OUT of INsecurity

OUT of INsecurity 14: Cupcakes for the Soul

OUT of INsecurity 14: Cupcakes for the Soul

Sprinkles Cupcake Tower I woke this morning dreaming of cupcakes…big, delicious ones with thick frosting and cream filling. You know the kind.

My mind must have conjured up that goodness after reading the history of Sprinkles Cupcakes for the first time. Add a sermon about a man asking for bread and there you go–carbs in the night.

What I loved about the Sprinkles story is that a big part of starting the company for founder Candace Nelson was just to bring joy to others.

And what I loved about the sermon is that my amazing pastor Mark Schatzman spoke about prayer and right in the middle of his words a new lightbulb went off in my heart about bringing joy to others too.

Mark shared about a parable Jesus tells in Luke. Basically, a guy has a friend come to town and unexpectedly and has nothing to feed him. So he goes to his neighbor and asks for bread.

At first, the neighbor whines about it being late at night but the guy keeps on banging and eventually gets the bread. The whole point of the parable is that if a cranky neighbor will give you bread when you ask then how much more will the God who deeply loves you?

What I saw differently this time is that the guy was asking for bread for someone else. And he says three little words that caught me by surprise, "I have nothing."

Insecurity prompts us to say those words too. Yes?

But having nothing doesn't stop this man. It only provides a reason to make a request.

What if we responded that way too?

Someone needs bread–perhaps physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Yet we feel we have nothing to offer. (And, really, apart from Christ that's true.) But we aren't apart from Him, ever. And we have limitless access to all of His resources.

So God invites us to ask for break on behalf of each other. And to ask boldly, persistently.

"Give us this day our daily bread" goes the line in the Lord' prayer.

What if that bread isn't just for us?

What if it's for someone else too?

Amazing news…all we have to do is ask.

And, girls, I've decided I'm not just asking for any ol' bread if I'm talking to the limitless God of the universe. I'm doing a little dreaming and asking for cupcakes to pass around (aka joy)…big, delicious ones with pink frosting and cream filling. You know the kind.

 

When I planned this series, I didn't know about Beth Moore's new book, So Long, Insecurity, You've Been A Bad Friend to Us. Everything she does is excellent and I highly recommend it as well as her blog!

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OUT of INsecurity 12: Psst…I’ve got a secret

OUT of INsecurity 12: Psst…I’ve got a secret

Barefoot photo by D Sharon Pruitt (flickr) It’s the Last Supper.

Jesus is headed to the cross.

But first He washes His disciple’s feet…

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet. John 13:3-5

Did you catch that first line? Jesus was secure in who He was and whose He was and that enabled Him to freely serve.

There’s a myth that goes something like this, “Security will make you selfish.” We fear becoming prideful, forgetting others, pursuing our own agendas.

But here's the secret Jesus shows us…

Security leads to service.

Insecurity does just what it sounds like, turns us inward. We focus on ourselves, our appearance, our house, our talents, our…

This is hurting me to write, girls, ugh.

Because I imagine you’re like me and you really want to do all you can to help, serve, be humble.

If so, then we need to be secure, confident, assured that we’re loved. 

You won’t become prideful, I promise.

I know, I’ve worried about that too.

But pride is really just another form of insecurity. It’s an effort to puff ourselves up so we seem bigger (and therefore are safer).

If we want to become more unselfish, then we've got to believe what God says about us.

Because when we do, we’ll be able to stop looking inward and instead focus outwardly on Him and others.

Is this scary to you? Good grief, I feel like I’m going to hyperventilate.

But we’ll be okay. We’re just scared because we’ve never thought about things this way before, it’s unfamiliar territory.

And what’s unknown is always scary.

But as we practice this, lean into God’s love, ask Him to show us a new way of living, that fear will go away, I promise. And what’s even better, He promises.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

(sounds a lot like security to me)

I’m ready to take the risk of thinking about all of this differently…will you try it with me?

 

* When I planned this series, I didn't know about Beth Moore's new book, So Long, Insecurity, You've Been A Bad Friend to Us. Everything she does is excellent and I highly recommend it as well as her blog!

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OUT of INsecurity 11: You’re Queen of the Tightrope

OUT of INsecurity 11: You’re Queen of the Tightrope

Tightrope photo by jonfeinstein (flickr) My husband and I were talking the other day and I said, “I’m more afraid of success than failure.”

He looked at my quizzically and asked, “What do you mean?

I said, “Well, I guess I see life as a little like a tightrope. Every time you have success, your tightrope gets raised a little higher. There’s farther to fall.”

We hear a lot about the fear of failure but not much about the fear of success. For one thing, it’s easier to hide. All you have to do is claim you’re being “humble” by staying out of the spotlight and you’re off the hook. Not that I’ve ever done that, ahem.

But what if God wants us in that spotlight? Walking the high tightrope? Living that dream we've carried around inside for so long? What if?

Insecurity keeps us low to the ground.

And sometimes that’s where God wants us to be (although not from insecurity).

But not always.

It comes down to this—we’re His servants and that means He gets to use us as little or as much as He wants.

In other words, God picks the height of the tightrope.

Our role is to take a deep breath, face our fears, and take steps of obedience.

And God’s role?

Well, that’s the good news…

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. Psalm 55:22

The tightrope isn’t so scary after all.

It can even be fun

Especially when you know Who is holding the net.

How can we get over our fear of life's heights?

* When I planned this series, I didn't know about Beth Moore's new book, So Long, Insecurity, You've Been A Bad Friend to Us. Everything she does is excellent and I highly recommend it as well as her blog!

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OUT of INsecurity 10: Hide and Seek for Your Heart

OUT of INsecurity 10: Hide and Seek for Your Heart

Child Asleep in Flowers photo by D Sharon Pruitt (flickr) Adam and Eve fall, then hide.

But God doesn’t let them stay there.

He finds them again. 

Hide and Seek.

Our hearts have been playing that game ever since.

Every kid has their favorite hiding places. Mine were under my brother’s bunk bend, behind an old chair in the garage, and in the laundry basket (how I fit in there, I’ll never know).

What were yours?

At first hiding was fun. But at some point, I just wanted someone to come get me.

As a child, I hid physically. As an adult, I’m more like Adam and Eve. My insecurity makes me hide emotionally. God asks my heart, “Why are you hiding?”

On any given day, the answer varies.

But His response is always the same…to call me back to confidence in Him, remind me of who I am, bring me back into the light of His love.

God seems to prefer Seek and Find.

You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. Jer. 29:13 

Here's how it works: We come out of hiding and then we’re free to pursue His heart, chase His will, freely follow His path for our lives.

As a child playing hide and seek, I remember one person would eventually yell, “Olly olly oxen free!”

I still have no idea what that means (anyone?) but it seems God makes the same declaration to our hearts…it’s safe to come out of hiding.

In the game of life, we’re free, loved, found forever.

* When I planned this series, I didn't know about Beth Moore's new book, So Long, Insecurity, You've Been A Bad Friend to Us. Everything she does is excellent and I highly recommend it as well as her blog!

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OUT of INsecurity 8: The Ratty-Tatty Blanket

OUT of INsecurity 8: The Ratty-Tatty Blanket

Neigh-Night photo by meddygarnet (flickr) My little brother carried around one particular blanket as a child. It became ragged, worn, and eventually had so many knots in it that it looked more like a rope. We called it his "security blanket."

He's long since outgrown that little blanket and has become quite the tough guy. I, on the other hand, still have an "insecurity blanket" I carry around with me much of the time.

My blanket is invisible, of course, but if you could see it I imagine it would be worn out from use much like the other one.

When children are scared or stressed, they often reach for their favorite blanket to get some comfort. As I thought about that, I realized the "insecurity blanket" in my life works in much the same way.

My insecurity is often the way I cope. I worry, fret, run familiar lies through my mind. Helpful? Not really. Soothing because it's familiar? Yep.

As I thought and prayed about this the other day, I felt like God challenged me to consider what I should really be holding onto in those times. You see, if my hands and heart are wrapped around insecurity then they're not clinging to Him.

Um, ouch.

Past that little heart-pinch of conviction, I realized what a beautiful thing this is for us. The God of the universe invites us to come to Him, cling to Him, take hold of Him whenever we're stressed, discouraged, tired, lonely, afraid. He loves us deeply and accepts us completely.

There is power in reaching out for Him, the One who is always reaching out for us. I think of the woman in the gospels who had a disease for many years. She only had to touch the hem of Christ's garment and she instantly found healing. And He offers us much more than just His hem. As His children, we can fully embrace our Heavenly Father.

Insecurity soothes us in the moment…but it can't heal our souls. Only God can.

I don't remember how my brother finally gave up his blanket. I do know it would have been a little awkward if he hung onto it. I can just see it with him on his first day of school, wedding day, job interviews. Confession: As his big sister, imagining this is making me snicker a bit. 

But hanging on to "my insecurity blanket" would be even more silly. So perhaps it's time for us to lay down our "blankets" too. Then our hands will be open to take hold of the One who offers us true security.

What do you think, girls? Have we outgrown our "insecurity blankets"?

 

* When I planned this series, I didn't know about Beth Moore's new book, So Long, Insecurity, You've Been A Bad Friend to Us. Everything she does is excellent and I highly recommend it as well as her blog!

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OUT of INsecurity 7: Starting an Encouragement Journal

OUT of INsecurity 7: Starting an Encouragement Journal

Shells photo by Ollie Crafoord (flickr) As I write this, I'm looking at the beach. People stroll along the shore and occasionally bend to pick up a shell. I think of how I walk thought life much like those tourists, collecting words as I go.

The only trouble is, I tend to pick up words that hurt–the ones with sharp edges and rough places–and carry them with me. I often overlook those that are beautiful and encouraging.

I imagine I'm not the only one.

A few years ago, I felt like God was impressing on my heart to change the kind of words I collected.

So I started an Encouragement Journal. I recorded kind words, blessings, or what God spoke to my heart in love.

At first it felt awkward and silly. Then I reread it at the end of the year and realized I'd forgotten about 90% of it.

I could recall the negative words from the year with crystal clear clarity. But somehow the positive faded from memory. After that, I was hooked.

I change the title of my journal every year. This time it's a file on my laptop that reads, "God is so good to me!" (I like having it on my computer because I often copy and paste from e-mails or your comments.)

My Encouragement Journal has become a spiritual discipline. I once worried that it would make me prideful. But the opposite is true. Rereading it, I usually end with happy tears and a humbled heart full of gratitude to God and those who have blessed me.

It's a record of His faithfulness…and my best guard against insecurity.

If you'd like to have an Encouragement Journal too, here's a simple guide…

ENCOURAGEMENT JOURNAL

1) Decide if you'd like for it to be physical or digital. Find a notebook/journal or start a new file on your computer.

2) Think about how often you'd like to write in it. It can be daily, weekly, or even monthly.

3) Choose the format. I've used paragraphs, bullet points, and numbered lists at different times.

4) Set the amount. You can write as much as you want or choose a specific number. This year I'm trying to write down three things a day.

5) Pick a time when you'll write. I'm a night owl so I like to do this to close out my day. But you can choose whatever works best for you.

6) Review your journal often, especially on tough days.

 

For more inspiration about recording blessings, visit Ann Voskamp from A Holy Experience and see her Gratitude Community. I especially love this article she wrote for (in)courage called, "The Real Joy Secret."

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I can do all things through Christ bracelet from DaySpring TODAY'S QUESTION: If you had an Encouragement Journal, what's one little thing you would write in it today?

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OUT of INsecurity 6: Ugly Truffles

OUT of INsecurity 6: Ugly Truffles

Chocolates photo by ricardo.martins (flickr) Valentine's Day is not far behind us and I'm sure Christmas is just around the corner. So I’m not going to waste time making excuses, I’ll just come right out and say it…

Y’all, I am terrible at holidays.

Decorating makes me hyperventilate.

My gift-selection skills are challenged.

I can’t sing worth a hoot.

My one redeeming quality is that I can make some serious treats. Yes, ma’am.

So a few years ago I got a truffle recipe from a friend. It involves a package of Oreos, cream cheese, and melted chocolate.

Eazy-peazy, I thought.

So I slaved away in the kitchen making my confections, imagining that I would soon get a phone call that went something like this, “What, Martha? Did you say you’d like to have me in the studio tomorrow? Well, I already booked with Rachel. Maybe next year.”

Needless to say, the phone did not ring and it’s a good thing because when I got done…

Those were the ugliest truffles EVER.

Horrified, I determined in my heart that I would sneak them onto the “free food” table at work and no one would be any wiser.

Alone in my shame at my desk the next day, I heard an excited group of ladies talking outside of my area…

I don’t know who made them! We’ve been trying to find out all day!

Yes, they’re amazing. I’ve just got to get the recipe for those truffles.

Say what?!?

Turns out my ugly truffles were a hit. I decided to out myself to the shock and delight of my coworkers.

As I sat back down at my desk, it seemed God whispered, “This isn’t just about the truffles.”

And I thought about how I do the same thing with other areas of my life…

When parts of my heart or life don’t measure up to my expectations I tend to hide them. But what if someone would be blessed by what I have to share and they miss out because I hide it?

I’m thinking most of you are Holiday Queens who are far superior to me in making all the seasons of the year bright. But maybe, just maybe, you’ve got a little bit of the “ugly truffle complex” going on somewhere in your life too.

By that I mean there’s some part of you that God has said is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139) but you’re just not quite sure about that yet.

Women seem to be pretty good at agreeing with God unless he’s talking nice about us. Can I get an ‘amen’?

Let's put all we’ve got on the table for Him and share it with our whole hearts. I may never be hot stuff when it comes to holidays, but with God's help I hope I can get a little better this year at living in the truth.

What do you think, girls?

* This was first posted on (in)courage. I'm on vacation this week and our series made me think of it again so I wanted to share it with you!

 

p.s. I know you just kept reading in the hopes of getting that recipe. So let's all say "thank you" to my friend Jennifer for giving it to me. Her truffles turn out lovely—like the ones in the photo above—but we won’t hold that against her.  ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

SIMPLE OREO TRUFFLES

16 oz package of Oreos

8 oz package cream cheese, softened

16 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted

Directions

Completely crush Oreos and place in a bowl. Add cream cheese. Mix until blended. Roll cookie mixture into 1-inch balls. Dip in chocolate and place on wax paper to cool. Decorate truffles as desired.

Refrigerate until firm, about one hour. Eat them all. Or refrigerate again.

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OUT of INsecurity 5: I have a confession…

OUT of INsecurity 5: I have a confession…

Actually, I have lots of confessions but let’s stick with one for this post.

I’m intimidated by you.

Boots by A Whisper of Unremitting Demand 

And by you, I mean women.

Put me in a room of my peers and it won’t be long before my hands are sweaty and I’m shaking in my boots (yes, the cute ones I bought from TJ Maxx in the hopes they’d somehow hypnotize everyone into liking me—you know what I’m talking about).

It got so bad I even took drastic measures a few summers ago.

Disclaimer: there is some serious dorkiness coming in the next few sentences. If you’re offended by that you should stop reading now.

I went to the library and I checked out all the social skills books. The ones like, “How to Have Friends and Influence People without Relying on Your TJ Maxx Boots.” And I read all of them. I know—don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Through my ambitious pursuit of coolness, I discovered that my insecurities came from a much deeper place than an inability to make coherent small talk at times. What I thought might be some sort of social ailment turned out to be a spiritual one.

Inside a voice whispered, “You’re not enough.” Depending on the day, an extra word might be thrown into that sentence—

You’re not pretty enough.

You’re not outgoing enough.

You’re not likeable enough.

So I kept spinning my wheels on an endless treadmill. I’d make progress in one area only to realize I had miles to go in another.

Exhausted, I finally began pondering and praying.

“Lord,” I asked, “Why do women feel as if we’re not enough?”

It seemed I heard a whisper in response, “Because they’re not.”

For a moment I thought I had some holy static happening.

"Excuse me, God, it sounded like you said, ‘We’re not enough.’ Could you repeat that pretty please?”

Again, gently and firmly, “You are not enough.”

By then I started thinking perhaps my heart had dialed the wrong number and the devil was on the line.

But in that pause it seemed God finished the sentence, “You are not enough…in me you are so much more.”

We are much more than pretty…we are wonderfully made.

We are much more than likeable…we are deeply loved.

We are much more than okay…we are daughters of the King. '

I think the enemy tricks us into believing we are not enough because he knows if we discover the truth we’ll be unstoppable.

If you’ve embraced that lie like I did then together we can start trading it for the truth…

We are chosen, cherished, created women who have all we need to fulfill God’s plans for our lives. He has made us just as He wants us to be. We have something to offer that no one else can bring…and the world is waiting.

Girls, let’s stop shaking in our boots and instead start standing tall for Him together.

I can’t do it alone—are you with me?

*This was first posted on (in)courage and I wanted to share it with you here too.

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OUT of INsecurity 4: We’re braver than we think we are…

OUT of INsecurity 4: We’re braver than we think we are…

Joie photo by A Whisper of Unremitting Demand (flickr) To start from part one, click here.

Halfway through Beth Moore's book, So Long, Insecurity, You've Been a Bad Friend to Us, her words stopped me right in the middle of the page. She's talking about the Proverbs 31 woman and says…

You've probably more commonly heard her called "the virtuous woman" or "the woman of noble character." I wholeheartedly want to be a virtuous woman and possess noble character, but in reality, the Hebrew term is most often used to convey valor.

In fact, the same word is translated "mighty" in God's reference to Gideon in Judges 6:12: "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior."

The first synonym on the list for valor is courage.

When I read that, I almost cried with joy.

But then I wondered, what about the other verse we typically hear spoken to women?

Clothe yourselves with the unfading beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gently and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 1 Peter 3:4

How does that relate to courage? After all, "gentle and quiet" often seems to get interpreted by the church as more along the lines of being timid and insecure.

So I kept reading and sure enough, it's right there a few verses below…

Do what is right without fear (v. 6)

It's not about temperament; it's about trust (v. 5). It's not about calm; it's about confidence in God. We can face a storm, fight a battle, or speak boldly all with a gentle and quiet spirit. As David, a mighty king and fierce warrior said…

I have stilled and quieted my soul. Psalm 131:2

No wonder the enemy tries to make insecurity look godly.

If we fully grasped our identity, we'd be unstoppable.

Let's get out there and be courageous, girls.

The Lord is with us, mighty women of valor.

* When I planned this series, I didn't know about Beth Moore's new book, So Long, Insecurity, You've Been A Bad Friend to Us. Everything she does is excellent and I highly recommend it as well as her blog!

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I can do all things through Christ bracelet from DaySpring TODAY'S QUESTION: What were you told about being a "good Christian girl"? Is it true?

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