Review: So Long, Insecurity: You've been a bad friend to us, by Beth Moore

By Kersley Fitzgerald

The last chapter of Beth Moore's latest books starts out: This has been a messy book. In case you're wondering if I'm aware of it, I am. Passion isn't always the best ink... The writer of Proverbs talked of words "fitly spoken", but I'm afraid what you've gotten here were words spoken in a fit.

There is a philosophy in non-fiction writing that many Christian writers adhere to: write what you know. Usually Beth Moore does just that. In this book, however, she wrote as she learned. This is a very personal book written in the midst of struggle. Because of that, it is messy, but it's also passionate and honest.

The messiness is a direct reflection of the personal-ness. Okay, that sounded horrible, but I didn't mean it as an insult. It just becomes evident that Beth Moore likes to talk — and talk in cute colloquialisms. Each point is introduced by a paragraph or three instead of a heading. It works, though. The stories and the excess text allow her to sneak in her really challenging points almost without the reader realizing. What could be cold and convicting becomes encouraging.

So what is the book about? Insecurities and the women who have them. I'm not sure she even defines "insecurities", but she probably doesn't have to. I've yet to meet a woman who didn't have them, and every woman's is different. The book is a bit disjointed as subjects overlap, but I think I have a handle on what she was saying.

Insecurities come from several different sources. Men. Women. Abuse. Instability. Loss. Rejection. Dramatic change. Personality. The culture. Even pride. Some of it's our fault, and some of it's not. Some of it we can change, and some we just need to adapt to or heal from. But with culture in the mix (you should read her views on a certain undergarment retailer!), we are all susceptible to insecurity. It's almost inevitable.

Once the insecurities have set in, the reactions and coping mechanisms start coming out. All the standards are here: comparing ourselves to other women, hiding, vanity, perfectionism, grasping and demanding, and seeking validation from inappropriate sources. Through her blog, she accumulated hundreds of examples of what insecurity can make otherwise normal people do. A lot of it led to sexual sin. She also admitted a few insecurities of her own. One day, her then-high school aged daughter mentioned that her friends teased her about her inability to park her car at school. For several days after, Beth followed her daughter to school and, once she was safely inside, re-parked the car. Her reaction to her own insecurity was to try to protect her daughter.

As with every issue, Beth Moore's solution to insecurity is to inundate it with Scripture and prayer. Proverbs 31:25 is the key verse: "Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future." Another is from 2 Corinthians 4:6-7, speaking of how God has placed His light in our earthen vessels. With God-given light and God-bestowed dignity, jars of clay become noble vessels.

Many might see So Long, Insecurity as a lightweight self-help book. Beth Moore doesn't work that way. What she did was take a sinful attitude that most of the population carries and address it scripturally and gently. Gently enough that those who are young or really wounded will start to see what's possible, while those who are fed up with insecurity can discover the resources to start the work. Insecurity is a sinful attitude — it's in direct contradiction to how God tells us to act. But the things that lead to insecurity are wounding by nature. It's a tough subject to broach.

Reading this or any manmade book will not cure insecurity. Neither will memorizing verses. Contemplating wisdom — from both the Bible and a biblical teacher — and asking God to reveal how that wisdom fits into normal life is a start. So Long, Insecurity has that wisdom for those brave enough to face it.

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Published 9-5-12