV

I love this verse.  As I think of the seraphim crying out to one another.  Praising God.  Almost unable to contain themselves.  Only able to express God as holy, holy, holy.  And I love the beauty behind why they sing that the Lord is holy, holy, holy.  And I love this song.  Especially when our friend Mark Williams sings it at our church...

Not just holy.

Not just holy, holy.

But holy, holy, holy.

Excerpt from The Holiness of God by R. C. Sproul

Here we encounter the crux of Isaiah's vision.  It is the song of the seraphim that reveals the awesome message of this text. "And they were calling to one another:  'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory'" (Isaiah 6:3).  The song is the repetition of a single word--holy.  Three times the word is sung in succession, giving the church its most august anthem.  The song is called the Trisagion, which means simply the "three times holy."

The significance of the repetition of the holy can be easily missed.  It represents a peculiar literary device that is found in Hebrew forms of literature, especially in poetry.  The repetition is a form of emphasis.  When we want to emphasize the importance of something in English, we have several devices from which to choose.  We may underline the important words or print them in italics or boldface type.  We may attach an exclamation point following the words or set them off in quotation marks.  These are all devices to call the reader's attention to something that is especially important.

...On a handful of occasions the Bible repeats something to the third degree.  To mention something three times in succession is to elevate it to the superlative degree, to attach to it emphasis of superimportance... Only once in sacred Scripture is an attribute of God elevated to the third degree.  Only once is a characteristic of mentioned three times in succession.  The Bible says that God is holy, holy, holy.  Not that He is merely holy, or even holy, holy.  He is holy, holy, holy.

I choose Isaiah 6:3 for my Siesta Scripture Memory Verse # 16. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Strength and Dignity

She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.
Proverbs 31:25 NLT

I'm a bit behind on posting my memory verses.  My 14th verse (7/15/11) was Proverbs 31:25.  I choose it because Beth Moore dissects it in Chapter 8 of her book So Long, Insecurity.  And I want to remember what I've learned about overcoming insecurity.  Because overcoming insecurity is a process... and I want some positive triggers in my mind.  Excerpt from Chapter 8:
"...part of any woman's healing from insecurity inevitably involves reclaiming her God-given dignity... 

We have dignity precisely because God Himself gave it to us, His prized creation.  You and I, along with every other human being on the planet, possess dignity because God Himself has it and He created us in His image... 

To possess dignity is to be worthy of respect.  Worthy of high esteem.  Absorb this:  you are worthy of respect.  So am I.  No matter how foolish insecurity has tried to make us feel, we have the right to dignity because God Himself gave it to us.  If we really believed this truth, we wouldn't have to mask our insecurity with pride.  If we knew who we were and what God has conferred upon us, what everybody else thought of us would grow less and less significant... 

Our possession of dignity is not always something we feel.  It's got to be something we know..."
Remember the quote, "God doesn't make junk"?  Well, He doesn't.  We are His workmanship!  (Ephesians 2:10)

My 15th verse (8/1/11)  is 1 Peter 3:1.  I choose it because I realized that I had been focusing a lot (A LOT) on what I should be doing... and not focusing on what God had already done for me.  And I want to praise Him because of it.  He is the One worthy of honor and praise and glory.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In his great mercy 
he has given us new birth into a living hope 
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
1 Peter 3:1 NIV

This post, Our Thoughts Sown Become The Destiny We Own, gives more info on why I am memorizing scripture.  And here are my previous 13 verses.  I need to start practicing out loud.  I'll be looking for someone to quiz me... Anybody going to Houston?

#13 “Delight yourself in the Lord
and he will give you the desires of your heart." 
Psalm 37:4 NIV

#12 “However, each one of you also must love his wife
as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
Ephesians 5:33 NIV

#11 "They all gave out of their wealth;
but she, out of her poverty,
put in everything--all she had to live on."
Mark 12:44 NIV

#10 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, 
baptizing them in the name of the Father 
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..."
Matthew 28:19 NIV

#9 "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: 
that if we ask anything 
according to his will, 
he hears us."
1 John 5:14 

#8 "Judge not, that ye be not judged."
Matthew 7:1 KJV 

#7 "A gentle answer turns away wrath
but a harsh word stirs up anger." 
Proverbs 15:1

#6 “If it is possible, 
as far as it depends on you, 
live at peace with everyone.” 
Romans 12:18 NIV

# 5 "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 
 1 Peter 5:7

# 4 "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault, 
and it will be given to him."
James 1:5 NIV 

# 3 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, 
whenever you face trials of many kinds..." 
James 1:2 NIV

# 2 ...because you know that 
the testing of your faith 
develops perseverance.
James 1:3 NIV  

# 1 Perseverance must finish its work 
so that you may be mature and complete, 
not lacking anything.
James 1:4 NIV

Monday, August 1, 2011

I had found security in my insecurity.

The more we learn about what causes insecurity... the better we can deal with it.  Part of dealing with insecurity has to do with taking the mystery away from it.  What causes insecurity?  Why am I plagued with insecurity in this one area?  Why does this person seem to make me feel more insecure than other people?  The more we realize that there is a cause-effect... the more we can look at what is causing our insecurity... what are our triggers... and we can start to figure out why we respond as we do.  And we can give that over to God. 

Our So Long, Insecurity book discussion small group meets tomorrow.  I'd like to think of our small group as building a bridge together... and getting over our insecurity!

Here are my thoughts on this week's discussion questions from last year:

originally posted on March 2, 2010

Consider how the lilies grow...
photography by Anthony Kaetzel

Perhaps... just perhaps... there are some who think that I do not struggle with insecurity.  When I spoke at our ladies Bible Study two weeks ago, I thought my comfort zone had grown to the size of Texas.  But now... just perhaps... over the weekend... at our ladies retreat... it grew to the size of the United States.  Mind you, I still struggle with insecurity.  But I have found the benefits of being open, vulnerable and even a little "dangerous" to be much greater than the security I had found in my insecurity. Did you get that?  I had found security in my insecurity. 

I am currently reading So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore and I am participating in the So Long, Insecurity Discussion Group on the Living Proof Ministries blog.  I decided to open my blog up to anyone who wanted to post their answers to the discussion group so that we can encourage one another in a somewhat smaller group.  These are my answers to the questions posed for Week Three based on Chapters 5 and 6.

Italics below  indicate that the passage is found in the book So Long, Insecurity.

1. After reading these two chapters, what do you believe to be the TWO primary roots of your struggle with insecurity? Keep in mind that more may apply but try to lock in on two that you believe to be most impactful.

Basically... what happened in your past that might have contributed to your sense of insecurity?
The choices were:  Instability in the Home, A Significant Loss, Rejection, Dramatic Change, Personal Limitations, Personal Disposition, Our Culture, Pride.

The two primary roots of my struggle with insecurity would be:
A. Instability in the Home ~ "The disintegration of a family can jerk the rug of security out from under a couple of generations... No one wants to reflect on times we were abused or misused, but as we take this journey together, look at it this way:  those of us who share this background can rest assured that we didn't conjure up our insecurities out of thin air..."  
Even when you are old, I will be the same. 
Even when your hair has turned gray, 
I will take care of you. 
I made you and will take care of you. 
I will carry you and save you.  
Isiah 46:4 NCV

"If you've lived your life looking for someone to take care of you but always end up taking care of everyone else, your search is over.  God has what you need, and you'll never wear Him out."
B. A Significant Loss:  "It could be the loss of anything that you genuinely prize or derive stability and self-worth from... because of their impact on developing belief systems."  
 For me, it was the loss of innocence.  ~ "Simply put, if you didn't get to be a child when you were young, you suffered a loss of innocence."
 Each heart knows its own bitterness... 
Proverbs 14:10a

2. What, if any, insight did you gain about the roots of insecurity and did you sense that God was trying to speak to you in any specific way through it? (This answer does not need to be limited to the two roots you identified in the previous response.)

A. Even though someone may appear to me to be very secure in all areas of their life, they  still struggle with insecurity in areas that may not be apparent to me.
B. Even though someone struggles with insecurity, it can look very different than my insecurity.
C. How I respond to my insecurity affects my relationship with others... and how they respond to their insecurity affects their relationship with me.
D. My personal disposition predisposes me to insecurity.  "In other words, the more tenderhearted we are, the more vulnerable to insecurity we'll likely be."

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