Friday, August 2, 2013

Clothed With Strength & Dignity

Four weeks ago I started facilitating a small group Bible Study at my home. Five ladies have joined me to study So Long, Insecurity: Group Experience, by Beth Moore. It's been an excellent study, one I highly recommend to every woman who draws breath.

The study has been eye-opening at times. Not only because it's made me aware of areas in my life where I deal with insecurity, but also because it's made me aware of how prevalent and debilitating insecurity is in women. It makes me sad and angry at the same time.

The beautiful thing about the study is that it sheds light on insecurity and gives amazing tools to deal with it. The study has been a life-changing experience.

Last week Beth Moore highlighted Proverbs 31:25: "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." She spoke about how we are clothed in dignity, wrapped up in the love of Christ and strengthened by His power. Ponder that for a while. It's an amazing truth that we don't consider as much as we should.

During discussion Beth asked us to share a time when we had strength, might and power.

As we sat quietly, each person contemplating the question, I realized something. Most of us are quick to point out our flaws and weaknesses. We speak in great length about the areas in our lives where we struggle and we've made mistakes. But when we're asked to talk about our strengths...we hesitate.

Please don't misunderstand me. I believe it's important and vital that we have friends we can be real with. Friends who carry our burdens and listen as we share our pain and weaknesses. But I also think it's just as important to recognize our strengths, talents and gifts.

I believe we'd be a lot more secure if we acknowledged how strong Christ has made us.

I think we hesitate to talk about our strengths because we don't want to sound prideful or arrogant. But there is a way to be confident--yet humble. When we recognize that our best qualities come from God, and God alone, we can walk with our shoulders lifted and our heads high. We should be able to recognize those gifts and be quick to give God credit.

When our group had a few moments to ponder the question, I was overjoyed to listen as my friends shared their areas of strength. It was also fun to point out the strengths we see in each other.

Today I want to hear your strengths. Please don't be shy. I'd love to hear your heart. I'd love to celebrate the gifts and talents God has given you. I'd love to see where He strengthens you and clothes you in dignity.

Your turn: What do you think are your strengths? In what ways has God blessed you with talents and gifts?


  1. Such an encouraging post, Gabe!
    And such a good reminder that we need our girlfriends to help us remember who we are -- and that we have strengths as well as weaknesses.
    One strength I'm embracing right now is walking in truth and living out my value of honesty.
    And I am thanking God that he is letting me live my dream of writing ... I'm smiling as I type those words.

    1. And I'm smiling as I read your comment. I think so many women imagine their strengths have to be physical and emotional, but so often some of our greatest strengths are spiritual. I love that one of your strengths is walking in truth. That's a powerful area to be strengthened (and God's word says we can all have that strength!). I also love that you're making honesty an area of strength. All of those things need to be exercised to make them stronger. Thanks for sharing, Beth.

  2. Aw, seeing that picture makes me miss you ladies even more, and remember all the wonderful memories we made in Minnesota. :)

    You are totally right in this. We DO have an easier time complaining about our faults or admitting them than talking about our strengths.

    I suppose a strength I have is recognizing hurt in others. It's probably because I've been there myself. But when someone I know is really hurting, I want to DO something about it. I try to find some tangible way -- other than prayer, which is great too, but something people hear you say but aren't always confident you're doing -- to show them I love them. It can be as simple as sending a card, bringing dinner, or spending an evening with them. So yeah, the God-given strength of empathy is something I'm grateful for.

    1. Lindsay, I love that strength in you! It's a powerful way to be Christ's hands and feet. I believe another strength you have is determination and diligence. Sometimes I think you look at it as trying to control everything, but I see it as a strength God has given you to live out the dreams and desires He has placed on your heart. Focus on the strength God has given you today!

    2. Oh, thank you, friend! You are so wise and great at encouragement. Six weeks till we get to see each other again!

  3. What a convicting post, Gabe. You're right - I'm hesitant to point out my strengths because of exactly what you said: it sounds prideful and arrogant. Even though it's easier to hear them when someone else points them out, I still tend to deflect it because then I feel as if I'm taking credit for what God accomplished. I know, I'm a mess! Thank God for grace. And for studies like Beth's. And friends like you. :)

    1. There is a fine line, Donna, but I believe we should be able to easily pull to mind our strengths, just as easily as we pull to mind our weaknesses--even more so! The thing to remember is that without God we wouldn't be strong in those areas. God's grace is one of the most amazing gifts we've been given. I would say an area I'm strong is mothering...but only because God has given me his strength and grace to do it. Without Him, I'd crumble under the weight of it. I'm so thankful for your friendship, too.

  4. Wow. You are SO right. It's easy to be self-deprecating, but it's entirely different to stand up and say, "Guess what? Here's what I'm good at."

    So let's see. Something I'm good at? I try hard to be introspective, so I can be the best, wisest person I can be. I also try to be kind, because there's enough to tear us down in this world. I'd much rather build people up.

  5. How wonderful that you are encouraging each other! I love the idea of a small women's group.

    My strength? It depends! This week I led sixteen preschoolers at VBS. It was hard keeping them together, but I wanted them to have a fun time and to have good memories of the week and of church in general. I feel like I succeeded!


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