“A Cocktail of Ego and Culture”
In Chapter 5, Moore discussed 6 different roots to insecurity. In Chapter 6, she offers two more: Culture and Pride.
Beth Moore is rather angry in this chapter. She’s angry with the messages we women are getting from our culture through the various media we have at our fingertips these days. Largely based on anecdotal evidence, Moore says that women are drowning in a sea of images that no woman can live up to. While the women of one hundred years ago may have had 10 women to whom they compared themselves, thanks to magazines, television, and the internet, we have thousands of women to whom we compare ourselves every day. She says that when women buy into the messages and images before them, they rob themselves of the abundant, effective, powerful, and priceless lives God means for them to live (though she offers no scripture to back that statement). Instead of allowing the culture to dictate what it means to be a woman, we’d “better learn to be wise, moderate, and discerning. If we don’t learn to separate entertainment from identity and hyped images from real womanhood, our feminine souls are going to pass straight through the shredder.”
To help us combat the onslaught, Moore offers a few tools:
1) Recognize when we’re overloading ourselves on media hype and back off when we sense it tripping our insecurity switch.
2) Make sure we’re deliberately exposing ourselves to materials that edify the human soul rather than erode it.
3) Start looking for ways in which we set ourselves up for failure (i.e., going to Hooters, attending skin movies, etc.).
Moore has concluded “that we have no greater burden in all of life than our own inflated egos. No outside force has the power to betray and mislead us the way our own egos do. “ As difficult as our culture makes being secure, cultivating pride and trying our best to be perfect are not the ways to combat the culture. In fact, Moore spends several pages building the case that pride and self-loathing are two sides of the same coin. Whether we’re puffing ourselves up or tearing ourselves down, we are still consumed with thinking of ourselves. Instead, we need to do what we can to foster a confidence that is “driven by the certainty of a God-given identity and the conviction that nothing can take that identity away.”
Moore says we are “pridefully insecure.” All of us are guilty of pride, she says. And the only way to deal with it is to confess it to God and ask Him to pull it up by the root. “Our culture has done us no greater injustice than training us to avoid taking responsibility for own own issues. In trying to relieve us of the whole concept of personal sin, our culture’s reordered values have cheated us of the right to repentance and sublime restoration.” She ends the chapter with a reminder that our healing is only a confession away.
With the exception of Moore’s assertion that the seasons of our lives are “meant to be lived abundantly, effectively, powerfully, and pricelessly,” not many red flags waved while I was reading this chapter. She didn’t twist any scriptures; the ones she used, she used well. She brought out how pride feeds our insecurities — she could have gone into more depth with this, certainly, but she didn’t. She did mention our need to confess and repent of pride.
That said, I still feel like this chapter wasn’t finished. She spent an awful lot of time talking about how we allow the media to dictate what is beautiful. But she doesn’t condone ridding ourselves of media. I think it’s more important to her to stay up-to-date with the latest news and trends. While she did write that we need to live out of our identity from God, she didn’t mention how to do that, what scriptures tell us whose and who we are. The book has 12 more chapters, so maybe she does that later.