Year of the Bookwormz: 2011

52 weeks. 2 friends. 1 challenge.

Book #10: Fabookulous March 28, 2010

So Long, Insecurity (You’ve Been a Bad Friend to us) by Beth Moore

A letter from Beth:

Dear Friend,

We’re insecure. You and me and every woman. Lately I’ve been realizing more and more that chronic insecurity is a cultural epidemic, but almost no one is talking about it. And it ticks me off.

We’re insecure about everything from our looks to our worth as women, from our relationships to our futures, and everything else in between. You name it, and we’re probably insecure about it.

Let’s be honest here. Insecurity makes us miserable. It cripples us. It makes fools of us. It makes us feel worthless. Insecurity has been a bad friend to us. The bottom line is that it’s self-sabotage.

Girlfriend, listen to me. Our insecurities are lying to us. It doesn’t have to be this way. It’s time to say, “So long!” to insecurity. How? First we have to understand it, and the good news is that insecurity is understandable. The even better news is that insecurity is curable.

It’s time we girls help each other out so we can be the best wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends that we can possibly be. Let’s have a chat, you and me, through these pages. I’d be honored if you’d join me on my quest for real, lasting, soul-deep security.

Beth

Once again, one of my favorite bible teachers will blow you away! I took my sweet time with this book to absorb the material. Beth Moore will make you laugh at embarrassing examples of an insecure woman as well as offer you tips on how to fight it when you feel yourself starting to show fears.

Security/insecurity can be such a taboo topic. Insecurity can become so intertwined with who you are, you may not even realize it. Magazines, television shows, the Hollywood glitz…they all make us feel inadequate and believe in something as status-quo that is, in fact, the farthest thing from it. I made the decision several months ago not to renew my People magazine subscription when it’s up in June, as a personal decision to not feed these images to myself anymore.

That’s not to say insecurity stems only from the desire to impress strangers by what we look like, what clothes we wear, what car we drive. Are we even insecure about reading a book on insecurity?? No, no…insecurity goes far beyond the outward and the material. What about you? What makes you insecure? What struggles do you hide behind? Your career? Your house? Your marriage? Your relationships? If we’re absolutely honest with ourselves, we are sure to find insecurities that we hold onto and take measures to protect and keep hidden.

Why do we do that? We might not even realize we’re putting these burdens on ourselves that are not only unnecessary, they are curable! Why do we choose to live life with fears and feelings of inadequacies? We can be secure in the women we are knowing God created us to have strength and dignity. This is the message Beth walks us through and guides us with throughout this book.

I do, however, believe there is a difference in being a secure woman in God, confident in who He created us to be and who we are in Him, and an arrogant woman who gives credit to herself rather than God for her achievements and who she is. I think it’s important to give glory to God always and not ourselves and that’s where the line is drawn. Without God, we are nothing.

I recommend this book for everyone because whether you discuss it with others or not, we all have insecurities. But don’t limit yourself to a life where you feel you don’t thrive…pray about them, work through them, and get rid of them once and for all! You are beautiful, inside and out, and you don’t need society or others to tell you that. Let your Creator tell you. After all, it is Him who designed you.

5/5 stars!
Happy Reading,

Fabookulous

 

Book #19 LibraryLove

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Book description~ What if you could change your life without really changing your life? On the outside, Gretchen Rubin had it all—a good marriage, healthy children and a successful career— but she knew something was missing. Determined to end that nagging feeling, she set out on a year-long quest to learn how to better enjoy the life she already had.  Each month, Gretchen pursued a different set of resolutions—go to sleep earlier, tackle a nagging task, bring people together, take time to be silly—along with dozens of other goals. She read everything from classical philosophy to cutting-edge scientific studies, from Winston Churchill to Oprah, developing her own definition of happiness and a plan for how to achieve it. She kept track of which resolutions worked and which didn’t, sharing her stories and collecting those of others through her blog (created to fulfill one of March’s resolutions). Bit by bit, she began to appreciate and amplify the happiness in her life.

In a piece of “stunt journalism” (think Julie/Julia Project), we follow Gretchen’s year-long journey toward enjoying her life more. She blogs along the way and we see her progress as she tackles mini goals each month.  Gretchen wants to show more gratitude and generally improve her mood and productivity. I know a handful of folks that I’d LOVE to send this book to who would truly benefit from Gretchen’s perspective. The book was thought provoking because it made me realize how many folks out there live their lives in a constant state of damage control and procrastination. But why is it that hard, really, to follow through with commitments? Or to say no when we know we absolutely cannot follow through?

This book made me realize just how much I love my life and how much I show gratitude to those important in my life. I realized how it’s common place for me and my friends to regularly seek out new experiences, making our lives a richer place. The main factor to happiness for me is surrounding myself with positive, caring, considerate people and to “weed out” those who are a toxic force and energy drain.

I had a very hard time relating to Gretchen in this book. We couldn’t be more opposite. Anyone that knows me, knows I cannot procrastinate. I just missed that gene somewhere along the way and sometimes it’s REALLY annoying. I’m proud to be a highly effective and self motivated person. Most of the topics Gretchen covers in her book felt unrelatable for me- I love getting things done; I’m efficient in doing them. I’m organized and love giving back to others.  I have an amazing social circle of close friends that requires effort from both parties. I’m on time or early; I’m reliable. I consider people’s feelings and remember their birthdays. I’ve had to be self sufficient at a young age, and one of the things I’m most thankful to my parents for- teaching me to be independent and learn how to make good decisions based on the foundation I was given. I’m a work in progress just like everyone else. But I am aware and so thankful for my life. I show it regularly to those in my network.

It’s hard for me to criticize one woman’s quest for happiness- happiness is subjective to each of us, as are the things we deem important. I appreciated her insights and if nothing else, how people are drawn to a smiling face and to positivity and friendliness.

I will share a few criticisms: this book was too verbose. Gretchen went into too much detail over minutiae. Gretchen also cut and pasted blog comments strangers left on her blog. Sure it’s nice to hear what they are saying and how they can relate. But in a published book? C’mon.  I felt it was filler. She could have just said “visit my blog to see what others had to say about each of these topics” and be done with it.

Happiness isn’t just how we feel or how we act. We also have to be reactive to those around us. We can’t change other people but we can also change how we let them effect us and muddy our moods. We can also lead by example, which I try to do whenever possible. I thrive on learning from others and love that I’m surrounded by amazing people who I can learn so much from every time we interact.

This book, for the most part, boiled down to a summary of psychological research on happiness which I was familiar with through much of the reading I had to do for college, mixed with her personal anecdotes.  There were two significant takeaways for me:

#1: Keep a contented heart

#2: Whatever love you might feel in your heart, others will see only your actions

Why not try a little harder to put on a smile? Try a little harder to show your loved ones how much they mean to you? Why not try a little harder to appreciate what you have? Only good can come of it.

3/5 stars
19 down, 33 to go!
In progress- The Elegance of the Hedgehog (audiobook) and Sarah’s Key
Xoxo,
Library Love