2013 Siesta Summer Bible Study Gathering 3!

Hi Sisters! Way to hang in there with Bible study for the summer! As usual, I’m putting the bare bones of instruction for your gathering here in writing for those of you who aren’t able to watch the video. If you do watch it, you may quickly note evidences of a ample technical difficulties, all of which were caused by yours truly. For instance, at one point, I got out of my chair to grab my car keys on a side table for an illustration and nearly tore my mic off and my shirt with it. That is why it will appear that I have done a magic trick. Other technical difficulties arose when, suddenly, the cold that I’d caught from my darling Annabeth lapsed me into certain phrases that sounded exactly like I was holding my nose. Only on words with the letter “b” was it most apparent which made the words “Bible” and “humble” particularly intriguing. We are a slick group of filmmakers around here. You’re a patient group and I love you! I am so honored to serve you guys and I know that God is really speaking to you through this study journey. Let’s persevere to the last page for the joy set before us!

The following interactives are based on Weeks 3 and 4 of your Gideon homework:

1. We can get no further than p.70 to stumble on something we could talk about all day. My small group and I loved the whole portion on weakness being a key. Glance at the bottom of the page and talk about the effect that your weakness tends to have on you when you focus on it.

2. Turn to p.75 and discuss the first paragraph and your answers to the second question: How have you seen misdirected credit lead to misplaced trust or unhealthy desires for you or someone else?

3. Turn to p.97 and share which answer you chose in response to the following question and explain why you tend to lean that direction: If you are in a season of life in which you feel insecure or doubtful about God, His Word, or His calling on your life, how do you honestly feel God is responding?

4. I so loved the teaching on p.101! How did the 4 Steps in Giving Our Gifts to God resonate with you or open your eyes? Conclude with the quote Priscilla gave us in the middle of p.107 – “honest doubt in which faith lives.” Give an example of honest doubt that you have had at a time when you were still full of faith. A time when those two things were not at odds but part of that same stretch of journey.

OK, Sisters! Finish your last 2 weeks of homework for our final gathering on July 23rd! You guys are fabulous! Thank you so much for participating. You are dearly loved here at LPM.

Siesta Summer Gideon Study – Week 3 from LPV on Vimeo.


227 Responses to “2013 Siesta Summer Bible Study Gathering 3!”

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  1. 1
    Jayne says:

    Washington, NC, solo

    1. When I focus on my weakness as a weakness then it plays havoc on my emotions. I feel depressed. My self-image is low. My confidence is non-existent. I become immobile, unable to move forward in any area. Focusing on the Truth found in God’s Word is the only way to redirect.

    2. Misdirected credit results in pride! I have been so guilty of being prideful many times and it only leads to pain. Misdirected credit can also result in disappointment. When you are a pastor or pastor’s wife, people tend to “put you a pedestal or have very high expectation of who you are as a person. No person can meet every church member’s expectations. Yet when that happens, members can become disappointed in their leaders. They have given him/her too much credit to begin with and it results in disappointment.

    3. I do believe that God knows me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties. He is so gracious to love me as I am and to forgive me when I fail.

    4. I loved the truths pointed out in the 4 Steps in Giving Our Gifts to God. My honest doubt recently has been wondering why/for what purpose God has allowed me to have the ability to do something, but at the same time be completely blocked from using that ability. I trust Him. I just don’t understand and realize that I may not understand in this world.

    • 1.1
      Deborah Mott says:

      Misdirected credit bringing pride and disappointment. Thanks for sharing this. Thought so true! Given an ability than blocked from using it…reminds me of Charles Stanley with his photography…story he tells… LORD asked him to put this gift away for a long season…profound lessons came from it…. I relate to this. As The LORD has allowed my gift to be blocked too and in it He has asked me to go back and love those that have blocked me and forgive and love and live the GOSPEL to them. That is harder to do than teaching it…to live it.

  2. 2
    Yanna Westmoreland says:

    Yanna Westmoreland, Bryan, TX solo

    1.I answered this in two parts. Yes and No. When I focus on my weakness my emotions rule makes it harder to think like a warrior. When I put God first: my emotions are led by God. Self-image becomes lacking; with God I can be Who He wants me to be. Confidence is busted; with God it overflows, trusting in God. My ability to move forward is overwhelmed when I focus on my weaknesses; with God I can’t wait ready to tackle anything.

    2.Humble answer here copied from my workbook; When I give Bible teachers (ie:Beth Moore) more credit leading to unhealthy desire/stalker until God signed my Bible with His Words.

    3.So very thankful God knows me! He understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties. Memorizing Psalm 139 ESV for SSMT has stored this in my very being. I say different verses when I feel weak. Speaking God’s own Words out loud.

    4.Confirmation because of caution; waiting for an answer.
    Confirmation because of doubt and unbelief sets expectations of what I want instead of waiting on what God wants.
    I depend on an acronym for F.A.I.T.H. Father All In Thy Hands. This and only this gives me the confirmation that I have a Father Who is in charge and His plans are bigger and better than mine. So thankful for so many reasons.

  3. 3
    Peggyann Calderwood says:

    1. Yes I tend to focus on my weakness. It makes me sad, not having a positive self-image nor any confidence in myself and it’s hard to move forward.
    2. I have seen misdirected credit go to someone – which in turn had her keep doing that thing which was not a good thing.
    3. God keeps reminding me over and over of what he wants me to do.
    4.I had honest doubt that I should get dentures but God has showed me he will be with me while I get all my oddles of dental work completed on the teeth that he gave for me.

  4. 4
    Rachel says:

    Rachel, Ft. Smith, AR (solo)

    1. When I focus on my weaknesses I feel despair–will I ever change?

    2. I’ve seen people put so much hope in one friendship, thinking that a certain person is the answer to all their friend/loneliness problems. Meanwhile, the other person doesn’t feel as strongly about the friendship, and feelings end up getting hurt due to the pedestal problem.

    3. Sometimes I feel like He is frustrated and impatient, and maybe even punishing me for not being faithful, not trusting, not listening, or only obeying 90%. But there are also times when I know He understands my weaknesses and is patient with my uncertainties.

    4a. Thinking about truly preparing my gift–sometimes I don’t want to take the time to prepare it. I just want to jump head first into ministry and hope God will use it.

    b. I am confident and have faith in what God has specifically called me to do, but when it takes a
    long time to see His plans come to fruition, I begin to ask Him, “did I hear you right?”

    • 4.1
      Deborah Mott says:

      Despair. thanks for your honesty. Serious word. I feel despair sometimes too. I beg God to change me regularly.

      Liked your coining “the pedestal problem”…good summary of a root issue of misdirected credit.

  5. 5
    Angie says:

    Angie, Ormond Beach, FL, solo

    1. Yes; leads to insecurity, anxiety, and stalls my ability to move forward. Often it also sends me into fervent prayer, though, and I can reflect back on those occasions and see how God brought me through those times and showed how He used me despite those weaknesses (or because of them).
    2. Oh this resonates! I have fervently prayed over patient issues many times and when things go well and they thank me or compliment me, it does tend to inflate my pride. Thankfully, I’ve had enough falls to (most of the time) remember to give thanks to Him, where it is due, and remember I’m totally insufficient when left only to my own abilities.
    3. I know that He knows me, understands me, and is patient with me, and His Word and my life confirm that. I am so thankful for that, especially the patience part. 🙂
    4. I’m at that point right now–looks like we will need to move and I trust Him to provide the right new home, but the timing just doesn’t seem right to me. I pray that we will make the right choice according to His will, however, and look forward to seeing how this is going to work out.

  6. 6
    Sam says:


    Your comment on Pavlov’s dogs really confirmed some things I had been thinking, and I praise the Lord that He loves me and cares for me.

    1. When I focus on my weakness, I get extremely paranoid and think people are judging me and they are judging me rightly.

    2. I don’t think anyone has put misplaced trust in me, but I know I have put misplaced trust in others. One leader I admired from afar fell in a spectacularly public way and I felt shock and sorrow.

    3. I am in that season of life where I feel extremely insecure about my standing with God, so right now I think He is frustrated with me for taking so long to know for sure that He loves me and will never leave me. I believe this is because I view God through the lens of my earthly parents and while they have shown me love, they are human and therefore not perfect.

    4. I cannot say that I have had a time where I have had “honest doubt.” I think I’ve just had doubts that are displeasing to God. I do pray that He will strengthen my faith.

    • 6.1
      Deborah Mott says:

      your answer to 1 was so spot on to how I feel sometimes but never even knew how to put into words. thanks.

  7. 7
    Stephanie Wayman says:

    Stephanie, Houston, TX solo

    1. When I focus on my weaknesses, the feelings of insecurity and never being good enough are my “default”. All of my emotions, self-image, confidence and ability to move forward revolve around these feelings. I become introverted, fearful, indecisive, and stagnant.

    2. When I misdirect credit it tends to lead to jealousy…if only I was as holy, knew my Bible as well, could quote scripture as confidently, was as smart, could be as effective a leader…all of which tend to send me down the path discussed in question #1.

    3. I feel God knows me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties. He knows that my heart is honest and I am trying to come to Him in humility. I know His heart for me is full of love and that no matter how many times I ask the question, He is going to answer me because He loves me. I hear that small voice telling me I am his precious child and feel His peace come over me in times of doubt or uncertainty.

    4. The idea of Preparing my gifts really resonated with me. “But you cannot expect God to use what you have not taken time to prepare.” I have long known that my calling was to be Wife and Mother, but when those things did not happen according to my timetable, I was confused and repeatedly came to God for confirmation, for strengthening of my imperfect faith. I realize that 1. God has His timetable for everything, 2. The time while I was “waiting” (maybe a little impatiently) was His time and way to prepare me and show me how to prepare my gifts for when the time was right to start my calling as I understood it, 3. Giving my gifts to God is a daily act because as they grow and change, I have to give them back to Him so he can refine them and give them back to me to use.

  8. 8
    Deborah Mott says:

    Deb. Bradenton, Florida. Solo. 1. the effect that my weakness tends to have on me when I focus on it: defeat, mood swings, anger… even RAGE and hopelessness from shame and feeling diminished of value: worthlessness and shame and other negative emotions that can damage or destroy what the LORD intended IF I had submitted to the Holy Spirit and listened to HIS TRUTH and HIS perspective of my identity. Feelings of worthlessness and self torture and self hatred and self battering to conform myself to the acceptable image cause me, at times, to live in Dead Religion instead of Living HOPE IN CHRIST and His Truth. When the focus is on myself and not on GOD and HIS TRUTH, I become tormented by lies and also at the consequences from the realities I have lived and the memories of all my failures, sins and betrayals done to me and then I did. That focus eventually leads me to the TRUTH that I NEED A SAVIOR and have BEEN SAVED from myself, my sin and its penalty and I know I am forgiven and have been made clean and new. Still the feelings try to persist and often circumstances reinforce the lies of the past. Often people, especially believers, will reinforce these lies and show their lack of confidence in my gifts and their devaluing of me and this seems to block me in moving forward. I can become self defensive, self protecting and then try to prove my own value. It is a battle to believe the TRUTH and fight with it to silence the lies and worthlessness that assails me. I often try to make up, or compensate by performance, for my deficiencies IN the FLESH and never is this the answer or key to victory. Yet at times I will try with all my being to be good enough and even convince myself partially that I am because I know how hard I have tried and then I am prideful and self-righteous. I want to be HOLY SPIRIT LED and not performance driven. Worship and prayer and the WORD and wielding the Sword of the SPIRIT refocus me on the LORD and not on myself. Gideon expresses the New Testament verse in living color to me centuries before it was written for us: 1Cor.1:27 God uses the weak things of the world to shame the strong. I wonder if he felt like I often do: I will mess it up…I question my own abilities and wonder if I am any earthly good or heavenly good…The wonderful news is that THE LORD MADE IT ABOUT HIS ABILITY and HIS WINNING THE BATTLE despite Gideon, his numbers or his weapons. It was about Gideon’s willingness and obedience despite Gideon. I love that about THE LORD! 2. Misplaced credit in my life has often been about “FOLLOWING THE LAW” and led to misplaced “trusting in own self and self righteousness” which is being a foolish Galatian and yet fueled the desire to be recognized and of some value. Pride is folly and I have fell for that folly too often. I realize usually my pride has been a self defense for the worthlessness I have felt inside and attempt to hide by trying to prove to myself and others and even God that I have some value. A sad but true confession. I pray HE will move me and purify me to instead focus on and “LIVE FOLLOWING CHRIST AND continually receive HIS IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS and allow HIS SPIRIT TO REIGN and placing trust IN CHRIST ALONE for HIS GLORY AND RENOWN to be the desire of my heart. Isaiah 26:8. 3. The LORD knows me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties and yet has corrected me, convicted me, brought me to repentance and is refining, cleansing and sanctifying me by HIS GRACE AND GOODNESS of HIS MERCY and for His Glory. I often FEEL in the processes of this that HE IS MAD at me, impatient and frustrated with me and may leave me in the desert to wander because of my unbelief. I am anxious at times that I will DISQUALIFY myself and not enter into the promised abundant life HE PROMISES bc of my sin of unbelief or my anger or pride (like even Moses missed it!)…LORD HELP me, please!!! 4. Beautiful 4 steps that resonated with me and hopefully, prayerfully readies me to NOT EXPECT the results I thought would/should happen. Preparing the gifts is costly at times and a sacrifice of sorts and yet “THE STRANGER” becomes my intimate in this! Yet when I follow these four steps and am currently attempting to do so in a church assignment The LORD led me to do, I am to do the hard work, take the time to do it and present it to HIM with NO strings attached. This teaching opened my eyes to show me that I am to let the LORD use the gift and RESULTS in any way HE WANTS and I am to surrender it, allow Him to pour it out and let it look WORTHLESS in the pouring it out…to bring the fire of GOD: Empty of self and of what I bring and full of HIS SPIRIT. part 2 of question 4: Honest doubt in which faith lives: will the LORD destroy the strongholds that He is bringing and has brought me out of in the CHURCH and in our culture?
    THANK YOU BETH AND STAFF! Thank you your willingness to be weak and authentic so we can see HIS STRENGTH! As an example: even in how you started this Blog today admitting the places of “technical difficulties”. The LORD honors you and esteems you! Thank you for your modeling confidence IN CHRIST and not yourself! May He continue to BLESS you and shine His face upon you….

  9. 9
    Barb says:

    Barb ~St Cloud MN ~ solo
    1. My weakness leads me to distrust my emotions…negative and positive, to feel insecure in my self-image, to feel a lack of confidence and hesitant in my ability to move forward.
    2. Credit misdirected or inappropriately claimed has led to misplaced trust (of people) for me. I’ve become too cautious about stepping out where I think God is leading me. I don’t want to take credit for what He has done.
    3. “He knows me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties.” ‘The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.’ 1 Thess. 5:24
    4. I am in a season of waiting/preparing. As I go through these days I often doubt that I can still be useful to God. But I do have faith that he will show me what it is he wants me to do and that he will bless my preparations and use me for His glory.

  10. 10
    colette says:

    Good Morning! I do not have time to answer my questions now but I just HAVE to tell you as I was working on my Bible study on Sunday night, I read THE same exact message that my Pastor had given THAT morning!!! It just amazes me how God ALWAYS does that for me!! AND it really confirmed to Let GO and to let GOD!! He WILL work HIS Miracle! I guess I just need to be told twice and actually just get slapped in the face to get it!! 🙂
    I will respond to the questions when I have more time!
    I love you Beth and all my Siestas! 🙂

  11. 11
    Erin says:


    1. When I focus on my weakness I shut down, withdraw, and become paralyzed.
    2. Wow, I have experienced this lately. I have given other people credit for giving me happiness, success, and approval. This has led to a very unhealthy desire to continually seek out people’s approval whenever I am feeling low. God has lately exposed this in me through very painful circumstances.
    3. I tend to think He is impatient with me, only because that’s how I react to my kids. He’s growing me in this!
    4. I went through a time of honest doubt and faith during the illness of our infant daughter. I have never felt more loved, yet more heartbroken at the same time.

  12. 12
    Tshaka Long says:

    Tshaka; Belgium; solo.
    1. When I focus on my weakness, fear of public speaking, it limits my area of teaching. My confidence in standing before a group teaching disappears. I begin to question why did He call me to teach when He knows I am terrified of being in front of people? Put me in a small group and I am within my comfort zone. I know He is trying to get me to take the limits off, fully trust Him and walk boldly in my spiritual gift.

    2. There was a time I gave to much credit to certain bible teachers and ministers of the word. I began to desire to be like them instead of being like Christ.
    My misdirected credit caused me to forget the meaning of
    1 Cor. 11:1 Follow my example of Christ, as I follow the example of Christ.

    3. He still loves me but is frustrated and impatient with me.
    I know He will never give up on me.
    Phil. 1:6 being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

    4. It confirmed for me that I have completed 1 and 2. I’m stuck at 3 and 4.
    When I do pour out of my gift, I pour a limited quantity, no refills. I don’t pour to overflowing. God has anointed me to reach many teaching His word. I am trying to remain comfortable teaching small groups, reaching a few. I have put the limitation on my gift He has anointed me with. When I take the limits off and stop focusing on my weaknesses and stop focusing on being in my comfort zone, what a mighty warrior I will be for the kingdom!!!

  13. 13
    Jamee Miller says:

    Jamee Miller, Sanford, FL solo

    1. When I focus on my weaknesses, my “perfectionistic” spirit rears its ugly head. I feel overwhelmed by my inadequacy and ashamed that I am not enough for whatever is at hand. Not wanting to do something if I can’t do it “well” or up to my own standards, I am often frozen by my own insecurity. Yikes–looks even uglier in print than it does in my mind!

    2. Oh this paragraph is underlined in bold in my workbook! I am quick to give God credit for miracles worked in my life, but this point made me realize that I am much slower to do so if another reasonable explanation can be offered as to why something succeeded. Ouch! Why am I not giving Him all of the credit, whether I find it feasible or not? I have definitely seen misdirected credit placed on our church leaders. Many times, they are given a “Messiah” place within a congregation, which is just a recipe for disaster.

    3. This honestly comes down to a war between my heart and my mind. I can know that God is patient with my uncertainties, but when I have been weakened by the enemy, the fear that I have frustrated Him sneaks in and undermines my confidence.

    4. The first step in Giving Our Gifts to God really spoke to me. Prepare it. Seems so obvious, but after careful inspection of my heart, I realized that I have often equated the gifts God has given to me, to be things that I am already good at. That said, I needed to be reminded to truly HONE those gifts and understand that a gift from God doesn’t mean that I am instantly adept at something–I have to work at it and allow God to develop it within me. There’s that perfectionism/pride sneaking in again!

    I feel like honest doubt is a constant part of my walk with God. While my faith in Him remains strong, I often doubt my own ability to discern His call on my life. Like Gideon, I frequently ask God to make it clear to me when He is speaking into my life.

    • 13.1
      Deborah Mott says:

      wow, thanks for sharing ..”This honestly comes down to a war between my heart and my mind”….That spoke to me. Appreciate your thoughts.

  14. 14
    Carrie says:

    Carrie, Georgia, small group:
    #2: I thought more about how we can put our kids or spouse on a pedestal, and then they disappoint, when they didn’t even know they were on one to begin with. Not that they even acted or behaved in a way that deserved to be viewed that way, but that we created expectations in our heads that they aren’t even aware of. Then, when they behave in a way that is contrary to this “ideal”, we are disappointed and take it out on them, and they have absolutely no idea what they’ve done “wrong.”

  15. 15
    Jeanie says:

    Jeanie, Nashville, TN, Solo

    1. Focusing on my weaknesses brings on bouts of depression and discouragement It can effect my self-image when I don’t understand my value in God’s eyes. It results in a complete lack of confidence or a façade of confidence that easily crumbles if it is tested. And finally it can completely paralyze me and cause me to doubt every decision I make and when I am forced to move it is with complete uncertainty which places me in a very vulnerable position.
    2. I can totally relate to this section and I have experienced this in both ways. I have experienced some success in which the ugly head of pride caused me to take credit. “Look what I have accomplished.” Instead of fully understanding it was completely the grace of God. I have also given others credit and placed them on pedestals. The last eight years of my life has been a time of God peeling away misdirected credit. I have seen almost everything in my life crumble at my feet, but I know part of what he was doing is showing me that my trust to provide and to protect didn’t truly rest on Him. He is also showing me that His faithfulness doesn’t mean rose strewn pathways but that He will never leave me or forsake me and sometimes what I need is just encouragement and prompting to stay the course. God is bringing me to the place in my life where I can say with complete sincerity, “I will only boast in the Lord.”
    3. As I mentioned above the last eight years have been a completely humbling experience involving financial ruin, failure in career, children that have completely turned away from the Christian faith and the realization that the person I thought would provide for me presently and in the future would not do that. I went from a place of total self-righteousness and being angry with God to a place of total insecurity and doubting God’s goodness to a place now of seeing this as a necessary time in my life for God to be able to use me for His glory alone. So I couldn’t always say this but today I see it clearly that God knows me, understands my weaknesses and is patient with my uncertainties. If not He would have cast me aside many years ago. But I know and sense His love for me stronger than I have ever known and felt it in my life.
    4. I came to know Christ at the age of 5 but the last 45 years have been a time of moving that head knowledge to becoming an integral part of my very being. God has tested me and will continue to be faithful to test me on things I think and say I believe but He knows deep in my heart that I don’t really believe. So there have been times in my life where my doubt was so strong I wanted to quit. But God never let me go. Every time He has spoken to me in many different ways to draw me back and correct and restore my heart and mind. Right now I honestly don’t know what my future will look like. We could still lose our home, but God has spoken so clearly to show me that I have been clinging to this world and allowing it to take the place of Him. So I daily tell Him that whatever it takes I desire to completely submit to His will in my life. Remove the dross and make me into the image of His Son. God is faithful and He loves us with a perfect and holy love. The end result is worth whatever it takes. I believe, Lord please remove my unbelief

    Beth Thank you for choosing this study. It has been straight from the hand of God.

    • 15.1
      Deborah Mott says:

      God is bringing me to the place in my life where I can say with complete sincerity, “I will only boast in the Lord.” Thanks for sharing this. It is So “PAUL”, so Biblical and so a prayer of my heart. Thanks.
      Glad you did not quit. I am glad THE LORD NEVER LETS US GO. I love the song “LOVE That Will Not Let Me Go”…I rest my weary soul in thee….
      I pray your children return to the LORD and Christian Faith/Biblical worldview. There is no greater joy than for our children to walk in THE TRUTH.

  16. 16
    Sue says:

    Sue, Kingsport. Solo
    1. Weaknesses when focus on emotion: sensitivity and insecurity go hand in hand, I also get very nervous most likely due to fear.
    2. Some people don’t seem to consider giving God credit, but let pride take over to tell their accomplishments. I am also guilty of this.
    3. If know God knows me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties.
    4. Last sentence on page 101-“Dedicating the time to hone your gift will help you be ready when He opens the opportunity before you.” Honest doubt for me is that I don’t know what gift I need to hone for God. I am praying to move forward in obedience, and to be able to discern confirmation I’ve been given in God’s Word.

  17. 17
    Richella- Colorado-Solo says:

    1- when I focus on my weaknesses- my emotions are full of anxiety and frustration I become fearful defensive, angry and feel abandoned- my self image is- insecure and weak- my confidence is greatly shaken and I feel embarrassed and “stupid”. my ability to move forward is effected negatively and thus I get wrapped up into a vicious cycle. “She’ll be coming around the mountain when she comes…

    2-(A) My misplaced credit placed in my husband, children and friends often leaves me feeling abandoned and rejected. People pleasing has been a major problem for me. Misguided and misdirected pride in the approval of others is a trigger the enemy often pushes my buttons on. Only ONE is fit to sit on my heart throne and Jesus doesn’t share in this manner. I’m a work in progress.
    2-(B) Misplaced credit placed in me by others causes me to feel anxious and afraid. It’s difficult sometimes to walk the fine line between humility and still be grateful to serve using the gifts and talents God graced me with to fulfill His purpose. Additionally, it feeds my people pleasing nature at times. (again) I’m a work in progress. As Joyce Meyer says, “I may not be where I need to be, but thank God I am not what I used to be” He truly does make all things new!
    3- I am in a season of some doubt and insecurity about God’s calling on my life and I do struggle with vacillating between feeling God’s knows me, understands my weaknesses and is patient with me and feeling He’s mad at me and is frustrated and impatient with me to grow up and believe Him already! Thankfully, He knows this about me and I feel through this study He is teaching me that I often misunderstand Him and His vast unending grace and love for even me!

    4- I feel God is asking me to not be so independent that I am responsible to do it all on my own. I have many “tasks” I truly feel He has given me enough talent and strength to accomplish. I feel He is reminding me that His grace is sufficient for the day and that I need to slow down and know that He is God. He will help me accomplish everything in the time that He has allotted. I feel He is giving me opportunities to Prepare “It” to the best of my abilities, to Present “It” to Him as an offering of service and to PUT “IT” DOWN and Pour “It” Out so HE (not me!) can do with it what HE intended. In case you can’t tell, I struggle with Type A personality and often take on responsibility of making sure everything is done perfectly and goes smoothly. I felt condemnation for a period of time that this was/is a pride issue. Now, I really feel it’s more about my deep desire to have God say “Well done good and faithful servant”. I want to make God smile.

    This study has been such a private soul searching journey for me. I’m learning so much about the great kindness, compassion, mercy and love of God for me that I know, He orchestrated everything long ago to make sure I heard it in a “Time such as this”. I just want to say thank you to Priscilla and Beth for being open to be used by God. I cherish you both. You have my prayers consistently.

    • 17.1
      Deborah Mott says:

      full of anxiety and frustration I become fearful defensive, angry and feel abandoned- greatly shaken and I feel embarrassed and “stupid”…wrapped up into a vicious cycle. “She’ll be coming around the mountain when she comes… Thanks for sharing. Relate to this and thought expressed uniquely. on 2 …well put! so many of us could probably say ditto. I can at least.
      I also liked this: “my deep desire to have God say “Well done good and faithful servant”. I want to make God smile.

  18. 18

    Adrienne, Valdosta, GA, solo

    1. When I focus on my weakness, I tend to give in to my emotions, whether it’s anger, frustration, depression… I also think poorly of myself, comparing my talents with those around me. I tend to have very little confidence and therefore am afraid to move forward.
    2. Anytime we expect another person to meet our every need, it’s a bad sign. I think it’s good to seek godly advice from others but we must remember that they are NOT God and we shouldn’t rely too heavily on them.
    3. I know that God knows me, understands my weaknesses, and I usually feel that He is patient with my uncertainties. When I question Him, I feel Him gently drawing me to Himself in love, not anger.
    4. I think I’m pretty good at preparing my gifts and presenting them, but I need to do a better job of putting them down so that He can pick them up and use them. Honest doubt? Right now that applies to our son whom we adopted at birth. We’re struggling through some behavior issues with him right now, and although I KNOW that it is God’s plan for me to be his mommy, I have questions about how to best meet his needs.

  19. 19
    Elisabeth says:

    Kisumu, Kenya
    1.) I do tend to focus on my weaknesses too often. And it completely destructs and tears down my emotions, self-image, confidence, and the ability to move forward. I wonder if focusing on weaknesses will perhaps always destruct or tear down everything that can be touched by it.
    2.) Once when I was co-directing a theater performance, I took credit for a lot of work that the cast had done themselves and it led to too many people trusting too much in a talent and ability I had never previously displayed. This caused me to try to be the person they THOUGHT I was- an impossible goal.
    3.) I struggle with feeling like the first answer would be most accurate. And I can’t know for sure WHY, but my guess is because it’s what I was taught and have known, so even though I KNOW my God better than that now, my natural instincts want to gravitate to the old way of thinking.
    4.) My eyes were very opened to the humbleness it required to go through the steps. That blew me away…..I am struggling right now with being full of faith and still wrestling with questions. Questions about my future. What I’m supposed to be doing. Whether I’ve been and AM wasting time. I struggle with feeling I’m not being who I’m meant to be. I AM Believing God and experiencing Him incredibly at the same time, though:)

  20. 20
    Elaine says:

    Elaine, Zebulon, NC, solo
    1. When I focus on my weakness: I feel defeated, weak and insignificant. I have no confidence in myself and I don’t move forward.
    2. When I accomplish something, I feel really good about myself and there is a tendency to take credit. I have to stay in constant prayer to give God the glory and I pray to stop replaying the accomplishment in my mind. If I continue to focus on the victory, I inevitably will take credit and become prideful. Misdirected credit has often occurred where I work. Individuals will take credit for team efforts. People lose trust and often grow resentful.
    3. He knows me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties. I feel like I am in a time of preparation. The direction He has given me seems clear and as I trust Him, He reassures me over and over.
    4. I was totally wide eyed at the realization that I need to give God my gift as a sacrifice! The 4 steps in giving were humbling and the guidance I need to live my life as a gift to him.
    My honest doubt about the direction God is leading me happens as I trust Him while needing confirmation that my desires are also His. I always fear that I have made my desires seem like His desires for me.

    • 20.1
      Deborah Mott says:

      insignificant…adjective that have not read yet out of 20 entries. Good adjective. Relate. thanks. Good night.

  21. 21
    Michele says:

    Michele ~ Kenosha, WI

    Siestas (and Mama Beth!)I’ll have to put my answers on later…(homework’s done, though!) but would you please pray for my husband, Brian, and I. We have to make a very hard decision to help our dog, our Baby Girl, not be in so much pain. I hope this doesn’t seem trite. She is God’s gift to us and we cannot imagine being a family without her.

    Thanks, Ladies

  22. 22
    Allison M. says:

    Solo from Scottsdale, AZ
    1. Weakness: Allowing my happiness to be controlled by others and situations; placing too much importance on others, giving them power over me; blaming others for something I should control (e.g. my productivity, my relationship with God, my mood, my reaction to life’s everyday occurrences, my past mistakes, my feelings)

    2. Can misdirected credit lead to misplaced trust? Just like we see instances where Christians are hesitant to immediately give God the credit when things go well, sometimes we see people blaming God when things go very bad. These inexplicable, devastating occurrences: such as the loss of a child, a catastrophic weather event, heart-wrenching tragic accidents, etc. can leave us wondering “Why did God allow that to happen?” Sometimes life doesn’t make sense. We should’t take “credit” for things when they are going well just like we shouldn’t blame God when the circumstances of life in this imperfect world cannot be explained.

    3. God knows me! He understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties. If I fill my mind and heart and life and time with positive thoughts and actions, doubtful situations and insecurity issues will not overwhelm me. I am committed to trusting the Lord’s way.

    4. Her quote “honest doubt in which faith lives” is such an eye-opening oxymoron. Part of me believes. Part of me doubts. Part of me says yes to God. Part of me says I’m not sure. Part of me has faith. Part of me is afraid. Sometimes, it feels like I’m at a dangerous intersection, but it CAN be a divine intersection. God looks at the heart. I am praying that I face up to my doubts and allow faith and fear to intersect and give God room to do only what he can do. (Finding a church, becoming more productive, finding something to do with all my spare time such as a place to volunteer)

  23. 23
    Melissa ford says:

    Melissa, VA, Solo

    1. When I focus on my weakness, I do not feel forgiven. I feel shame and condemnation. I do not feel capable of making wise decisions and I have tons of fear of the ” what ifs”,
    2.i take pride in my resourcefulness which totally takes the glory from God providing for us. I also give mentors credit for loving me and setting me free when it is God through them.
    3.i am in a season where I really believe he loves me and is patient with me and understands my weaknesses.
    4. This resonated with me in the area of raising my children and finances.
    My marriage. I had faith God is for marriage but doubt that He would change my spouses heart. Especially if my spouse was hopeless.

  24. 24
    Jane-Carrollton KY -solo says:

    1. Yes, I focus on my weakness and that makes me fearful, depressed, alone and having no confidence which is paralyzing instead of being able to move forward.

    2. I love what you said, Beth, that “People might not have let us down if we don’t put them ‘up’!” That has happened to me just this week – putting my spiritual leader ‘up’ only to be let down, which reminded me as it has so many times that ‘My hope is in the LORD and Him alone!”

    3. He knows me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties… and I can’t comprehend how He is so patient with me but I thank Him every day for his patience – so much more than I deserve.

    4. Struggling with moving forward on changing churches – all the teaching I’m a part of right now is really helping to build my faith and seems to all be pointing in the same direction – I love this study about our weaknesses being His strength, yet I’m still not sure of how He is speaking about this change and how to move forward on it yet, so still praying for confirmation.

  25. 25
    Tiffani says:

    Tiffani, Walla Walla, WA, Solo
    1. When I focus on my weakness I get discouraged and overwhelmed. It’s paralyzing and I don’t have the desire to try anymore. I just want to find a way out of the situation that makes me feel like a failure.
    2. I have seen people rely on others, expecting them to always have the right answers and do the right thing, and sometimes those people fail and then those looking to them are devastated and begin to question everything they believe in. We must rely only on God because He is the only constant that will always come through.
    3. He loves me but isn’t interested in the smaller details of my life. I tend to feel this way because I feel my answers aren’t always crystal clear and that leads me to feel He doesn’t have time to spell out the answers I should already know.
    4. I still have trouble determining whether I am having honest doubt or not having a strong enough faith. I feel that I believe God will take care of me, but I doubt myself to do the right thing or to really know what the right thing to do is.

  26. 26
    Joan A. says:

    Joan, Dousman, WI solo

    1. Focusing on my weaknesses causes me to want to avoid interacting with people I feel are more important in status or have impressive gifts that I don’t have.
    Also I have gone through majority of my life feeling fearful of making mistakes. As a health care worker, I am so focused on this and I have had to surrender this obsession with fear of making mistakes to God so I can enjoy the work of my hands that He gave me.

    2. Personally, often I desire credit/recognition for all the caregiving I give to my Mother-in-Law who lives with us as well as my Mother both of whom have demetia. I desire this most of all from my husband who rarely thanks me for caregiving. After much prayer before deciding to do this, I an certain this is His will for my life and He is in control and provides for them through me and others. Many others are involved in their care and this helps me to see the need to thanks and support them.

    3. God has demostrated extraordinary patience with me so I know He know me, understands my weaknesses and is patientHwith me. He has given my so many second chances with tenderness.

    4. What resonates with me in the 4 steps of giving our gifts to God is that each step is equally and vitally important and that preparing our gifts for God to use involves sacrifice. Most often that means giving up other endeavors to hone your gifts. Honest doubt in my own life over last 2 months has been if God was really giving me direction to decrease my work hours in health care to provide care for 2 Mothers. I kept praying and asked others to intercede as I wanted very clear directions as like gideon this was not something I desired to do. In the big picture of human life, my honest doubt seems to gravitate towards children dying through innocent mistakes of parents or grandparents and how they could ever continue to live with themselves for contributing to the death of a grandchild. I know that God is sovereign and has reasons we will never understand on this side of eternity and can redeem any situation but my heart is broken for those it happens to.

  27. 27
    Christy says:

    Christy from Holland, going solo

    1. When I focus on my weakness I find myself in the midst of fear and anxiety. It’s almost as if one weakness leads to another – my fear brings on the anxiety.

    2. Misdirected credit brought me to my knees before God. I praise Him for rescuing me from the pit I had gotten myself into.

    3. God is patient with me in spite of my insecurities. He never gives up on me.

    4. In times of honest doubt, God makes himself known to me through another area where my faith is stronger. I would love to experience faith in all areas of my life at once, and I believe that’s how He wants me to live. One day at a time I am striving.

  28. 28
    Donna says:

    Donna, solo, Athens, Georgia

    1. Pretty much completely negative–depression, inability to focus or move forward. I drew a “down” arrow for each answer.

    2. I have put trust in a person rather than the God who gave them their gifts. I felt betrayed when they failed me. A comment about pride being the hidden cause behind destroyed relationships: not admitting faults, blaming others, trying to control relationships. *Fear*. Is that related to pride? It seems like so many of our sins come from fear. I guess the connection would be the lack of trust in God in the midst of our fears?

    3. I chose “He loves me but is frustrated and impatient with me.” I chose that because I have trouble discerning His will or presence so I figure I must be doing something wrong. Am I using my anxiety as an excuse, or does He understand and is maybe *not* as frustrated with me as I think?

    4. It reminds me of Jesus as our Sacrifice on the Cross and the Mass. He was prepared by anointing by Mary, then presented to God–lifted up on the Cross; then the Father put him down for us (My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”, and then He poured Himself out for our salvation. And now we are supposed to go out and do the same, in His strength, not ours. I *love *this!!!

    I’ve always doubted my own ability to follow Him the way He wants me to – even when I was full of faith. I could feel His strength in me, though, and would like to have that feeling again.

    • 28.1
      Donna says:

      A storm came through right as I was trying to post and shut my computer off, so I apologize if you got two very similar posts!

  29. 29
    Faye says:

    West Sunbury, PA solo

    Embarrassment is where my weakness takes me, then I tunnel down into fear and shut down.

    I struggle with this question because there is a fine line. I believe in crediting people when they have been an extension of God’s hand to me. I do believe in lifting one up, that would be edification. Where we cross the line is when we raise these people beyond their humanness into being a god for us. The unhealthy desires then fall to a dependency on the person and we take our eyes off Christ.

    I am very much in this season of being insecure, but I believe He knows me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties.

    My time of placing my fleece out, happened 10 years ago. My husband questioned whether to go back to college and get his degree in Bible. We agreed to make a trip to visit a bible college and just see what would happen. We knew we would be giving up a nice home, good job, health insurance and say good-bye to family, so God needed to erase any doubt that this was the right move.
    Before we left, I tried to print out my husbands resume so we would be ready incase something would open. The printer would not work so he had no resume. While visiting the campus, we called our pastor and a deacon telling them what we were doing and asking them to pray with us, that if God wanted Roy to attend he would have to open some doors, housing and a job being the main two. These would be our confirmation. The other thing was that it had to happen the next day. The unemployment office needed Roy’s resume, so I told my husband if we could find a typewriter I could type it up. So we went back to the college to see what we could do. The only reason for us to go back to the campus was for this resume. While there the married student that showed us around the day was hoping to find us. He said he was talking to a professor when a call came in about a need of taking care of a 70 year old man who had the mentality of a 9 year old. He told his professor about us. So we went and spoke with him, got an interview that night with this man’s sister. This job entailed caring for the gentleman 24/7 which meant a home for us to move our family into. Everything we needed lay right before us. God confirmed His plan for us. By the way, there was nothing wrong with our printer when we returned home. The impossibility of finding a job and a house in one day was pretty telling. Just the day before was a mountain and God tore it down in less than 24 hours.

  30. 30
    Anne says:

    Anne, Dallas TX (Solo)

    1. My weakness is a terrible burden. I have always been very sensitive and as a child would be told that no one likes weak people. So my weakness has led to a lot of insecurity which can be, at time, paralyzing. Other times, however, in my desire to be strong, I rise above the weakness. I can only imagine that it is those times when God is with me the most.

    2. I confess to not completely understanding this question until Beth talked about it today. Then, a light bulb went on and several things clicked for me all at once. My insecurity has led me to always treat friends almost like idols. Then, when MY weakness is revealed, I run for the hills, convinced that they couldn’t possibly still want me around. I have given this to God on many occasions. We moved about 2 years ago and I still have yet to find a really close friend. I asked God about it and felt that He was telling me that I give them too much of myself and it’s not healthy. Besides, in those two years I have leaned into God like never before and the risk of a new friend is that leaning will change. I don’t want to put friends so high on pedestals that the let down sends me spiraling. So I will continue to lean into God and when He feels I am ready, He will bring the right person into my life to enhance it.

    3. I am in a tremendous season right now where part of God’s calling on my life is crystal clear and part is cloudy and hazy! So many people I know feel so lost, as if there is some greater purpose but they just can’t put their finger on it. I lived in that state for the better part of a decade before God finally called me into ministry (with flair and drama!) I have never been so happy and felt so blessed to know what I am called to do. However, within that calling, there are many areas for me to focus on and I just can’t tell which one is the one God wants for me. I have prayed, studied, mediated and it’s like radio silence on the other end. I honestly feel like God may have forgotten that he put me in this role! There have been a few small signs that I’ve seen but nothing that tells me to my core this is the path to take. I really resonated with pg 107 about caution and confirmation. This is my prayer now, for gentle confirmation of this calling so that I can remain in God’s will and succeed because of the confidence of knowing He is with me.

    4a. The four steps were a great reminder that sometimes God has us in seasons of preparing. The entire Day 2 of Week 2 about ordinary tasks really highlighted how we are preparing for the work that God will call us to. I felt quite at peace then that even the mundane is meant to prepare me for the next thing and I need to throw myself into. My pastor recently talked about David when he was a young boy, fighting lions and bears to protect his sheep. It was this preparation that prepared him to fight Goliath. The lesson is that we all need to slay our lions and bears before we go after the giant. Preparation!

    b. “Honest doubt in which faith lives.” My journey over the last 3 years in particular has been like being shot out of God’s cannon. I could just get dizzy over it sometimes. It is so completely only God that there simply is no other explanation. However, pieces of the journey seem to be controlled by me (i.e., choosing leaders in the ministry) and after I have made decisions I often wonder if I chose who God chose. Or, did I go rogue and forge my own path that I would later regret? I know this happens sometimes but it’s so hard to avoid. Evidence in the past leads to insecurity in the present. And it’s not insecurity about God, it’s insecurity about my eyes seeing and my ears hearing. I don’t want to miss God’s plan! I have so much faith in God and yet little faith in myself.

  31. 31
    Jana says:

    Jana/Harrisonburg, VA/solo

    1. I think we all tend to focus on our weaknesses. My reaction is an inability to move forward or let go of the past. This stems from jealously and envy. I get angry that others get what I want and they don’t even appreciate it.

    2. When I put my trust in myself, others, or our abilities, I don’t put my trust in God and His faithfulness.
    My husband and I just went through a situation like this in a relationship issue with a brother in our church. We weren’t communicating and pride was definitely an issue on both of our parts. What I found is one day, I stopped and just prayed over the whole situation and gave it to the Lord. The issue was resolved and is over, Praise His Name! The relationship is still strained, but we’re trusting in His healing in that area also.

    3. My honest answer to this question is He loves me but isn’t so interested in the smaller details of my life. In my head I know this is a lie, but I still struggle with WHY did He not answer this one request. Would it have made THAT big of a deal?

    4. The previous question leads to my answer to this one. I have a daily struggle with being a working mom when I wanted to stay at home with our children. I know God has lead me to the job I have, I know I am fulfilling his plan by working, but my desire was always to stay home and I don’t understand why I couldn’t. I feel guilty constantly bringing this before the Lord.

  32. 32
    Shelly Elston says:

    Portland, OR

    1) When I focus on my weakness, my emotional state tends to get the best of me. I become overly sensitive and often quite defensive. I deflect my weaknesses back onto other people or situations. I get stuck in a downward spiral and it’s just plain ugly.

    2) I can so quickly bypass God when giving credit for a particular situation working out well or for successes with a certain loved one. I can easily thank others or pat myself on the back. Especially when it comes to matters with my son who has special needs. I give so much credit and trust to his physicians, therapists, tutors, etc. and yet not to God. I am so upset with myself as I reflect back on the praises i’ve sung of these people yet i didn’t readily and unashamedly praise The One whom I know for certain is behind it all.

    3) I chose #4. I have complete faith that God “knows me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties.” I have always believed that God is patient with me when my faith is lacking or my anger is raging. He can handle it. But I ALWAYS know He is with me and helping me work it through.

    4) I absolutely loved the way Priscilla explained about the 4 steps in giving our gifts back to God. I can see that I have trouble at various times with each step. I think I mostly have trouble with presenting my gifts because that is where my insecurities and perfectionism (aka PRIDE) tend to show up most.

    I have had times of honest doubt while still being full of faith in what God can do. An example that particularly sticks out for me is when we were struggling with infertility for years and then going through the adoption process. It was an emotional rollercoaster and very scary. I wrestled with doubts and questions yet I knew, beyond rational thought, that God was in the midst of it all and would work everything out. I knew that, no matter how it looked in the end, He would take care of me and my husband. And He has been so very faithful.

  33. 33
    Britt Causey says:

    Britt, Burlington, Solo. 1. I feel overwhelmed, hopeless & depressed. I think a job would have a better result if someone else did it. 2. a) It’s such a shame we have to be this way- I sure do it. It seems to be in our nature. I need to fight it daily & I think regular quiet time/bible study helps with it. b) For me- when things were going well in my life, I was distant from God & taking credit for the progress I was making. I wasn’t thinking about Him each day and relying on Him like I had to when life got hard. 3) The 4th choice. I chose this because this is what I’m learning about Him through this study & I’ve seen it in my life. He is gently guiding me down a new path in my life now. I am seeing “road signs” from Him and I am very thankful. 4) a) LOVED the 4 steps! It made a lot of sense to me. I am commiting it to memory. b). I had a set back with some references I needed for an application (which I was feeling led, by God, to complete). Usually I freak out when things like that happen, but I tried to stay calm and keep my faith, so I went on to a “plan B” that popped into my mind. Which was, to go ahead and submit an email asking someone else for help. Doubt was trying to creep in. But, I just prayed to God for it to work out however He wanted it to. Next, I just tried to relax by taking a bath. Within minutes I received a reply from that person saying that would be happy to help. I thought it was very odd to receive a reply at that time in the evening. I believe it was God giving me a quick answer to help confirm I was on the path He wanted me to be on. I was and am very thankful!

  34. 34
    cathy-charlottesville says:

    1.The effect that my weakness tends to have on me when you focus on it rolls from an emotional mood of sadness and dispirited, my image then is poor, defeated filled with shame and fear, which leaves no confidence and sit immobile in the pit.

    2. I have seen misdirected credit lead to unhealthy desires for others by putting me on a pedestal and believing I have some ‘special connection, in with God’. It does not matter how many times I share that this is just not the way it is, that anyone can have a living relationship with Him, you just have gotta want it and like any relationship put the time and energy in. I do not like being the ‘go to ‘ for prayer and where I believe others should be seeking counsel from the Three in One- and not putting me as a ‘christ’ in their life- that I am not, just a grateful believer who gets how much was poured out to forgive me.- It is frustrating for me and I have limited friendships because of this misdirected process-

    3. I am in a season of life in which you feel insecure or doubtful about His calling on your life at this time(age) Empty nest, service orientated heart- He seems to be redirecting me back to my heart for running by being the best Master’s runner I can be, complete my study of Philiipians and sharing how to read, study and apply His word (very passionate about this) and continue as a CASA (abused and neglected children)- and of course to be the wife and mother i always have been. I am doubting I can hear from God anymore, and that is because the times I have and obeyed it just was ugly when the ‘others’ did not respond as ‘we ‘ had hoped, prayed and fasted- and learning about the will or choices people in my life made just about killed me. So just to live to this age 55 and think God would still use me, or speak to me makes me believe He must be frustrated and impatient with me- because that is how I am with myself. How did I miss the writing on the wall, when will I learn?

    4. “honest doubt in which faith lives.” Give an example of honest doubt that you have had at a time when you were still full of faith. A time when those two things were not at odds but part of that same stretch of journey. I think this is where I am AGAIN- I have faith in God, However I have had many ‘damage and destroy’ my faith in mankind and try to kill my love and faith for HIm- who were in places of great influence in my life and profess to be Christians.On another note…. I love the Prepare (running workouts, Bible study,case load) Present it (offer it up and lay it before Him and the other’s He leads me to)- Put it down- leave the results of obedience to Him, Pour it out- do it in excellence and leave nothing in the tank.- Dedicating my time to hone the gift so I will be ready when He opens the opportunity- that is the call for now. Enough for a mid-lifer, empty nester, hiding in the fleece 🙂 I had a pretty fun prayer time re: ‘God could do the dew anyway way He wanted.- So after that I was getting ready to work out and the weather man said the reason why the humidity is so high is because of the high ‘dew’ point (abundance)- I laughed out loud and said-out loud- ‘yep think you are raising the dew point in my life again! Thank you.

  35. 35
    Sarah Ross says:

    Sarah, Colorado Springs, CO, Solo
    1. I become sidelined and unusable when I allow the enemy to get me focused on my weaknesses. I become sad and withdrawn and if I am not careful I could become a hermit and totally isolate myself. Thankfully I have friends and family that don’t let that happen and they bring me back to the place where I am totally focused on HIM! The time between is becoming less and less on my weaknesses and more and more of HIM!
    2. I have seen it happen in my own my family – the misdirected credit – it has led to this person estranging themselves from our family, our love, our fun. They have missed out on so much because of misplaced expectations of others and misplaced belief in their own ability and Pride. So sad.
    3. He is showing me daily, sometimes even moment by moment in the smallest of things that He is right her with me, with us as my husband is unable to work because of this terminal brain cancer. My husband has always been our provider, of course through the Lord, but now…the Lord is our complete provider -He wants us to know that He has got this!
    4. Right now – every day, every moment with my husbands brain cancer. I know that He is able, I know that I know that I know – but…..I have also seen what cancer does (my dad and my sister) and we live in this imperfect world. My faith is huge, my doubt is there too – just trusting him moment by moment. He has a plan and whatever that looks like…….

  36. 36
    Marie says:

    Marie Gregg, who is going solo in Post Falls, Idaho –

    1. This is a particularly tender question today, as I’m stuck at home after waking up in pain. When I focus on my weaknesses, especially my health problems, I feel deflated. Defeated. Really super bummed out. And that tends to paralyze me. I can’t see beyond the moment, beyond the fragility. It’s impossible to move forward when you think you’re going to break.

    2. Misplaced trust: Thinking that a pastor or pastoral team can do no wrong. My husband and I experienced this at the first church we attended as a married couple; we thought those men had it all figured out. Couldn’t have been more wrong.

    Unhealthy desires: A gal I know won’t participate in anything unless she’s in charge. She’s gotten so used to being praised for things that she can’t follow anyone else.

    3. I checked the first box, “He is mad at me for taking so long to know for sure what He wants me to do.” Due to the habit of being hard on myself, I expect everyone else – and especially God – to be the same toward me. Over and over again I have to come back to “there is no condemnation,” but I’ve got a thick skull and it’s taking a long while to get through.

    4. Pouring out something that I’ve worked so hard to prepare…that still has me thinking. Pouring out is so much more than letting go.

    A recent time of doubt coupled with faith that I had was at the beginning of this year. My church’s children’s ministry was looking for someone to help with the Wednesday night class. I am NOT a “kid person” by any stretch of the imagination (that title belongs solely to my husband), but I knew that God was telling me to sign up. I knew I was hearing His voice, but I had to ask Him a few times, “Really? Me?” I signed up and spent six months hanging out with kids ages 6-10 and got to participate in teaching them about Jesus. It was awesome!

  37. 37
    Ronda Hawkins says:

    Ronda, Tennessee, solo
    1. Focusing on my weaknesses leaves me feeling fearful and quite hopeless. This mindset is something I battle daily as I enter a new and unknown season of life, so this lesson was a great reminder of why NOT to meditate on my weaknesses unless I can also see them as the key to unlocking God’s strength in my life!
    2. I’m afraid I know this tendency all to well. I have elevated friends, pastors and even family members to places they never asked or wanted to be. One of my greatest life lessons is to keep Christ the center and thank Him for those relationships vs elevating relationships to an unhealthy place in my heart. Doesn’t mean I love less, means I can love more when I remember WHO is love…
    3. Oh Goodness, this is easy! He is patient, patient, patient with me! I am convinced
    God knows me better than I know myself understands my weaknesses with merciful eyes and a love struck heart.
    4. I needed to hear that “dedicating the time to hone your gift will help you be ready when He opens the opportunity before you,” as I have lately been beating myself up that I have not done more than parenting and volunteer work the past 20 years with my time and talents. This step encourages me that God has been preparing me for what is next, even if I don’t yet understand. Nothing will be wasted as I have lived for Him.
    My biggest example of honest doubt when I was still full of faith was 12 years ago when my nieces and nephew died in a car accident. I knew God allowed it, but I had deep pain and doubt in accepting it. I never lost faith, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I struggled with gut wrenching, honest doubt.

  38. 38
    Debbra says:

    Marietta, Ga — small group

    I’ve got to go off topic a moment to give God glory and Priscilla thanks — I simply MUST!! These two chapters are brimming with helpful application and dead on reality so many need hear. What a powerful two weeks of blessed study this has been! Now, to the interactives…

    1) When I focus on my weakness in the negative I am defeated every time–emotions are down (or up and down); self-image is poor; confidence plummets; and I can’t (ot don’t) move forward. But in the truth illuminated by divine light we can see it as key to tap into powerful grace-at-the-ready.

    2) In these political times I see Americans place too much credit and trust in our government–that cannot save or be the answer to our troubles.

    3)I chose the fourth option. I do feel stretched and challenged and insecure but God has proven Himself too many times in just such a state for me to deny His absolute trustworthiness.

    4) Being doubtful and full of faith can–and do–work together proved they are properly assigned. I can doubt me but believe God.

    Beth mentioned in the video also about how the four steps resonate personally. I am so incredibly humbled that when we put forth the effort to, in loving faith, prepare something in His Name and for His glory, no matter the end result, He receives it…He delights in it. That my feeble attempts He accepts. As this mother loves the hand-made trinkets given from my child’s heart as pure treasure, so too, our Father’s joy when we prepare, present, place and pour out to bless.

  39. 39
    Laurie O says:

    Laurie O; Milton, GA; solo
    1) Effects include sadness, uncertainty, stop moving forward in life-stay put. 2) When a person thinks their athletic skill is from them, not God, the game is all important…not loving the people they play the game with. 3)Prepare it. Wow. I have taken 12 years to complete a book. You know why? So God could make sure I lived the title…prepare me. I also have a student who wants to speak for God but not do the work to prepare to speak well. Been watching that with curiosity. 4) We are foster parents for the state of GA just in case God wants to bless us with another son. Just in case. It will be his work. We are just open. If He brings a boy, we will accept it as from His hand. Our open door is a fleece, in a sense. We aren’t pursuing. Just sitting available.

  40. 40
    Clarice says:

    Clarice/Arlington, TX/Solo

    The video was awesome … I wouldn’t have had a clue that there were “technical difficulties!” Good stuff — feel better, Beth!

    1. When I focus on my weakness I feel flawed, defeated, broken. It is very humbling.


    3. I am SO thankful for Priscilla’s reminder that God knows my weaknesses, is willing to deal with them, and is able to use me in spite of them. Praise God. What an encouragement.

    4. The 4 Steps were such a practical progression … in stewarding my gifts … to be faithful with them. It was encouraging to read about imperfect faith. The “honest doubt in which faith lives.” It was an agonizing journey of faith/doubt as I watched Dementia torment my mother. I saw God carrying us and providing for us with tender mercies along the way. He was present and He was faithful. But I will not understand this side of Heaven why the Lord allowed that horror to come to my precious mother.

  41. 41
    Michelle Bordelon says:

    Michelle Prairieville, LA solo
    1. When I focus on my weakness it makes me depressed and useless.
    2. I want to be aware and not take credit for what He has down through me or through someone else.
    3. He loves me but is frustrated and impatient with me.
    4. God provided for me to go on a mission trip to Uganda. I was the only female women going so I was given the task of teaching a ladies conference. I have never taught a ladies conference. I was terrified. I was praying for God to give me the ability to teach the ladies something. I had so much doubt in myself but I knew that He wanted me to do this. He taught the ladies conference through me. I felt Him and knew it was Him. ” I had honest doubt in which faith lives”. He is so Amazing!!!

  42. 42
    Leigh says:

    Leigh, Montgomery: flying solo. When I focus on my weaknesses, I feel discouraged and defeated. I lose self-control with food and tend to gain weight. Pride comes to play in my life in the area of my profession. I receive positive feedback and am good at my job. I tend to give myself credit. I have/am learning to humble myself as you mentioned in today’s video, much better to humble myself than to be humbled by God. I am growing up spiritually and am more and more and know God loves me. He is so patient with my doubts, weaknesses and fears. The more I think on this precious truth, the more humble and grateful I am – talk about a positive cycle! Love & Blessings

  43. 43
    Lynn says:

    Lynn, Rochelle, GA – online group
    1. When I focus on my weaknesses, I feel discouraged, anxious, and afraid to press on. I also feel insignificant.
    2. I’ve seen it create so much pride in a person that they became ineffective as a church leader and also lost friends.
    3. He knows me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties. God is patient with me, but I am not patient with myself. I’m a perfectionist.
    4. The 4 steps provided an excellent illustration on how to effectively use my gifts. I had honest doubt when I had faith that God would heal my father of stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I knew He could if it was His will. I didn’t lose faith but I had peace regardless of the outcome.

  44. 44
    Laurie says:

    Laurie, Gibsonville, NC, Solo

    1. I shut down and become defensive and too sensitive. Pride takes over and fear cripples me. I have a really hard time letting go of the past and the insecurities the past has caused in my life.

    2. Me putting too much trust and faith into relationships, which leads to hurt because people fail, they’re not perfect.

    3. The 4th one. He knows me, understands my weaknesses, and is patient with my uncertainties. I tend to lean this direction because He has proven to me that no matter how many times I mess up, He is patient with me and knows the trials, first hand, of the flesh and of this world. God is responding with love and direction for my life.

    4. To be honest, I am still trying to figure out how to “Prepare it, Present it, Put it down, and Pour it out.” I know what it means, but how to apply it to my life is another story.

    Honest doubt and full of faith: Coming to Christ and having Him show me what unconditional love was while having my heart broken at the same time. When He shows you the things you need to fix and seeing yourself through His eyes, is hard to face. He gives us the strength to open our eyes and be a better person.

  45. 45
    Janet says:

    Janet from Odessa, TX ~ SOLO
    1. become overly-sensitive, which leads to defensive, and ultimately ashamed
    2. I think of how many very public ministers, men of God’s Word, have developed over-inflated egos, then took very huge falls off of their pedestals
    3. most often I lean toward #3, He must grow inpatient over my contunual insecurity. However, I know #4 is the absolute truth! God is just as patient with me as He was with the Israelites wandering in the desert all those long years ago:)

  46. 46
    Rene' Pingel says:

    Rene’, Cape Girardeau, Small Group
    1. When I focus on my weaknesses, I feel inadequate, confidence is gone, and I let others take control.

  47. 47
    Teresa says:

    Teresa, Chadron, NE solo

    1. I feel drained, unable to move forward.
    2. I’ve seen more than once where pastors were put on such a high pedestal that it was inevitable that they come tumbling down and then watching people take sides in the situation is heart-breaking.
    3. He knows me, understands my weaknesses and is patient with my uncertainties. – It’s ME who’s not patient.
    4. Love, love, loved this section! I have struggled long and often with doubt about what “my calling” is, if I even have a calling. Everything I’ve been studying lately is pointing me toward just giving that completely to God. He knows what I should do even if I don’t have a clue, and I should just trust Him always and do whatever he puts in front of me to do, not worry about confirmation from anyone else.

  48. 48
    Jo Anne says:

    Jo Anne Chicago, IL Solo
    1. When I focus on my weaknesses I shut down and lose all self confidence.
    2. I am guilty of taking the credit and not giving all the credit to God. My prayer is to be more humble. I only need an audience of 1.
    3. I am in a season of asking God “what’s next?” I know He knows me, understands me and is patient with my uncertainties. I just need to be patient until I get answers.
    4. I feel like I am full of faith but I often have “honest doubt”. I love the fact that Gideon had to ask for a sign from God twice. I have had “honest doubt” through financial difficulties.

  49. 49
    Jo says:

    Jo, Columbia, Missouri, solo

    Beth, you managed to pick four very weak areas and responses I discovered in this study of Gideon, his weaknesses and mine, God’s strengths.
    1. Wow, I threw up an old, powerful negative script immediately… then shut down halfway through this block. I didn’t even complete to “confidence” (I had none) or “ability to move forward”. I was having a moment. Gideon is perfect for me, right here and now. I just learned that this is basically an equation: self condemnation or God conviction. I’m clear on it now, I’m selecting God conviction. Thank you, Priscilla, for this great study. Thank you, Beth, for the Session 1 Vimeo launch – both got me right where I live!
    2. I serve as a volunteer at service. We had an off day where we did not understand what was required of us, not 100%. I felt like such a failure. I have a background in the corporate world from which I knew I could write some instructions, clarify some processes – all good so far. But all this effort sprang from my hurt pride and defensiveness about the job done “on my watch.” I worked through this material for quite some time, the entire time I was completely aware of the initial motivation of hurt pride, as time and the project progressed more and more pride points, histories demanded to be examined… Whoa and Wow! We got it done but it was a crash course in my need to address this characteristic in my journey with God.
    3. I do not feel insecure about God or His Word, I am loving this. As a fairly new disciple I am struggling to determine my gift/s. So my scratchy responses involve me crossing out one half of the first and fourth choices and rewording them – initially. It is clear that I am mad at me for my inability to move through this, it was (past tense) my judgment that He love me but wishes I would move on. Here I am again. Telling God what to think, when to move me, second guessing my God, Maker and King of the Universe.
    4. So with these 4 steps I could see that I really do have to give Him 100% of me, not just the good parts but all what I consider to be, to have been bad. He let me go through all that for HIS purpose, not mine. There I am again, second guessing my God, Master and Savior.
    I garner much working solo but I know there would have been tremendous value in being in a group. I’ve learned so much in this study! This is such a good study for me, thank you all so much. I am GROWING, thanks for these stretch exercises and objectives, loving it! Thank you, Lord God…

  50. 50
    Barb Brown says:

    Barb-Wetumpka, AL

    1.When I focus on my weakness, I become fearful and unsure of myself. If only I would keep my eyes on the One who is everything. When will I learn?

    2. Misplaced credit takes God out of the equation in most circumstances. Once that happens, pride becomes a stumbling block on our journey.

    3. God is so patient and gracious in that He doesn’t hold my insecurities against me. He just loves me anyway and for that I am thankful!

    4. Seven years ago I left a good job to become a full time member of the ministry team at my church. I was so filled with doubt but knew in my heart that God had great plans for me. Am I thankful I listened to the nudging of his spirit? You bet I am! I still struggle with pouring out my gifts to Him, sometimes wondering if they are good enough. Yes they are…

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