This 6 week course will help small groups explore why, despite the Bible’s clear message that we’re accepted by God through faith and not through effort, many find difficulty taking that message to heart. We can be conditioned, perhaps from childhood and other life experiences, to feel we ‘ought’ to perform better – at work, at home, with our families, at school or college, at church and at friendship. We strive for perfection. Consequently, when we don’t or can’t perform as we wish, and – horrors! – seem to get worse, we feel like failures. This is compounded when we believe that we can’t share those disappointments honestly, especially if everyone else seems to cope wonderfully. This is session two of six, exploring how perfectionism affects our self-esteem.
Either a) say something complimentary about someone else in the group or b) tell the group about a compliment someone recently gave you. Move straight on to the next person. Save any comments or responses until discussion time.
Watch the below video.
Extract from Monday 22 January (p96) involving Bathroom Scales and Mirror.
Extract from Thursday 25 January (p99) with follow-up comment.
1 Samuel 16:7 – Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.
2 Corinthians 12:9 – But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
1. Think back to the kick-off activity. How do you feel about compliments, either giving or receiving them? How did it feel not to respond, or get a response?
2. The Bible seems to confirm in 1 Samuel 16:7 that people tend to ‘judge a book by its cover’. Why do you think some have this obsession with perfect physical appearance? What do you know about different cultures and their varying expectations of what ‘perfect’ means?
3. Reflect on the idea of boasting about your weaknesses as a way to glorify God. What might this look like in your daily life?
4. Do you think it is true that women compare themselves to other women more than men compare themselves to other men, or is that a myth?
5. Demand for plastic surgery ‘Zoom-boomed’ during the 2020 pandemic. What is your own experience of social media or video-conferencing and its effect on self-image? You might enjoy this blog that Fran wrote about her thoughts during Zoom calls. https://ilurveenglish.blogspot.com/2020/12/evidence-that-fran-is-perhaps-over.html
6. It’s important to remember that some perceptions of ourselves have roots that go way back, so these are not trivial issues and Bible verses alone cannot alter long-held beliefs. What other support might help? Pray that God will reveal any areas in your lives that need extra attention.