My Cure For Insecurity

Greetings to my fellow insecure writers! As we gather together on this sunny spring day, I have a question for you – are you just insecure about writing or like me, are you insecure about pretty much everything you do?

Photo Credit - Martin Ruegner

If there was a support group for everything I’m insecure about, I’d have a meeting every day of the week. Marriage, motherhood, running, writing, blogging – you name it; I’m insecure about it. I lack self-confidence so much that sometimes I wonder how I’ve managed to accomplish anything in my life. By rights, I should still be living at home with my parents.

Do I suffer from temporary bouts of insanity that cause me to take chances?

Most days I know I’m not crazy. So there must be something else that is stronger than my insecurity. Something I’ve just always taken for granted.

So what is it that gives me the courage to pursue my goals and dreams?

Today the answer is obvious – faith. Like with everything else in my life, I thought I was insecure in my faith too. But my life has proven me wrong. When I look back on the risks I’ve taken – scuba-diving lessons, going 9 hours away to a college where I didn’t know anyone, signing up for my first marathon, getting pregnant – I can’t help but wonder, what in the world were you thinking?

When there are decisions to be made, my mind goes in a million directions and experiences a multitude of emotions, including doubt and insecurity, yet my heart never wavers. I have the confidence to act because I have faith in God. I know in my heart that whatever I do, I do it with God – He will see me through.

I met my husband in college, ran and finished two marathons, have an amazing little girl, have stories published, have finished two A-Z Challenges – all because I relied on God. I think the only reason it’s so clear to me now is that I spent a month fully engaged in His Word. Reading the Bible, studying different characters, meditating and praying over what message to convey in my posts has opened my eyes to the true value of my faith and all it has helped me do.

It’s okay to be insecure about everything else, as long as I’m firm in faith and sure of God, who banishes my every insecurity with His own incredible, amazing and unshakable confidence.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).

Proverbial Meditation (An A-Z Challenge Extra)

Throughout the month of April for the A-Z Challenge, 1st Writes, my writer’s group blog, has been meditating on Proverbs. Each day a member of our group writes about a Proverb containing a word corresponding to the letter of the alphabet for the day. Even members who don’t blog have written interpretations of the Proverbs. The entries in the series are short, inspiring and refreshing to the spirit – with the possible exception of today’s entry!

Today is the letter ‘V’ in the Challenge and the word of the day at 1st Writes is ‘Vomit’ – found in Proverbs 25:16 (If you find honey, eat just enough— too much of it, and you will vomit). Surprisingly, nobody in our group volunteered for this word! So I gladly reluctantly signed up. Even more surprising, I actually came up with two (maybe one and a half) different meditations on a word so repulsive, just hearing it triggers my gag reflex.

The first meditation posted on 1st Writes ponders gluttony in blogging. Is it possible to be a ‘blog glutton’?

My second contribution is shorter and quite possibly more of an observation rather than a reflection.

 

At times in our writing, using a word with negative connotations is the best way of attracting an audience and getting our point across.

To me, the best use of the word ‘vomit’ in a title is  – Comment Vomit: How Not To Leave Comments by Melissa who manages two blogs – Adventuroo and Momcomm.

It’s one of her most popular posts ever, in part, I’m sure, due to it’s title, which doesn’t repulse, but shocks and intrigues. The post was so popular it spawned a badge that reads – This is a comment vomit free zone. The graphic on the badge is a cute little cloud opening its mouth and spewing forth a cute, colorful rainbow. The pleasant graphic helps soften the harshness of the word while maintaining its power. It’s so wrong and right at the same time.

While musing about the word ‘vomit’ for only a few seconds, after thinking – ‘pregnancy’ and ‘gross’, I remembered this post, which proves it’s a memorable title!

A Mother-in-Law’s Gift

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV

Have you ever been eating in a restaurant and overheard a conversation?  Above the sound of the clinking of silverware against plates and the murmur of voices, I heard the following exchange between two middle aged women:

“My mother-in-law and I got along great for 20 years.”

“Now you don’t?  What’s changed in 20 years?”

“She moved to our town.”

I was reminded of the many jokes based on the idea that mothers-in-law are manipulative, bossy, interfering women.  It’s a common theme in our culture that the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationship is filled with conflict and resentment.

Thankfully, my relationship with my mother-in-law, Bette, is the complete opposite of the negative stereotype.  Ours is based on mutual respect, love and appreciation.  It’s a joy to spend time together.

One day when we were in the car on our way to the hair salon for our monthly “beautification,” as Bette laughingly refers to getting our hair done, while stopped at a red light, Bette casually mentioned, “The pastor’s wife is going to have a Bible study for writers.”

I could tell she thought I should go, but she’d never say that.

Bette knows that I often lack faith in myself, especially in my writing. Her mothering instincts extend even to me, and she tries her best to build me up.  But she never forces her opinions on me; instead, she gently offers suggestions “…as raindrops on the tender herb, and as showers on the grass” (Deuteronomy 32:2 NKJV).

Photo Credit - Pawel Gaul

“I think it will be interesting,” she added as the light changed and we began moving.

“Yes, it sounds different,” I responded noncommittally.  Shortly thereafter, we arrived at the salon and, in her wisdom, Bette dropped the subject.

But I didn’t forget about it.

I had never attended a Bible study before and was unsure about trying it, but since I’ve seen how the church, especially Sunday school and Bible study, has enriched Bette’s life, I thought it might be worth a try.

When she brought the idea of Bible study up again, I surprised her by saying that I was going to go.

A huge smile spread across her face.  “I prayed so hard over whether to suggest it to you or not.  I’m so glad I did,” she said happily.

“I’m glad you did too,” I smiled back.

Her simple suggestion of joining the writer’s Bible study turned out to be a wonderful gift.  I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I’ve always lacked confidence in myself, believing that what I write is not interesting or important to anyone.  But these negative feelings changed after the very first night of Bible study.

We were reading different scriptures, including 1 Corinthians 15:58, and suddenly it hit me: God has given me a gift and to honor him I must use it.  I may dismiss my writing as nothing special, but I can’t deny that what God has to say through my writing is worthy of sharing, that my “labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

I would never have come to this realization if it weren’t for that day in the car when Bette suggested I join the writer’s Bible study.  There I met other people who enjoyed writing and found in them support, inspiration, and most importantly, confidence.

I thank God for my mother-in-law and her willingness to “mother” her grown daughter-in-law!

***

Today’s Bible Blogger is Naomi. The Ruth and Naomi relationship inspired this piece I wrote and submitted to Chicken Soup for the Soul. It wasn’t selected for publication, but c’est la vie!

Remember that there’s still time to enter for a chance to win Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages from Heaven, where my story about my Grandma Bone was selected for publication. Just comment on the post below! Comments close tonight at midnight (eastern standard time).

Messages From Heaven Book Giveaway

From tales of people visiting Heaven and coming back, to dreams and visions, to clear messages, the stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages from Heaven (Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC, February 28, 2012, 978-1935096917, $14.95) illustrate how accepting what may seem like the unbelievable can provide comfort and peace after a loss. The 101 stories of miraculous signs, amazing connections, and love that doesn’t die will comfort and encourage anyone who has experienced the loss of a beloved family member or friend.

‘Strawberry Fields’ is my contribution to this amazing collection of encouraging, comforting and hope-filled stories. My story is about a dream and the beloved memory of walking barefoot through fields of strawberries with my Grandma Bone.

In honor of the letter ‘M’ in the A-Z Challenge, which I am participating in- just on two different blogs, I’m giving away a copy of Messages From Heaven. Simply leave a comment on this post to enter. Comments will close at midnight (eastern time) on Monday April, 16, 2012. I’ll draw a random name from the comments on Tuesday and announce the winner.

ETA –
Congratulations to Alana from Writercize! Your book will be in the mail shortly!

Young Isaac’s Blog (A Bible Blogger Extra)

Today an older Isaac shared his blog on Bible Bloggers. I thought it only fair that young Isaac get to share his blog too!

Scripture Reading Genesis 22: 1-19

Blog Title – Child of Promise

Blogging Niche – Christian and Boy Bloggers

About Me – I’m the son of Abraham and Sarah, some even say I’m the favorite son! I like to play outside, help with the animals and hang out with my dad.

Blog Excerpt

 

A Funny Thing Happened On Mount Moriah

So Dad and I went to the Land of Moriah to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. Dad and I have offered many sacrifices together before, but this trip was different. Something seemed off. First of all, Dad was quiet. I’d tried to talk to him, but his answers were short, as if his mind was full of other thoughts – thoughts he didn’t want to share with me.

Second of all, we didn’t bring a sacrifice.

“The fire and wood are here,” I said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

“God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son,” he said.

Cool. I trust in God’s provision. As Dad built the alter, he seemed sad. He put the wood on the alter, and when the time came to offer a sacrifice, I got a really funny feeling in the pit of my belly.

Dad reached for me and began to tie me up. It hit me then that I was the sacrifice! At first panic seized me and terror filled my heart, but almost immediately those feelings were replaced by a peace unlike anything I’ve ever felt before.

Dad was repeating over and over, “God is good. He keeps his promises.”

I believed his words and they surrounded me with calm. As I lay bound on a pile of wood, I felt no fear – only trust in God.

Suddenly an angel shouted from the heavens, “Do not lay a hand on the boy. Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

Dad lowered the knife he had held over me. He caught sight of a ram and we sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead. Then together we worshiped.

The whole experience was weird, almost like a dream, but too real. I can still feel the wood scraping against my back.

On the way back, Dad was in good spirits again. The whole way home we praised God together! Dad’s unquestioning faith is so awesome! I hope I can always be as faithful to God as he is!

Good Gracious, Goliath! (Another Quasi A-Z Post)

I feel like dancing! Well…not quite dancing. I’m a bad dancer. The first week of the A-Z Challenge is over and I’m still in it. I’m feeling stronger in my writing and creativity. I just might finish this thing after all and it’s all thanks to God’s inspiration.

Just to clarify…well more like to promote, I’m participating in the Challenge at Bible Bloggers, my blog of blogs written by Bible characters, and at 1st Writes, my writer’s group’s blog. Over at 1st Writes, members, even non-blogging members, are sharing meditations on Proverbs. So far I’ve blogged about the letters ‘E’ and ‘G’ – E Is For Ear; G Is For Gracious.

While over at Bible Bloggers, Abigail, Bathsheba, Cornelius, Eve, Faith and Goliath have been busy blogging. By the way, if you like Bible Bloggers, consider ‘liking’ their Facebook page!

Finally, I wish you all a Blessed Easter Sunday!

Photo Credit - VStock

 

A-Z Insecurity Part 2

With the A-Z Challenge underway, my insecurities still abound. I’m second guessing myself a lot.

After last year’s Challenge, I think of the A-Z as a blogging marathon. Right now, I’m only at mile 4 with 22 miles to go and I’m wondering if I have the energy to finish. But that’s why I love Bible Bloggers! All my insecurities and doubts fade in the face of God’s Word. Every character reminds me that if I rely on God, I can do anything! I’m confident enough to publish my Bible Blogger posts because I’m writing them for God’s glory and not my own – just as Deborah recommends on today’s Bible Bloggers’ blog!