Notes – Shared w/ Group (Wed 7/28/2010)
Chapter 1 – My favorite line was “3 steps forward and 2 steps back; isn’t that still one step forward”. We often forget to see the positive that even though we’re not making progress at the rate we want to we are still making progress toward our goal.
Chapter 2 – I was struck by how much I saw me described in this chapter from wanting to be non descript and blend into the background instead of like some of you wanting to feel completely put together and stand out. I was also bit by the unrealistic expectations that are bound to hurt us; I could replay that script over and over again.
I know I’m picky and I’m not willing to put much effort into a relationship if they’re not willing to work on it. I think I actually expect them to fail; I remember thinking that with the first child we were together for almost 18 months after he was born, so I figured maybe the second one might make it to 9 months if things go like they did before; we split right at nine months almost to the day; and the last time I wondered how long this would last as well. We weren’t together through the pregnancy and it’s taken him until his son was over 2 years old before he ever even saw him. They’ve seen each other twice in June. We’ve not been together in over 3 years; about the time he discovered I was pregnant and not supporting him and his businesses anymore we went our separate ways. There were 2 last things that struck me in this chapter that insecurity is self-sabotage and/or perfectionism.
Chapter 3 – I guess what I got out of this chapter was that just because we think someone has it “all” whatever that is for each of us; she can still be insecure. I’m not sure what my “all” is. I’ll have to work on it. I can identify it in those around me based on the girlfriend’s conversation examples but I don’t remember having one of those conversations with anyone. If you remember a conversation with me that might provide some insight please feel free to remind me.
Chapter 4 – What I got from this one was this is a problem that has been around a long time. In fact some of the ways that people dealt with it then still happen today.
Chapter 5 – This was probably the easiest chapter to identify with: where does it come from. For me personally I qualify in several areas: Instability in the home (continual fighting and a father who is an untreated bi-polar so we had periods of manic episodes coupled with depressive episodes. There was some low grade abuse in middle school that left bruising but never required medical treatment (I was the son he didn’t have so my arms were often bruised from friendly father/son punches.) My freshman year of high school my mother was ill for several months and bed ridden so I took over all the responsibilities for my 2 younger siblings (7 & 4 yrs old) except driving them places then I accompanied dad and was often mistaken as their mother.
Rejection also resonates with me and is displayed in one of my comments above. I’m not worth… (pg 73) I caught myself saying not long ago in a therapy session. I think the personal disposition one is interesting because my mother says I used to wear my feelings on my sleeve but I don’t anymore. I’ve not discovered what changed that but it just happened in time.
Significant loss: I think this one hit me in two ways. I went to a local elementary school then finished my education middle and high school across town in the magnet program. I still have very few friendships from my childhood. It’s not like what so many people describe in this area as knowing everyone in their town. My family wanted me to have a better education so they shipped me to the better schools but all those very early relationships were lost because of that change. The other loss that happened a little later in my life during my late teen years was the loss of my grandparents on my mother’s side as well as the family friend that had been a grandma too me all throughout my childhood. All of the older/steady influences in my life were suddenly gone within a couple short years; I don’t think those have ever been replaced.
One last thing on the dramatic change piece: this is one I did to my children at a young age. It was our move to Memphis. It had some good things that came out of it. We were much closer as a family; all we had to depend on was each other. We became very involved with a church there, so our faith grew. But we also were robbed within a month of moving and the culture shock for Nathanael and Keondre was tremendous because I moved them from a small town environment to a larger area. For Nathanael he no longer was easily the top of his class; he had to work hard to make the grade. I guess that’s much the same experience I had with my school moves but his was in 3rd grade instead of 6th. It was positive for me because it was proof I could make it on my own in a larger market.
Chapter 6 – This one I’m struggling with a little more. I can see where our culture has an impact but I’m not sure I want to agree that pride is always a bad thing. Having pride in your work is a good thing right?
Shared w/ Group Friday (8/6/2010)
I noticed a couple things on my way back to the office. For one I don’t want anyone to see my reading the book here at the office. I don’t know what that’s about… I guess I figure I work with all men in my department so they’ll think less of me if they see me reading it—that weak woman perhaps or maybe I’m trying not to be found out; that I don’t have it as all together as some might think. J
As far as the physical insecurities, mine is my hair. I’m already going gray and I struggle with that one. It’s not all over but it’s right at the front where you can’t ignore it. I color for awhile then I decide I can just let it go and grow old gracefully. There doesn’t seem to be a happy medium for me there.
I guess as you may have figured out by now I have to think about what’s said for awhile and process it before I can formulate my thoughts and feelings.
Shared w/ Group Monday (8/9/2010)
I finally remembered what I was going to say about doing everything right before marriage. She mentioned no sex before marriage. I was thinking attending premarital counseling, giving sufficient time to get to know the person, meeting the family and friends. Two silly things I realized when I was making notes on these chapters. First I’m reluctant to write in the book even though it’s mine. I think this comes from my days of working at a library. I volunteered 3 years as a teen then shelving books at the library was my first job for another 2+ years. I realized why I don’t speak much when we get together is I don’t always bring my notes… Reading comprehension is a challenge of mine. I don’t always remember everything I read so I have to make notes in order to jog my memory.
Chapter 7 – This one had a lot to it so my response is pretty lengthy as well.
Female friendships: dinner with friends made me feel less important like somehow with them getting along I felt like I just didn’t need to be there. Their experience currently is closer to the same right now; i.e. we are at different places in our lives so I was having trouble relating. Also I’ve noticed we as women sometimes try to compete over men. On more than one occasion I’ve been seeing someone and a friend of mine decided she liked him and decided to pursue him despite knowing we were involved.
Parenting: You compare yourself to others and question your own abilities and judgments.
Physical Appearance/Weight, etc: For me the one thing that causes me a bit of insecurity is the particularly big bottom that one of the ladies mentioned in the book. I don’t fit comfortably in most chairs. Amusement park rides, movie seats, etc.
Date Rape: Been there; done that. I married him. She also talks about us confining ourselves based on others watching us. As I’ve mentioned in the past I work mostly with men here on my team. They tend to stand around and chat in the aisles between our cubicles; it reminds me so much of the men hanging out by the bathrooms at a club sometimes I just have to walk around.
Affair: When you’re not getting what you need from the one you’re suppose to you find it somewhere else. For me this was when my Grandma passed away. My husband took it harder than I did and was completely useless to me. I was supporting him so I turned elsewhere to get the support I desperately needed.
Wrong Impression: I’m very serious as you all may have noticed and don’t chitchat much. The lady who I am now friends with and have living with me was convinced that I hated her when she moved into the room as a teacher to my oldest son. I didn’t know her and didn’t feel the need to talk with her.
Beauty: There are always things to fix but he made me this way and I have to appreciate his work. I have a poem I wanted to share with you on this one. I hope you enjoy it!
Male: acting or dressing like a man. I discovered in middle school it was easier to dress like a man because of the type of things I enjoyed. Climbing the catwalks in a dress or skirt always encouraged my male classmates to walk beneath and try to look up my skirt. Haha… I won because I had shorts on underneath! As an adult I work in a very male dominated field it’s been easier for them to see me as just one of the guys.
Accepting Compliments and Love: If you don’t love yourself you can’t accept these things no matter how hard you try.
Poser: I’ve been a poser so many times… If most men realize I’m smart they are intimidated so to lessen their discomfort I play dumb.
Church: I don’t go to church very often because as a single parent I feel like somehow I don’t belong. I’m not single due to widowhood or something noble. I’m single by divorce one of the most discouraged things in most churches. I just always feel like they are judging me.
Sexually: This is the path I’ve taken numerous times. I use men to validate my sexuality. I want nothing more from them but the touch. I have no intention of talking to them again and don’t care to know anything about them. I haven’t done this in a long time so I hope I’m past this stage but I see my friend doing this and it’s killing me to watch “my old self”.
My favorite part in this one was on page 141:
Insecurity makes us settle.
Insecurity makes us distracted.
Insecurity robs our confidence in our rich inheritance from God.
Insecurity makes us put our gifts on a shelf to gather demonic dust.
Insecurity derails our life.
Chapter 8 – “Your mom gets that disapproving look on her face over how you parent her grandchildren.” pg146 I don’t know about you but this one probably hits the hardest. I have an incredible amount of respect for my mother and when she says something or lets me know she disapproves of how I’m doing something with my children it can crush me. Thankfully I’m getting better about this and can see her as fallible as well. It helps that when she’s here staying with us to watch the kids while I work during the summer I can see her fumbles as well. It’s not as easy when you actually have to deal with it all on a daily basis. One thing I remember from my punishment as a teen was being not being able to participate in church youth group activities. That always baffled me as to how that was an appropriate punishment.
It also talks about on pg 147 talking to someone you admire and saying something stupid. I feel like I’ve done this one a million times. Somehow the words just won’t come out properly.
My typical way of dealing with insecurity is to binge, retreat or withdraw.
pg 152: She is clothed with strength and dignity, mighty warrior and with glory and honor. – This struck me because it really is a battle and being a mighty warrior means you can overcome it with strength, dignity, glory and honor.
I always wondered why my mom had hoped I’d be a boy. Well at first they told her I was. She also thought it would be easier for me.
Chapter 9 – p165 I just wanted to pull out the areas we were suppose to fill in: what are you afraid of, describe myself, confess, ask for forgiveness, thank God for all that’s good and right and acknowledge the fear of failure. The act of just filling out those different areas gives you incredible insight into who you really are.
Chapter 10 – I thought this was an incredible chapter because it helped to put men in proper perspective. They are not our be-all do-all nor are they the cause of our trouble. There are so many people in this world who want to be able to blame someone; I think that’s where the male bashing comes from. Surprisingly as happily single as I am I’m not a feminist or a male basher. I have the incredible responsibility to raise men of God and I take this very seriously. Just a brief brag on my boys… My oldest just came back from camp with the FIT (First is Third) award for the 3rd straight year; it’s essentially reiterating that Christ is first, others are second and you are third. My son has always asked me why he gets this award. You know I see it others see it. He is always willing to help someone. Little kids come up and ask for his help. He’s respectful of others. He’ll confront his friends when they are being disrespectful to their parents. He generally lives life as God living within and through him. A quick brag on my younger two boys, I have a babysitter staying with them who is on crutches/in a wheelchair. She was having a really bad day one day and they both were being just as sweet as possible to her and trying to help her out. My youngest spilt her coffee so my middle one went to the kitchen and was attempting to make her more coffee. He didn’t get it quite right but the thought was there. My youngest is so funny… he has to give the babysitter a huge hug and kiss every day before she leaves; he will literally chase her out the door if she forgets. J
What I got out of this if that men have a lot of the same insecurities we do. They fear being unlovable, undesirable, not doing enough to please their women, not being attractive and being a good provider. What I also saw is their common reaction is to withdraw or be so hateful that everyone withdraws from them. I think this is one area where I have more of a typical male behavior. I thought it was interesting that they mention how they continue to do over common things trying to change the past.
Chapter 11 – This struck with me as a parenting and relationship chapter. We use authority and discipline with someone to help them choose their paths vs. trying to control them and make them do something. With my younger brother I can influence him but I can’t make him do anything. In business our most incredible asset will be the ability to influence others because that will get us much farther than having control over them. I realized in the discussion of the tree of knowledge that I’ve experienced that personally with my ex-husband. He experimented after we split up and I always thought I wanted to know if he had started experimenting before we broke up. Now I realize I don’t need to know that information and it would only hurt me more. I knew enough to know it was time to move on when it started is really irrelevant. Talk about shake your womanhood…
Chapter 12 – I liked the exercise she described of writing why you are here, what you are feeling and what you hate about your marriage partner. It took the fluff out of counseling. It got all the things out on the table that really needed to be addressed. I tend to operate under the premise that I won’t say it behind your back if I’m not willing to say it too your face but I think by allowing them time to think and really grasp what they wanted from the relationship it allowed them to grow and become real with one another. They were too focused on playing nice so nothing was getting resolved. I think I heard this on family life today it mimicked the book in saying love a woman like Jesus did, even when she’s unlovable, and respect your man, even when he does not deserve respect. Women need love; men need respect from their wives. I loved how the men noticed that the more skin they saw the less security the woman had. I think this comes from that incredible obsession with what people think and the need for affirmation which can get us (hurt, embarrassed, criticized, intimidated or threatened. pg244) It also mentioned they would take the insecure woman to bed but not to heart. I think it’s fair to say the good men aren’t where we are looking. We have our blinders on and if we’re going out dressed like that we’re attracting the wrong kind of attention…
Is it just me or did the chapters get longer the further we got into the book…
Chapter 13 – pg 243-244 I loved that she made mention we could be hurt, disappointed, shocked, unsure and humbled without being insecure. It makes us easy prey for an emotional predator. “The Lord gives his people strength and grants his people security.” The grants us security told me that it’s something we are awarded we just have to accept it. To me that’s even stronger than the giving of strength.
Chapter 14 – We talked about the women following Jesus needing cured of their unfaithfulness and allowed them to love freely. It mentioned having children causes you to have to deal with your stuff. They are reflections of us in so many ways. I see it in my own children and those of my friends like it or not. What we see comes from the influence of those around them.
Chapter 15 – I noticed my friends are mostly my opposites. I have the flaky one and the bold one and the one willing to take risks like running her own business. We have to accept each other as we are. We are all fighting our own battle. Don’t push each other’s insecurity buttons and peck each other to death!
Chapter 16 – Less is more; we are constantly under attack with cultural intrusion. Doing and giving to others helps us as much as it helps them.
Shared w/ Group Tuesday (8/10/2010)
Chapter 17 – pg 322 things we may fear… proving stupid, rejection, anonymity, being alone, being unimportant, betrayal, being replaced, disrespect, being hurt or pain of any sort. Pg 332 “… she can laugh at the days to come.” I love this quote. It says we can look whatever is thrown at us we can laugh and continue on without letting it get us down and consumed by worry and distress. Pg 333 reminds us of all the things god does for us. He turns all things for good, he fights our battles for us, he meets our needs and he gives us grace and power in our weakness. What more could we ask for…?
Chapter 18 – Check your motives. Don’t let you foot get caught in a trap and be passionate about what you believe in. I’ll share with you a quick story that I don’t think I’ve shared with you before. Things are not always as they seem. You see the precious girl that takes care of my children each day during the summer is a product of rape. Yes you heard me correctly her mother was raped and that is why she is here. When she shared this with me awhile back I thought how wonderful that something that is so terrible could provide such a blessing to our lives.
I believe my children are a blessing and gift from God. If I did not believe that I would have been devastated when I discovered I was pregnant each of these times. See none of my children were planned so to speak. Nate, my oldest, was probably the one that followed the “right” path to get here. I was married a couple years and we had moved to Wichita and I guess we had nothing better to do so here he comes. My husband was ecstatic. I was in shock. Keondre, my middle son, was conceived a little sooner than expected. I knew I wanted another child but I wasn’t planning to be pregnant quite as quickly as it happened. He has been my most challenging so far. He has ADHD and boy do you know it some days. Stewart, my baby, brought challenges all his own. He was born premature and had to spend a few days in the NICU. I had never had to leave a child at the hospital and go home. That was probably my biggest challenge yet.
On a side note, I listened to our CIO speak yesterday and I thought it was interesting how he felt like he was underprivileged due to his father’s untimely death so he felt he had to work harder to accomplish something. I found that interesting because your perception will cause you to work so much harder to prove different.
I’m planning to put some of these thoughts and insights on my mirror to remind me of just how privileged we are to be children of God. That insecurity cannot be allowed to beat us down and make us feel like someone we are not.