Last week we talked a lot about how leadership is in our blood and considered who would be or are our encouragers and challengers. We also talked about how fear can keep us from doing and leading as God would have us…that we need to take that fear UP to God for perspective and peace.
This week we’ll look at Chapters 3, 4, & 5 — we’ll talk about insecurity, criticism, and pride. Oh my.
If you haven’t created an account as contributor, try to do so this week so that your comments aren’t limited in length. And don’t forget — keep your responses as general as possible since this is an open blog. I hope you’re being as transparent as possible with yourself and us within those bounds!!
I’m going to come at responding a bit differently this week, hoping that you’ll fill in the gaps with your responses. I’ll list every question at the end of each chapter and do one personal response either on one particular question or a conglomeration of them. Here we go!
Chapter 3 – The Monster You Are Avoiding
1. Are there voices in your life that drain your security tank? How do you overcome their influence?
2. In her story, Tammy mentioned that insecurity tends to show up when she’s facing an opportunity to grow. When does insecurity rear its head most often in your life?
3. What are the daily routines that you’ve put into place that help you overcome insecurity?
SJ-Insecurity isn’t my biggest issue, but when it comes up I JUST HATE IT. Seems like it creeps in for me is when my environment is foreign/unusual. Just this past Christmas I attended my husband’s company party with him and have never felt so under-dressed in my life. I wanted to leave so badly, but had to swallow that insecurity and stick it out (which is good for me). I have worn that same outfit in another setting and felt most confident. Crazy. I chide myself for that weakness of wanting to “please man” instead of just focusing on pleasing God.
Besides surroundings, I’d say those seasons of exhaustion and high stress are snares for my insecurity as well. Of course, if I’m feeling stress to begin with, I’m not where I need to be spiritually. Vicious cycle.
LOVED her analogy of “mental piles,” sorting according to encouragement, wisdom, and discard. Super! And for me (p. 39) this would work because my big downfall is mentally rehashing things, so to figure out how to ponder things LESS is a victory.
Chapter 4 – You’re Not Doing It Right
1. Do you have a tendency to take criticism personally? When do you feel most vulnerable (in your leadership)?
2. Do you fear rejection or failure?
3. What steps can you take to begin to process criticism in a healthy way?
SJ-A much bigger issue for me is taking criticism personally. I’m a perfectionist, so I naturally avoid failure…though I’m convinced we learn the most from our mistakes. The pattern I seem to follow is that when I’m prepared for criticism, expecting it, I handle it as I should, constructively. But when I’m in that tired place and criticism comes out of the blue, I turn to a puddle. That mental rehash thing happens, reliving the scene over and over.
SO, I really liked her suggestions to take the focus off myself then remember what is true (p. 53)…then of course PRAY, asking God to focus my mind and heart (p. 55). And in God-fashion, He gave me the opportunity to put this in practice last week. Just as I was starting to feel defensive, these very words popped in my head, so I said a quick prayer, asking God to show me what truth there was in what was being said. I immediately quit feeling defensive and our conversation became much more constructive. HUH.
Chapter 5 – Growing Pains
1. How is pride holding you back from leading effectively?
2. What is the greatest lie that pride repeatedly tries to tell you?
3. What truth do you need to remember to confront that lie?
4. What steps can you take on your journey to seek wisdom?
SJ-Oh, pride. That ugly, ugly thing called pride. Here’s some irony from the inner-workings of my mind. I’ve had seasons where I’ve prided myself for being so humble. (quit laughing!) High school is my most vivid memory. Of course, at that age, we think we know everything anyway. Must have stayed there in some fashion because it was in Beth Moore’s Breaking Free that I had my BIG AH-HA about pride. It has many faces and shades…and I had (have) a lot of it.
Motive was mentioned in this lesson that I recall, but it’s when I check my internal motive that God helps me gauge my pride-level. Proverbs 16:2, 1 Corinthians 4:5, and James 4:5 all talk to motive in things we say, do, ask for, want, etc. I frequently ask God to reveal my motive…and His revelations are very humbling!
Her section on mentoring spoke volumes to me. I need to re-read that part many times so that it soaks in my head. The cool thing is…I have mentors in my life right now, though these relationships were never formalized and the women aren’t the wise, “old” women who know-all and see-all (I visualize that “shaman” in a tent that you can go to for wisdom. I know, they don’t exist). They’re women like me who also need mentoring and encouragement and accountability.
I couldn’t agree more about making the most of every learning opportunity. I’m not a voracious reader of non-fiction type books (I love story), but God is pushing me past my stubbornness to more and more books like this one to show me there is a lot to learn. And, like Jenni, I’m a conference junkie. Something about being with speakers “in person” that inspires me and pushes me to learn. And I loved the “change of place + change of pace = change of perspective” (p. 69). There is a lot of truth to that. I can get so bogged down in my to-do’s that I need those changes to get that new perspective.
“A heart bent toward continuous growth is one marked by humility.” (p. 70) Amen!