Recently, I've been reading two books that highlight the enormous pressure that our culture places on women. Vicki Courtney's 5 Conversations You MUST Have with Your Daughter emphasizes the challenges facing young girls today and encourages mothers to think proactively about ways to address these issues and equip their daughters for strong and virtuous living. The other book I'm reading that deals with particularly feminine concerns is Beth Moore's So Long Insecurity: You've Been a Bad Friend to Us. After being reminded in Courtney's book about the intensity of the expectations society places on young women, how could I be surprised when Moore describes that "in a recent survey of more than 900 women . . . [she] found that 78 percent [of the women] admitted to having feelings of insecurity at or above a level that bothers them" (16).
In the midst of reading these books, I stumbled back across Proverbs 14:26, a verse I memorized several years ago. Here's the ESV, "In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge." I also like the Message Version: "The Fear-of-God builds up confidence, and makes a world safe for your children."
I am struck by the paradox this verse offers. In fear, there is confidence. Not only confidence but strong confidence. Fear seems to be the antithesis of confidence. Generally speaking, fear contributes to insecurity. Fear of what others think or perceive of me drives me to engage in behaviors that might not be the best. The beauty of this verse is that fear of God drives out fear of others. Fear of God builds strength and security into our lives. As an added benefit, we create a place of safety and security for our children when we rightly reverence the Lord. If we don't allow our fear of the Lord to determine our view of ourselves, we will teach our children to live in insecurity as well.
Both of these books discuss how we can allow the Word of God to guide us through the cultural traps women face today, to live as strong and virtuous women. I highly recommend both!!
Beth Moore. So Long Insecurity: You've Been a Bad Friend to Us. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2010.
Vicki Courtney. 5 Conversations You MUST Have with Your Daughter. Nashville: B&H, 2008.