This week was the first week of the my Proverbs 31 online "Gather and Grow" study of A Confident Heart by Renee Swope.
If you are not reading along with us, you are still welcome to just read the commentaries every Thursday here and comment. You are also welcome to start reading the book and jump in at any time! It is a great book!
We read the following Chapters this week:
Chapter 1: Discovering the Shadow of My Doubts
Chapter 2: Because God's Love is Perfect, I Don't Have to Be
In Chapter 1, Renee describes how one day while she was getting ready for a speaking engagement, her self-doubt caused her to second guess her calling. Then, she noticed her enormous nine foot shadow on the wall!
"Just like my shadow on the wall was distorting my shape, my doubt was distorting my thoughts and overpowering my emotions with confusion and questions. The shadow of doubt had become bigger than what I doubted --myself. " pg. 21
God then spoke to her and said, "You can only see the shadow because you have turned away from the light. Turn back toward the light." pg. 22
Just like her distorted shadow lied about her image, doubt lies to us. It creates an image of ourselves in our heads that is contrary to what God says about us.
Doubt says, "You can't do it."
God says, "You can do all things through Christ." Phil 4:13
Doubt says, "You are alone."
God says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." Heb 13:5
Doubt says, "You will fail."
God says, "You are more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus." Romans 8:37
Don't listen to doubt. It will lie every time.
Isaiah 49:23 reminds us, "Then you will know that I am the Lord. Those who hope in me will not be disappointed."
God will not disappoint us. Hope in the Lord. Choose hope instead of doubt.
Sometimes people will say, "I doubt that" about a good thing that may happen. Instead we need to say, "I believe that!" Choose hope.
Another lie the enemy tries to defeat us with is: My worth is related to my performance.
In Chapter Two, Renee explained how she grew up on a performance-based value system. She felt like she could never measure up. Her value was based on how well she performed.
Renee writes, "Oh how I longed for someone to see past the exterior facade and look into the secret places of my heart. I wanted to be known and loved for who I was." pg 33
Renee discussed the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). Jesus saw past her exterior facade. Jesus saw past her past and saw her. He offered to meet her deepest need and longing...to fill her empty places, to give her "Living Water" so she would never thirst again.
She had nothing to offer Jesus. She couldn't earn acceptance from Him. He freely gave it.
Jesus went out of His way that day to meet that woman. He knew she would be there. He knew her needs. He knew her heart. I love this line from Renee's book,
"Let this truth sink in, my friend: wherever you are, He wants to meet you there." pg 37
Jesus, the One who knows us completely, wants us to trust Him with our failures. Will you let yourself be real with Him? Give Him your deepest hurts. Give Him your deepest longings. Let Him meet you where you are and let Him fill our empty places with His Living Water.
Reflection and Discussion Questions:
1. What do you think hinders you most from living with God-confidence on a consistent basis? Which of the following promises speaks to your greatest need right now?
"Those who hope in me will not be disappointed." Is 49:23
"See, I am doing a new thing!" Is 43:19
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Rom. 8:28)
"All things are possible to [her] who believes." (Mark 9:23)
2. Jeremiah 17:7 says, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord." What does this verse promise and encourage you to do ? Think of one situation where you could live in the power of this promise and describe what that would look like this week.
3. Is there one lesson learned this week that you will walk away with and hold on to so that you can live in the security of God's approval and acceptance?
Next week, we will read Chapters 3 and 4. We will meet back here on Thursday again!
I can understand where Renee is coming from in these two chapters and both contain many things that I need to hear on a dailybasis. My dad never left us, but was a very harsh man. He never accepted anything less than perfection from me because, "I know you are capable of it." This has hurt me so much in my adult life. I have an enormous fear of failure now and place such high demands on myself that it is exhausting...daily! I never feel good enough or like I am enough. I always feel lacking. I am going to remember the promises Renee talks about in these two chapters and cut myself some slack. I am not Jesus! I am not meant to be perfect, only to strive to be as close to Jesus as possible and live in His opinion of me, not others! Thank you Sue, I am looking forward to this and desperately need this!ReplyDelete
Erica, thank you for sharing. I too can relate to Renee on this. I love what you said at the end, that you are not meant to be perfect. That is absolutely true! We are never going to be "good enough". But thankfully we don't have to be! "Good enough" is not obtainable. But, we have a Savior, Jesus, who is enough! Our worth and value come from Him. We are enough because He says we are. We are worthy because He says we are. It is not based on what we do, but who we are in Christ Jesus. I am so glad you are doing this study with us, Erica. I know God is going to set you free. Praying for you. Love,ReplyDelete
Sue, chapter 2 was amazing and right on the spot for me! (remember our talk at starbucks)I don't usually even bother reading discussion questions at the end of chapters but I want everything I can get from this book so I'm writing down my answers! Thank you for leading this study!ReplyDelete
Megan, Yes! I am so glad it is speaking to you where you are! It is speaking to me also. Love you!ReplyDelete
Sue, it looks like this is going well! Praying for you all...ReplyDelete