Here we are, sisters in study, ready to begin our discussion of Nicole Unice’s book, She’s Got Issues. Chapter One — “Cheap Plastic Souls.”
From her opening Barbie quote to her question, “Am I changed because of Jesus?” Nicole captured my attention on that first page…but I also became acutely aware that this book won’t be one to beat-around-the-bush or just tell me things I want to hear.
This book is going to challenge me.
Am I changed because of Jesus? I’m thinking that one question could occupy a lot of my mind and time if I were honest with myself. How about you?
We’ll make no assumptions about our responses to that question. Instead, we’ll move onward, as Nicole did. She was honest with herself. She admitted she handles life okay when it’s easy…not so much when it’s hard. She admitted to being tired, tired of pretending that all is fine.
Quite possibly my favorite phrase of the chapter is, “scandal of the ordinary.” What a fun combination of such an unlikely pairing of words. And how often do we give into that scandal, thinking God is too big, too busy to bother with our ordinary, everyday issues.
Yes, He’s big. In fact, He is SO big that He can, in His infinite, mysterious, perfect way, meet us right where we are, all day, everyday. Ordinary or extraordinary.
When we believe that life is as good as it’s gonna get, we make an expensive trade in our souls. We stuff away the raw and messy and put forth a nicer but cheaper, plastic version of ourselves. Our story is clean and easy–but also fake. We aren’t seeing a true image anymore–the image God made and is making of us–we have built our own “acceptable” image. This is what living with ordinary issues does to us. It slowly kills what is beautiful and unique and turns us into half-dead versions of what we were meant to be.
Let’s agree…no more scandal of the ordinary.
Let’s agree…we need honesty with ourselves, ready to put forth what is REAL about us.
And let’s agree…NO woman (no person) on this planet is without issues.
There. We’re on equal playing ground; we’re ready to be honest with ourselves, ready to deal with our issues, ready to change because of Jesus!
And Jesus is the key to all of this. It’s in Him that we have eternal life; it’s in Him that we find hope and help in THIS life. His merry band of disciples were full of their own issues…just like us…so what did Jesus tell them was the key to a full and abundant life while we’re living this life? Love.
Love one another. (John 12:34-35)
Huh. So, the Son of God who walked the earth as a man, who led people who were full of issues, tells us the key to life abundant is about loving others. In other words, the call to be a true disciple of Christ means “following a radical call–not of rebellion but of crazy love that defies earthly expectation.”
Love is the power that transforms. When we love others, we tap into that power and everything about us begins to change…to transform.
But when we live our plastic lives, we’re unable to love others as we desire.
So to be able to love others as Christ would love them, we have to break through this plastic existence. We have to see ourselves clearly. Nicole states it as clearly as she can:
You cannot live more abundantly and love better without addressing the underlying issues.
How do we address those issues? By assessing our heart conditions. Nicole outlines three signs that will reveal if we have an “issue-laden life:” blindness, lack of compassion, and convoluted conflict.
If we are blind to the truth of our own heart conditions, if our half-dead hearts can hold no compassion for others, and if we struggle to express ourselves with honesty or we have unhealthy conflict (or avoid conflict at all costs), then we know we have issues. We know our hearts are hiding what is true about us.
After having worked with numerous women over the years, Nicole recognizes that heart issues come in all shades and variations, but she offers the top five issues she believes are the most consistent problems. Ready?
- anger (and its cousin, unforgiveness)
Do any of those resonate with you? Don’t laugh, but I can relate to all five!
Where do we go from here? Well, Nicole will take us on a journey through each of these five issues. Two chapters per issue. The first chapter will work toward defining the issue; the second chapter helps us explore how to deal with it effectively.
Scripture will be our foundation and guide. In the second chapter of each issue, Nicole includes a “Word Up” section that points us to God’s Word because it “has the supernatural ability to satisfy your longings in a way that no other word can.”
Another section of her chapters is called Taking a Space Bar. Just as a space bar puts space between words, we need to pause and make space in our lives to be able to ponder, pay attention, and listen–to our spirits and to God. Nicole encourages us to take a space bar on a regular basis through this process! She offers more suggestions on how taking a space bar can happen effectively in the book.
This book, this process is for YOU. It’s not for us to assess one another’s issues, so let’s not be distracted from our purpose by applying what we learn to other people’s lives. This is about us learning to trust God, change through Christ, and love others more freely because we can identify and overcome our own issues!
Meet you back here next week as we begin with looking at our CONTROL issues. Oh my.
Striving toward plastic-free living,