Monday, February 15, 2010

Review: So Long Insecurity (You've Been a Bad Friend to Us) by Beth Moore

I don't even know where to start talking about this book, but I guess I'll start with talking a little bit about me. Insecurity is by far my biggest enemy. I recognize that, I know that, I've known it since, probably junior high, I hate it, I wish it wasn't so, but I've never been able to take the necessary steps to fully work through it. It has wreaked havoc on my life in ways I'm not comfortable sharing in such an open forum, but rest assured that it has certainly had its way with me. So when I picked up this book, I figured I would like it, because I love Beth Moore and it's dealing with a huge issue in my life.

When I started reading it, I didn't feel I would be able to read it all in one go because it was so uncomfortably true. I read a section, set it down for awhile, and then consumed the majority of the book today as I sat out in the warm sunshine. I cried. I found myself surprised by the realization of JUST HOW MUCH of my life has been driven by my insecurity. I am happy to have read this book, and I hope and pray that I take it to heart. It can be so easy to read these truths and then forget them. But I don't want to forget. I want to win this battle.

I realize that this review which is a bit more of a personal journal might be a bit too much for some of you...feel free to skip it! But because the subject matter and the whole purpose of the book is to help you deal with your insecurity and because this is a book blog, well it's gonna get personal.

Beth Moore is a Christian speaker and writer, I feel I should say that first, so this book is about dealing with your insecurity through your relationship with God. Her whole assertion is that we can be whole and be clothed in dignity and security because of who God is. If you have never read her books or done her studies she has a real gift of communication...of communicating God's love and tenderness towards us. She doesn't deny bad things or tempting sin at all, she never minimizes how hard life is, her central message is that we are created to have loving relationships with God. She does have some conservative theological leanings that might bother some (I don't agree with everything she teaches for example), but she has successfully ministered to women across the Christian experience, she desires unity in the body of Christ and this has always impressed me.

Anyway, she makes many points in this book which I really appreciated. First, she establishes what insecurity is and that pretty much every woman has faced it in different degrees and that if often masks itself as something else. She provides Biblical examples, she shares anonymous stories that people shared on her blog, she examines the roots of insecurity, and then the gold for me is a prayer exercise she has in the middle of the book. I actually wept as I prayed through some of these things and as I tried to dig into the deepest darkest parts of myself. And when I finished I really felt a lot of peace...and hope that maybe I really will be able to fight this.

She also spends considerable time examining the ways men and women deal with insecurity differently. She's very careful to say she's speaking in generalities, but for the most part we are insecure about different things and we usually respond opposite of one another. It's helpful to be aware in relationships to know that this is true.

One point she brings up is that we all have a false positive, the thing we think if it was fixed in our lives would make us secure in all other areas. I really struggled with this, because I feel pretty insecure in a couple of different areas. I think maybe the false positive changes depending on the situation.

And like any good counseling, she brings you to a point where you have to look at what you're really afraid of, since insecurity is mostly driven by fear. If all the bad things you think might happen, happened, would you still come out okay somehow with God?

This book just really hit me where I am right now. I'm turning 30 this year, and it's time I really dealt with this. So very much of what she said rang true for me and it was like having someone peak into the ugly parts of who I am. I'm excited to really apply this and go forth and not be afraid of who God created me to be.

Also, since this is supposed to be a review, I'll say that Beth's writing style is extremely engaging, she's funny, and it's light and easy to read. She is gifted with communication there's no doubt about that.

Rating: 5/5
Things You Might Want to Know: Christian nonfiction
Publisher: Tyndale
Source of Book: Received from publisher for review.

Mad Enough to Change

I’m seriously ticked. And I need to do something about it. Some people eat when they’re about to rupture with emotion. Others throw up. Or jog. Or go to bed. Some have a holy fit. Others stuff it and try to forget it. I can do all those things in sequential order, but I still don’t find relief.

When my soul is inflating until my skin feels like a balloon about to pop, I write. Never longhand, if I can help it. The more emotion I feel, the more I appreciate banging on the keys of a computer. I type by faith and not by sight. My keyboard can attest to the fact that I am a passionate person with an obsession for words: most of the vowels are worn off. The word ticked really should have more vowels. Maybe what I am is peeved. That’s a good one. How about irrationally irritated to oblivion? Let that one wear the vowels off a keyboard.

The thing is, I’m not even sure exactly who I’m ticked at. I’m hoping to find that out as I hack away at these chapters. One thing is for certain. Once I figure it out, I probably won’t keep it to myself. After all, you know how the saying goes: hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. And I’m feeling scorned.

But not just for myself. I’m feeling ticked for the whole mess of us born with a pair of X chromosomes. My whole ministry life is lived out in the blessed chaos of a female cornucopia. I’ve been looking at our gender through the lens of Scripture for twenty-five solid years, and I have pondered over us, taken up for us, laid into us, deliberated over us, prayed about us, lost sleep because of us, cried for us, laughed my head off at us, and gotten offended for us—and by us—more times than I can count. And after a quarter of a century surrounded by girls ranging all the way from kindergarteners to those resting on pale pink liners inside caskets, I’ve come to this loving conclusion: we need help. I need help. Something more than what we’re getting.

The woman I passed a few days ago on the freeway who was bawling her eyes out at the steering wheel of her Nissan needs help. The girl lying about her age in order to get a job in a topless bar needs help. The divorcĂ©e who has loathed herself into fifty extra pounds needs help. For crying out loud, that female rock star I’ve disdained for years needs help. When I read something demeaning her ex said about her recently—something I know would cut any female to the quick—I jumped to her defense like a jackal on a field mouse and seriously wondered how I could contact her agent and offer to mentor her in Bible study.

Several days ago I sat in a tearoom across the table from a gorgeous woman I love dearly. She has been married for three months, and they did all the right things leading up to that sacred ceremony, heightening the anticipation considerably. After an hour or so of musing over marriage, she said to me, “Last weekend he seemed disinterested in me. I’ll be honest with you. It kind of shook me up. I wanted to ask him, ‘So, are you over me now? That quick? That’s it?’”

I’m pretty certain her husband will perk back up, but what a tragedy that she feels like she possesses the shelf life of a video game.

I flashed back to another recent communication with a magazine-cover-beautiful thirty-year-old woman who mentioned—almost in passing—that she has to dress up in costumes in order for her husband to want to make love to her. I’m not knocking her pink-feathered heels, but I wonder if she is paying too much for them. I’m just sad that she can’t feel desirable as herself.

Then yesterday I learned that a darling fifteen-year-old I keep in touch with slept with her boyfriend in a last-ditch effort to hold on to him. He broke up with her anyway. Then he told. It’s all over her high school now.

I’ve got a loved one going through her third divorce. She wants to find a good man in the worst way, and goodness knows they’re out there. The problem is, she keeps marrying the same kind of man.

I’m so ticked.

If these examples were exceptions to the rule, I wouldn’t bother writing, but you and I both know better than that. I hear echoes of fear and desperation from women day in and day out—even if they’re doing their best to muffle the sound with their Coach bags. Oh, who am I kidding? I hear reverberations from my own heart more times than I want to admit. I keep trying to stifle it, but it won’t shut up. Something’s wrong with us for us to value ourselves so little. Our culture has thrown us under the bus. We have a fissure down the spine of our souls and, boy, does it need fixing.

This morning while I was getting ready for church, my cell phone nearly vibrated off the bathroom counter with six incoming texts from a single friend who was having a crisis of heart. I answered her with what little I had to give, even as I grappled with my own issues. I decided that what I needed was a good sermon to keep me from crying off my eyeliner, so I flipped on the television to a terrific local preacher. Lo and behold, the sermon was about what a woman needs from a man.

Deep sigh.

Actually, it was a great message if anyone had a mind to do what he was recommending, but knowing human nature and feeling uncharacteristically cynical, I could feel my frustration mounting. The preacher had done his homework. He offered half a dozen Scripture-based PowerPoint slides with state-of-the-art graphics describing what men should do for women. “Women want to be told that they are captivating. That they’re beautiful. Desirable.”

I won’t deny that. What woman wouldn’t thrive under that kind of steady affirmation?

But here’s my question: What if no one tells us that? Can we still find a way to be okay? Or what if he says it because he’s supposed to, but to be honest, he’s not feeling it? Are we hopeless? What if a man is not captivated by us? What if he doesn’t think we’re particularly beautiful? Or, understandably, maybe just not every day? Are we only secure on his “on” days? What if he loves us but is not quite as captivated by us as he used to be? What if his computer is full of images of what he finds attractive, and we’re light-years from it? What if we’re seventy-five, and every ounce of desirability is long behind us? Can we still feel adequate in our media-driven society?

Adapted from So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore. Copyright © 2010 by Beth Moore. Used with permission from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.


Deborah said...

1) ooooh the elusive 5/5.
2) i CAN'T believe you're turning 30! you don't look it at all!
3) I've never read a Beth Moore book before...

Beth F said...

Any book from any perspective that can help someone is worth the 5/5. You are a very giving, hardworking, and smart young woman. I wish you inner peace.

Annette said...

I bought 2 copies of this book, 1 for my just turned 28 year old daughter in law and 1 copy for me. I recently went to a meeting for Beth's simulcast on Insecurity that will be April 24, over 600 churches in North America are involved in this. One church in my city will be the spot for this area.
I feel like insecurity is an issue that women and even men deal with. My own 87 year old dad is an insecure person--as knowledgeable and wise as he is--still has insecurities. To me insecurities are not just an issue of our feelings about our body image, or abilities, but can be other definitions as well.
I will be talking more about this as I read the book.
Thank you Amy for your review!

Molly said...

I have heard nothing but praise for Beth Moore, but I have not yet had the opportunity to read any of her work. I have suffered from insecurity my entire life and, like you, it is time that I deal with it. I will definitely check this book out soon.

Unknown said...

Thank you for this honest and transparent review. I need to read this book, but I feel like I've pushed it aside because so often, reads like this are "uncomfortable" because of how they "force" you to be honest - if that makes sense. The insecurity of dealing with the insecurity. *sigh* Anyway, thank you - I appreciate this so much! Gonna get a copy of the book asap!

bermudaonion said...

Great review, Amy. I think most women have dealt with insecurity to some degree at some point in their lives. Society just seems so hard on women. I hope this book helps you!

Jen - Devourer of Books said...

I've heard great things about Beth, I'm really going to have to do one of her studies one of these days. This was a really great review, Amy, great to see how the book impacted you.

Kacie said...

I'm waiting till it comes through paperbackswap to me, but really, this is right where I'm at too so I'm also eager to read this!

Beth Kephart said...

Can I just say that when I think of you, I only see the positives.

Heidenkind said...

I think we all can work through our insecurities given enough time. I know there are some things I used to be terrified of, and now I'm like, "That scared me? How silly."

Kelly H-Y said...

Thank you for this review!

Bookfool said...

Excellent review, Amy! I'm still reading this book but I can already tell it's going to get a high rating. Those "false positive" examples are really eye-opening, aren't they?

Kim Allen-Niesen said...

I haven't read Beth Moore, although she has been recommended to me several times, this looks like a good place to start. FYI, I found, and my girlfriends concur, that life after 40 is fabulous in large part because we are more secure and accepting about who we are and who we are not - aging is terrific!

avisannschild said...

Thanks for this great and honest review, Amy. Although I'm not sure the Christian angle would work for me, you've definitely piqued my interest in this book. In the spirit of broadening my horizons, maybe I should give it a try! (I won't go so far as to say I think I'd hate it; on the contrary, I really enjoyed the excerpt.)

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