OUT of INsecurity

Good News about YOU

Good News about YOU

Dear Friend, The other night I stayed up too late, curled under my covers with a book in hand. It spoke of things that made me take deep breaths and let them out slowly with relief. It spoke of...

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OUT of INsecurity 21: Eve’s Daughters

OUT of INsecurity 21: Eve’s Daughters

Strong Woman photo by D Sharon Pruitt (flickr) It's the final day of our series.

I wanted to arrive on this day free of insecurity for good. But I don't think that's the way it works after all.

We are Eve's daughters…powerful, beautiful, a threat to the enemy and a treasure to the Kingdom.

That means as long as we have breath, we will hear the question hissed in the Garden, "Did God really say?"

I used to think that question was a sign I didn't have enough faith. I was weak.

Now I hear it for what it is…the sound of battle.

And I can respond, as Jesus did to His temptation in the wilderness, with truth. His Word is our protection and weapon.

We are warriors, called to fight, stronger than we know, loved more deeply than we've ever dared to dream.

Insecurity will call our name again, you can be sure.

But now we'll be more ready to answer.

And we can face it together.

With Him, with each other, victory is sure.

 

To remind us of who we are in Christ, a Heart to Heart with Holley reader has offered a special giveaway to you! Jan is letting the winner choose one of her amazing bracelets. To see them all, visit her site.

Loved Unconditionally

To enter, leave a comment sharing one thing you learned from this series by midnight on Sunday!

Congratulations to Myra at My Blessed Life for winning the $25 to DaySpring.com from last week's giveaway (remember all of you can get 20% off with my friends and family code, holley 20)!

Thank you so much for sharing this journey with me!

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OUT of INsecurity 20: The chart that changed my life…

OUT of INsecurity 20: The chart that changed my life…

Several years ago I sat in a counselor's office. I talked of anxiety, depression, never feeling good enough. She listened patiently, nodded a few times, then began scribbling on the notepad in front of her.

She held up a chart that looked a lot like this…Chart

Then she said, "Holley, the red line represents your expectations of yourself and life in general. The other line represents your efforts and what you actually experience. You have such high expectations that it doesn't matter how hard you try or what happens, it's not going to be good enough.

Get rid of your expectations."

Now, telling me to get rid of my expectations was a lot like telling me to stop eating chocolate or quit going to TJ Maxx. I was quite attached to them.

But the rest of the week, I couldn't get that little chart out of my mind.

And I realized…

Expectations are just my version of the way things should be.

I tend to make them a lot more important than they really are. I tell myself that my expectations are how it has to be, how God wants it to be, how it must be for the world not to end.

But really, none of that is true.

When I heard Jackie Kendall speak about contentment, she said that she recalibrates her expectations often. She figures that 5 is average and so instead of expecting a 10, she lowers that to a 5. Then if it's more, she's pleasantly surprised. And if it's less, she's not too upset.

I've been trying this too and, y'all, it really does help.

Now I've got to say that for a perfectionist, 5 is not settling…it's just getting it into the normal realm of what might actually be possible. It drops that red line down a few notches.

So we can start there.

AND THEN the real healing comes when we not only get a grip on our expectations but then hand them off to God.

Confession: This is the part that's still really tough for me.

For example, I'm facing a situation in which I really want an answer. Right now.

But God keeps whispering to my heart…surrender.

So I'm learning (slowly) that instead of having expectations of ourselves or a situation, real security comes from placing our expectations in the One who loves us.

When we do, the results are off the charts.

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OUT of INsecurity 19: From my bookshelf…(part two)

OUT of INsecurity 19: From my bookshelf…(part two)

I took a look in my little personal library and found eight books that have helped me with insecurity so I wanted to share them with you. I posted the first four yesterday and here are the rest…

Before we get started, I've just got to jump in with a little bit of breaking news–I'm officially a licensed counselor (LAC). Woo-hoo! Thanks so much for all your wonderful support. (:

Beautiful If the question, "Do you think I'm beautiful?" came attached to my soul, then maybe the answer wasn't ever meant to fully come from this world. Maybe the purpose of the question is to take me by the hand and walk me into the presence of the Creator.

My soul cries out and asks the questions meant to lead me to God. Maybe all that really matters is what He thinks of me.

Have you ever heard your heart cry, "Do you think I'm beautiful?" Then let these words embrace you with their truth: The king is enthralled by your beauty (Psalm 45:11).

– Angela Thomas, Do You Think I'm Beautiful?

Insecurity This, beloved, is our challenge.

To let the healthy, utterly whole, and completely secure part of us increasingly overtake our earthen vessels until it drives our every emotion, reaction, and relationship.

When we allow God's truth to eclipse every false positive and let our eyes spring open to the treasure we have, there in His glorious reflection we'll also see the treasure we are. And the beauty of the Lord our God will be upon us (Psalm 90:17).

– Beth Moore, So Long, Insecurity

The Search for Significance We do not have to be successful or pleasing to others to have a healthy sense of self-esteem and worth. That worth has freely and conclusively been given to us by God.

Failure and/or the disapproval of others can't take it away! Therefore we can conclude, It would be nice to be approved by my parents (or whomever), but if they don't approve of me, I'm still loved and accepted by God.

Do you see the difference? The have-to mentality is sheer slavery to performance and the opinions of others, but we are secure and free in Christ.

– Robert S. McGee, The Search for Significance

Imprefection God offers you and me an ongoing yes to life….He encourages us to live in the midst of our less-than-perfect reality with Jesus as our companion, teacher, soul mate, savior and friend. In every life role, Jesus invites us to live freely and lightly, even though we dwell in a relentless age of over-the-top expectations:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me–watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rythms of grace. (Matthew 11:28-29 msg)

– Joan C. Webb, The Relief of Imperfection

What would you add to the list?

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OUT of INsecurity 17: The keys to your heart…

OUT of INsecurity 17: The keys to your heart…

The Key to My Heart photo by 1Happysnapper (flickr) Lord, you are my security.

I don’t have to seek my worth from others because you freely give it to me. You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. Psalm 18:35

I will remember that you are my fortress and my heart is safe in you. I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. Psalm 59:16

My confidence cannot be shaken because you are the one who gives it to me. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:2

I don’t have to build my worth the way the world says I do, I can build it on you. He lifted me out of the slimy pit…he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2

When I’m struggling with who I am or what I need to do, I will let you lift me up.  I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2

Protect my head and heart from the lies of the enemy and give me victory in you. I say to you, “You are my God”…who shields my head in the day of battle. Psalm 140:6-7

I don’t have to fear what people think because I know who I am in you. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

I praise you because security in you leads to joy and life to the full. I receive that from you! But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Psalm 5:11

Printable Version: Download MY KEYS TO SECURITY

 

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OUT of INsecurity 16: Come on in, the water is fine…

OUT of INsecurity 16: Come on in, the water is fine…

Swimmer photo by evoo73 (flickr) I'm a swimmer.

For seven years I spent time in a pool almost every day.

And then I stopped.

I don't even remember why.

I'm sure life got busy…there were friends to hang out with, boys to giggle about, and places to go.

Recently my husband mentioned training for a mini-triathlon and I agreed. The other night we went to the pool and I swam laps like I'd never missed a day.

I loved it all again…the quiet swoosh of the water, finding the right moment to breathe, the uneasy grace of a flip-turn.

I'd felt sad earlier that day. But after I swam, I was happy again. Giddy, almost.

On the way home I talked about summers at the pool with friends, swim meets, days I hadn't thought of in years. I drifted off to sleep with the scent of chlorine on my pillow and a smile on my face. And I felt secure.

Why? How in the world could swimming help?

This question brought back one of my favorite passages from The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. In this letter a senior demon is reprimanding a junior one for not tripping up the man to whom he's assigned…

Screwtape Letters And now for your blunders. On your own showing you first of all allowed the patient to read a book he really enjoyed, because he enjoyed it and not in order to make clever remarks about it to his new friends. In the second place, you allowed him to walk down to the old mill and have tea there–a walk through country he really likes, and taken alone. In other words you allowed him two real positive Pleasures….

I would make it a rule to eridicate from my patient any strong personal taste which is not actually a sin, even if it is something quite trivial such as a fondness for county cricket or collecting stamps or drinking cocoa. Such things, I grant you, have nothing of virtue in them: but there is a sort of innocence and humility and forgetfulness about them which I distrust.

Sometimes forgetting ourselves is the first step to remembering what (and Who) matters most. Childlike faith, the most self-forgetful kind of all, is so much about joy.

And when we open ourselves to joy, God is likely to walk through (or dive in!) when we least expect Him.

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OUT of INsecurity 15: Find Your Strongest Life

OUT of INsecurity 15: Find Your Strongest Life

Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham "Because you neglect the specific moments that strengthen you, your life gradually becomes filled up with a grab bag of activities and responsibilities….You start to feel empty.

Aware of these feelings if emptiness but unaware of their source, you take on yet more responsibilities in the hope that by doing more, you will feel more.

These new responsibilities overwhelm your senses. Moment by moment, you feel not more, but less–less resilient, less fulfilled, less strong….

Down the spiral twists, with your days filling up and your life emptying out."

– Marcus Buckingham,

Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently

I've never experienced what Marcus described. Ahem.

I wrapped up this book recently and found it really helpful. I especially appreciated Marcus's definition of strength and weakness.

A weakness is just like what it sounds…something that makes us feel weaker. And here's the kicker: That's true even if you're good at it. Just because we can (and everyone really wants us to) doesn't mean we should.

A strength does just the opposite…builds us up, lights a fire within, fuels us for God's purposes.

As an exercise, Marcus recommends placing a "W" for "weakness" or an "S" for strength next to each activity in your life. I gave it a try and on the first day I ended up with way too many Ws. 

Sometimes you've just gotta do what you've gotta do. But Marcus's point is that we should move toward our God-given strengths and away from our weaknesses as much as possible.  

There's a free and quick online test that goes with the book (I'll give the link to you in a minute). It tells you what your primary and supporting roles are based on your strengths. Mine are Creator (primary) and Caretaker (supporting).

I needed to be reminded of that–I thrive when I'm creative and fizzle when I'm not. And God made me that way. And "when He saw all that He made, it was very good" (Genesis 1:31). That means me, you, us.

When I live in my God-given strengths and seek "S" moments that let me live them out, it's strange how insecurity isn't an issue anymore. It evaporates. I'm not aware of time passing, of people analyzing, of anything but the joy of being who God made me to be.

I'm curious…What are some of your "S" moments?

And, if you'd like, go to www.stronglifetest.com to take the quiz and come back here to tell us your roles!

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